Summer camp in Vermont was the most formative experience of my childhood. Each summer for 8 weeks I came fully alive at Aloha Hive and Aloha Camp. Deep, lasting friendships bloomed like wildflowers, and outdoor skills became second nature. I can still build a blazing fire with damp wood, sail a boat in any kind of weather, find my way in the woods without a trail, and paddle a canoe in a perfectly straight line. And now, 40+ years later, I still count those camp friends among my most dear.
Those months at camp were full of tradition and ritual, all closely linked to the woods and fields, rivers and lakes around us. Special occasions popped-up with some regularity and required on-going creativity.
Parties were part of the regular weekly schedule. Campers were in charge of coming up with the theme and figuring out how to execute the activities. We used what we had in our trunks or what we could employ from the wild for decorations and costumes. Pajamas and raincoats were paired with construction paper, birch bark and yarn for inventive outfits. Gifts were fashioned out of bandanas and thread. We learned to improvise with actual shoestrings. Imaginations flourished; resourcefulness and creativity grew exponentially.