Friday, July 24, 2009

Wish You Were Here

Last Friday a girlfriend called. She was returning my phone call from earlier in the week. She called while on the road, they were heading to camp.

Two years ago these friends invited us to Camp Koinonia. Koinonia is located in Parry Sound, Ontario (yes, that is in Canada.) We live in Virginia. All total it is a 12 hour car ride from our house to camp (not including crossing the boarder), but oh so worth it. We enjoyed it so much that first year that we returned the following year; if we hadn't our kids would never forgive us.

Not returning to camp would be one of those issues relived in therapy. I can hear it now, 20 years later, "we never returned to Koinonia and ever since I have suffered from {insert dumb therapist talk for why one's child can't function in daily life due to some childhood disappointment.}

Sorry, I digress.

Anywho, this year we are not returning. At first we said no because Hubby didn't have vacation during the summer. Then his vacation time returned (as if it had walked off somewhere) and we started to talk about visiting Philly for a week.

I must admit, I was rather relieved. The drive last year did me in, though I think it had more to do with Hubby's traveling schedule that summer and my fatigue attached itself to driving to northern Ontario and back.

Then again, sitting two hours at the boarder to enter one's own country tends to do anyone in.

I was relieved we weren't returning this year, until my friend called. Then I felt slightly jealous. Since that Friday phone call I've found myself missing camp. I'm looking at the clock and thinking things like "oh, it is 9:00am ... prayer cabin time" or "3:00, lake swimming and tea time. I wonder if the kids want to go on a canoe ride?"

I'm also wondering who is attending this year. The two years at camp introduced us to many new people, and I loved them all. Some people were a part of the camp in it's infancy. Other campers are the children, or children of the children, of those who organized the camp 60 years ago (like our friends.) And others, like us, wondered onto the camp grounds for the first time and have fallen in love with this place.

It is rare to find a group of people so inclusive, where everyone is accepted. Regardless of how many years you've attended camp, how many generations of you family have attended, or if you have a camp name such as Fluffy, Hamster, Pup or Farmer. There are many inside jokes, and the "old timers" are eager to share the stories. Everyone becomes a part of the Koinonia family the moment you step onto the grounds.

And I want to see them all again. I want to catch up with them. "How is the new job?" "Did you renovate your kitchen?" "Tell me about your school year." I want to hear the continuation of their life stories.

The kids love camp. I love it that it is small in size and we can let them go and do their thing. I love it that they camp is small in the number of people, and there are other kids, and by Monday we are already trading kids between one another. "Sure, I can take them to the lake with us. Do you mind watching them while I take a shower afterward." I love it that our kids learn a sense of independence.

As a kid I went to camp, not as rustic as this one, but we still had campfires, canoeing, camp songs, skit night, you know the camp experience. I love it that we as a family are enjoying the camp experience together.

Our kids love it because of the wildlife found at camp. Yes that is a snake in the above picture. Yewwww. The kids spend the week frog hunting, and staring at dragon flys, following the snapping turtles that wonder into the swim area, and applying mosquito spray, and .... Oh, they enjoy a week of just being kids, in the wilderness, with their family, and making new friends.

We also spend the week at camp walking up hills, both ways. The camp is situated on a hill. Not on top of a hill, or at the bottom, but on the slope of a hill. Which is all good because if it wasn't for the hill I would gain an extra 5 pounds during our week at camp. Yes, the food is that good. Oh my, I'm hungry now.

Take a look at that picture. Bet you've already fallen in love with the camp. We hope to see you there next year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. We don't drive 12 hours or have to cross the border, but it's a lot of "work" to go to camp. It's like you want to go but you don't type of thing. It's always fun when you go though. Well, there's always next year.