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Letter from Marnie – Camp Dudley News

Among the many blessings that come from our Open House travels are the countless interactions and conversations that we get to be part of. Our February trip to the West Coast was no exception!

On two separate nights in two different locations, I found myself engaged with two alums recounting memories and stories from their years at Camp. While conversations like this are common at our gatherings, these two were particularly special.

The first was with a Dudley Dad whose ten-year-old daughter will be attending Kiniya this summer. The second, just one night later, was with a Kiniya Mom whose ten-year-old son will be with us at Dudley. This Dudley Dad and Kiniya Mom were campers themselves in Westport and Colchester at the same time, and both were filled with an equal amount of excitement and enthusiasm for their first-time campers to discover Camp for themselves! There was an uncanny similarity in their sentiments of how Camp made them feel and why they want this experience for their children.

One night later, I witnessed a beautiful exchange between a returning Kiniya camper and a new recruit. When asked how she would describe Camp, the returning camper stated, without skipping a beat, “It’s magical!” For a few sweet minutes, I stood back and felt every ounce of magic that she was describing. While the obvious ones were stated, “Extravaganzas! Council Ring! Kiwi Day! Shows!” it was clear that the most special moments were the more subtle, magical ones: “The sunsets! The pines! The four-leaf clovers! The people!”

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines the word magical as: “beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life.” Camp is magical. I’ve always known this. I also know that magic doesn’t always simply happen in noisy fireworks or giant extravaganzas. Our returning camper in California reminded me of this. Magic hides in the small details. In the way the pines planted by Miss V.B. shade us from the hot summer sun.

In the singing and cheering at mealtimes. In the golden hour just before sunset when the lake sparkles and the waves lap against the shoreline below. In the black-and-white photos in Mimi’s Lodge, a reminder that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. Maybe it’s not so much that Camp itself is magical, but that each of us gets to feel magical when we’re at Camp together. There is no greater gift.

Among our many campers this summer, I will have the pleasure of caring for the daughter of the Dudley alum I met in California and Matt will have the pleasure of caring for the son of our dear Kiniya alum. I will get to welcome our recruit who learned about the magic first-hand from her new camp friend!

Here’s to Kiniya’s 102nd summer. It’s certain to be a magical one!

#20001 Marnie McDonagh, Director

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