The summer has come and is sitting at our doorstep waiting for us to turn the knob and let it in. So many things this week have arrived that are those dead ringer indicators that even though technically we’re waiting until some time late in June, summer for all practical purposes is here. It is becoming the type of hot that is uncomfortable. When you get in your car now, it feels like it’s been preheating for a pizza or something. There is a shine coming off everything out the window. The sun is just glaring down from about 10am to about 6pm.
Today we brought in our weekend lifeguards, Jessica and Chris, along with our new pool manager, Alisa for pool orientation. We talked about all the rules and regulations, all the maintenance and equipment needs, and how to deal with the most challenging guests with a loving spirit. We walked around the pool, which has just been filled, discussing everything from turning on the pool lights to blind spots on the lifeguard stand. It only took about 15 or 20 minutes before that pool water began to look very inviting. Dian dipped her foot in the water and said it was very cold. That just made it sound better to me.
It’s hard to look at that light blue water on a day when the sun is doing its worst on your forehead, and not have memories and associations with other summer things come flooding back to you. There are songs from that summer when you graduated from high school, and you felt so old now, but so young still too. You had a few more months to play, carefree, before you went off to college or work or whatever else life was calling you too. There are friends that summer that you shared so much with, knowing you might not really see each other after that. And, whatever that song is for you, it was playing every other time you turned on the radio. So, when I hear Mo Money, Mo Problems, it is like that song was made from chlorinated water under a sunny sky.
We’ve also had a few of our senior summer staff members come in a few days early to get ready for camp. Jonathan Gowan, our Wilderness Director has been here all week, preparing his theme times and preparing spiritually for what is about to do for 10 weeks here. He’s been a bit of a hermit, which is pretty typical of Jonathan, spending a good bit of his time in the Conference Center with his thoughts, occasionally dropping in on the office staff or joining me for lunch. Later in the week, Emily Dodson, our Hope Series Camp Director and Emma Tinius, our Craft Director came in. Emily has been putting the finishing touches on her theme times. Emma attempted to make disco balls for the craft hut, but she was not satisfied with the effort. Her next plan is to hang Christmas lights. Tiffany Dowdy (Staff Intern) arrived yesterday, and currently John Raper (Waterfront), Allison Doyle (Resident Counselor), and Joe Montgomery (Resident Counselor), Kate McKnight (Recreation Director), and Michael McNeely (Ropes/Nature Director) have arrived with more to come. By 7 pm, most of our staff will have pulled up that hill to make the first memories of the summer of 2012.
Just a few rooms down from me, in our office lobby, we have about 8 college kids talking about a jumble of things. I think, right now, they are sharing, blood donation horror stories. Situations like this will very quickly be commonplace for us at Lakeshore. You never know what conversation you might overhear or what you may walk into when passing through one of our buildings. It makes weekday life at camp a lot louder and more unpredictable, but it also makes it a lot more alive. If you spend some time with these guys, you can slowly feel the cynicism leaking out of you for a moment. Just like fresh pool water, you are taken back to a time when you came to camp, much younger, and much more innocent. You felt a freshness driving down the tree-lined highway, and your heart beat a little faster as you turned into the drive and pulled up that familiar hill that, even in just sitting there, seemed to welcome you into its arms. You step out of your car and see people your age, get out of theirs, some very familiar, some brand new. You great each other and hug. Then you sit together for the first time and a permanent staff member welcomes you all to the beginning of summer camp for another year. You look out the window of the sun room onto the lake, a view you’ve come back to year after year. You can’t believe that you are about to do this, that you are hearing this information, getting this training. You can’t possibly predict everything that will happen to you this summer: the things you will see, the people you will meet, the ways you will grow. You will come out in August a different person, and chances are you will be a better version of yourself.
Yes, summer is here, no matter what the calendar says. You no longer have to be engaged in intense physical activity to sweat outside. Your skin will change shades right before your eyes. Music will suddenly seem upbeat. Bugs will just keep multiplying and multiplying. The cacophony of frogs and crickets will get to concert levels in the evenings. And no matter what your age, you’ll come across something, some song or activity or movie or color, and you will be a kid again for a little while. For a moment, you’ll fall in love with your life and be filled with hope, because a memory will flood back to you in nostalgic perfection. Summer starts tonight at Lakeshore. We are returning to the business of memory making.
Be in prayer for our summer staff as they train and our weekend guests: Memphis Conference Singles and Grace UMC.