Greetings from Namanu!
Camp is in full swing, and I’m having a fantastic time! What with the pounds of mail pouring into my box, plenty of activities, and anticipating my birthday, I’m having a great summer. We’ve had several groups of campers, including one batch that stayed longer than usual. It’s been great to get to know this summer’s hilarious and capable staff. Even after all these years, each summer still feels new, exciting, and perfect.
Daily life at camp
My favorite thing to do at camp is sneakily pretend to be a camper. I’ve been waking up at the same time campers do, going to the morning flag ceremony with them (although I usually watch from a tree), eating a delicious breakfast in the corner of the dining hall, and then starting to play. I love going to the nature house and learning new things about the woods, and I’ve even made a few neat things in the Art Barn. I particularly love the stained-glass windows I made for my tree; they’ll let in colorful light all year long. I also love tagging along on creek hikes, and I’ve reserved a special pair of elf-shoes that can get wet and muddy. Sometimes, when Nammi is waiting between groups at the climbing wall, she lets me put on the tiniest climbing harness in the world, and I scramble up the route named for me. From the top, you can see so much of Namanu: almost as much as from the top of my tree.
And then there’s lunch, and more play, and evening flag, and campfire, and sometimes overnights. What with all the fun, sometimes I stay up late into the night writing back to campers. And then I get up and do it all over again! I must say, summer is the best time for a camp elf.
Listening to stories
I love all the units at Camp Namanu, but my favorite place to visit right now is Blue Wing. Listening to songs and stories in the beautiful Blue Wing Lodge makes me feel like a young elf again. I’ve spent so much time there in the past few weeks that I’ve nearly been seen by campers more than once. I’m also awfully excited about the cabins; when I tiptoe up to one, I see sleeping bags and stuffed animals inside, and if I tiptoe by at the right time, sometimes I hear laughter, and sometimes stories. At dusk, there’s nothing I like more than leaning carefully against a new building and listening to a story.
I feel kind of sheepish admitting how much I love this one day at the end of July, when everyone gets together to eat and play in my honor—but there you go. I love it. It is, after all, my birthday. I was so excited the night before that I couldn’t sleep at all, and got out of bed before dawn to wait for the festivities. And festive they were! There was a feast in my honor, and games, too. My personal favorite is the duck pond races, which this year was very exciting. For my birthday, Gertrude made me an Elf-Coast-Guard-approved life-jacket of Douglas-fir cones and maidenhair fern. I put it on and hid among the bushes at the edge of the dock to watch.
I cheered for all the teams. At first I thought the Unit Director boat might win, and everyone cheered, right up until the Okihi boat sank it, and then everyone cheered some more. My counselor friend Ent was doing fine until his boat capsized; the boat then dragged poor Bell behind it. In the end I’m not even sure who won, it was all so chaotic. It was the perfect birthday present.
After the feasting and the games, everyone went to bed. I was exhausted, but took a moment to go down to the river, where I stretched out on the beach and looked at the stars, listening to the Sandy rushing by. August might be my favorite month, when we have plenty of hot days, meteor showers, and a solid few weeks of camp left. I can’t wait.