At the end of every summer, sitting around the campfire in the middle of the night, with tears either in our eyes or near our hearts, comes the time for annual farewells. I loved what I said this year, so here it is, edited and expanded, so I can share it with others and always remember it for myself.
Every day I wonder how I got here. I'll be waking up in a tent, or walking from the Dining Hall to Arrowhead, or holding a chicken on the farm, and I'll think - how did I get here? It was never my dream to be a counselor when I grow up, it was never my calling to work with children. Sometimes, I think I got here by accident - one day, I tripped, and next thing I knew, I was at Tomahawk Ranch. Well, it was definitely the best trip of my life.
I've learned so much at camp. I learned how to care for myself and others; I learned how to make new friends, but keep the old; I learned how to clean the bathrooms; I learned how to stay in touch through distance, how friends really can be forever; I learned what matters to me in the world, what I care about, what makes me happy; and, most of all, I learned how to call a place home. Before I came to Tomahawk, there was no place I could ever call home. The concept confused me, completely eluded me. But now I know what home is. Home is right here, in the mountains of Bailey, Colorado. There is no other home for me in this world.