Every year, kids and adults and people in between come to camp. For the llamas, for the food, for the scenery. Some come in search of things more intangible– friendship, laughter, hopes and dreams. Why do you come to camp?
When something happens in the outside world that devastates communities and fills us all with a sense of loss, anger, and sadness, we are forced into consciousness. We must question the forces around us and our responsibility to do good in the world; or, at least, our responsibility to make things better.
It is times like these when camp values seem clearer and more utopian than ever. At Hidden Valley, we look out for each other, we practice kindness and safety and love. We approach disagreements with compassion and communication rather than opposition and violence. We perform tick checks and douse ourselves in sunscreen and remind each other to drink lots of water so we stay healthy and safe. We pick up litter and take shorter showers because we care about our environment and our bunk mates.
In the musical words of Tom, our favorite dulcimer guy, “Let’s make all the world a camp, everybody in the world will feel just like a champ, no need for rich or poor, yes this will be the cure, ‘cuz when all the world’s a summer camp, world harmony’s assured.”
Being in the Hidden Valley “bubble” is both a privilege and a responsibility. We are privileged to be around such beautiful nature, have access to incredible outdoor and arts facilities, and be in a loving and supportive community of like-minded people. It is our responsibility to harbor this energy, these resources, and this love towards the power of something good. The real world and the camp world do not have to exist in a vacuum; we must try our hardest to bring over our camp songs, values, and goals into our day-to-day lives after the summer ends. Imagine how much more interesting that office meeting would be with a thought-du-jour or maybe a Fake Fact. Maybe your roommate relationships would be easier if you came up with “apartment rules” in the same way we agree on “cabin rules.” Maybe if we came to appreciate the brilliance and value of every individual, the same way we do when we touch candles at Pine Grove, we might find we come together through solidarity and friendship rather than opposition and hate.
After we come out of our feelings of woundedness and confusion, what we can take away from this horrible tragedy is not the hopelessness of this world, but rather the beauty that still remains. There are still pockets of love all over the earth performing beautiful magic. We have our own little slice here at HVC, and we’re working extra hard right now to send out some love and hugs to those in need.
“The world is violent and mercurial– it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love– love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.” — Tennessee Williams
Lots of love from Freedom, to Orlando, to beyond,