The other morning, I heard “Uncle John’s Band” (Grateful Dead) on the radio on my commute to Burnt Rock Farm. The tune brought me back to a crowded and hot, loving and joyful building on Cragged Mountain in Freedom, New Hampshire. Yes folks, this is another post about summer camp.
And yet, Cragged Mountain Farm is not just another summer camp. If it were, perhaps “Girl Crush” (Little Big Town) would be stuck in my head as the song that brings me back to my time there, July 2015. And sure, there were plenty of moments when pop music would be played on the radio on the van ride to or from a hiking trip. “Girl Crush” certainly takes a close second for the song of the summer.
What stands out about my time at Cragged Mountain Farm was this incredible sense of community that comes from having 8 year olds sing the very same Grateful Dead songs in the very same building where their parents did. This was my first time working at a legacy camp and the difference is palpable. And to see kids, even if only for a moment or a few weeks, caught up in something other than pop culture is a breath of fresh air.
Of course, these kid got lots of fresh air as I took them hiking and canoeing. To see 9 year olds with oversize packs bagging a peak many adults would struggle up was exhilarating, if not exhausting for all involved. The magnitude of the accomplishment was over the head of most of these kids, but I hope in time they will see how incredible they are.
We ran into someone I knew in a trailhead parking lot in Maine, and the kids all loved petting her dog. Later that night, reflecting on the day, one camper said the best part of the day (a day of beautiful views, not seeing another person on the trail, that kind of day) was the dog.
Whatever we all took away from July 2015, I think it was a blast and a half.