By Eva Bednar
Last Friday night, a small, old barn in the Ossipee Mountains sat aglow on a hilltop in the Canaan Valley. This barn (or “Bahn” as Merrowvistians affectionately call it) was surrounded on all sides by the calm night of the New Hampshire forest, and swaying white pines and maples under a starry sky. Though a few cabin porch lights still shone through the trees down the hill, the bunks inside were empty. The campers had all gone home, picked up by parents the evening before, or put on planes that morning. That left the summer staff of 2016 in a ‘circle’ that touched every wall and corner of the building.
After sharing reflections on the summer with partners— a time we really leaned on a fellow staff member, a moment that made us belly laugh, something new we discovered about ourselves—Kris Light, Camp Director, spoke about our season and our staff. He emphasized that Merrowvista does not merely attract exceptional people; it brings out the exceptional that exists in each person. “This summer is one that really adds on the shine, one that I won’t forget,” he said. He spoke of the strength and dedication of each person there, and chose a specific word to describe each staff team, such as “resilience” for the Logistics Team, “spirit” for the in-camp leaders, and “wisdom” for our Community Coordinator.
He spoke of how, though there may be darkness in the world, people can never give up on each other. Everyone has light within them. Just as the staff had brought their best selves to the campers of 2016 so that those campers could let their unique inner lights shine and bring positive change to their communities, so too could they bring that enthusiasm into the wider world. “We couldn’t keep all of you at Merrowvista, nor would we want to- you have too much good to spread to this world,” Kris said.
As they reflected on his words, the summer staff of 2016 sat filled with awe, gratitude, and love for the incredible campers that have immeasurably shaped the community over the past 7 weeks.
Leaving people and a place you care about is rarely easy. But just as campers are asked to aspire to their best, so too are the staff; to strive for a life in line with their values, and to extend the light that they have seen to any who need it, whether that is creating a space where people can feel appreciated for who they are, or making sure their own personal lives are in balance so they can give their best to the world.
Hear, hear! to the campers and staff of Merrowvista summer 2016. Continue your great work in this world!