I’ll never forget my final Key Log ceremony. The campfire was raging in front of me, the small stick of wood was resting in my palm, and the reflection of the sunset was glistening across the lake, illuminating the entire Council Ring with its orange glow. As I’d been dreading, a lump formed in my throat. I was sure going to miss this place.
For eight years as a camper and counselor, I’ve chosen to spend my summer at North Star Camp for Boys. At first, my decision was primarily based on how tall the climbing wall looked to a nine year old and the fact that my dad is an alumnus, but I had no idea of the effect that North Star would have on me. Maybe it was the friends I made over the years, or the counselors’ guidance, or even the disagreements that spring from ten pre-pubescent boys living in one cabin, but after each summer ended I was the first to sign up for the next one.
We have a special tradition at North Star, where every Friday night, each person gets an opportunity to thank someone else for doing something nice. The last Friday night of my last week as a camper was eye-opening. I stood in front of the entire camp, voice cracking as I held in my emotions, but I wasn’t embarrassed or nervous; I felt welcomed, even as I was saying goodbye. It was then that I realized what this camp had given me: another family.