FMC and growth

I write this post from my kitchen in Chicago….like most others, we are safe and sound at home by now. Campers who just returned from FMC are likely pretty sad to have left, as they miss the community and their friends. I was one of those campers over 20 years ago, and while I know how hard it was to leave the FMC community at that point, I also know in retrospect how much going to FMC changed me for the better.

During one of the last days of camp this year, Brendan Cooney pulled out some videos (we’re talking VHS!) of his days as a camper in the late 80s and early 90s. (I will admit that I was in some of them too.) As we watched, laughing over how much the camp has developed in so many ways since those days, we noticed the tree in front of the girls’ dorm, just a passing glance in a story about something else. Today, the tree is robust, a favorite climbing tree, one that provides much shade for people to sit under to play guitar, have tea, or just relax. In the video,  it is a sapling. It’s being held up by wires and stakes so that it might, possibly, be able to grow tall and flourish.

As my mind wandered during the long drive home, I couldn’t help but see the parallels between this tree and our campers. In my non-FMC life, I’m an English teacher, and I tend to see symbolism everywhere–probably too many places, to be fair. But here, it seemed so obvious. I didn’t remember the tree ever being so little, and being able to see it twenty years ago made me appreciate its growth, even though it had been imperceptible to me as it happened. So it is for all of us. Though there may be moments of epiphany or obvious change, most of our growth is in slow, unnoticeable moments. Yet, over time, I think of campers I have known since they were 10 or 11, and I think of them at 16 or 17 (or even at 25 or 30, as counselors and teachers), and I am able to see how much they have grown. I love to be able to watch this growth year after year.

Thanks to all of you for reading this year. I hope this blog has been a good experiment. I’ll post from time to time during the year, but probably not very often. Best wishes to all, until it is time to start thinking of FMC 2012.



One thought on “FMC and growth

  1. Changes. I watched the porch to what is now the Music Box being built over the course of a summer when Olney decided to convert it from a laundry to an activity center. There were two gaps in my time at FMC. When I first taught there in 1983-84 there were about 25-30 campers and barely any woodwind players. I came back in 1988, ’89, ’90 and there were about 50 campers and brass players. Came
    back in 2002 and there were 80 campers and (!!) dorm counselors and many former students on staff. But the feeling of a safe place for children has never changed. I remember bringing Avery for a brief visit when he was five. As I sat on top campus with Wendy, Chiara, age six, grabbed his hand and off they went. My Brooklyn mother’s heart jumped, but then I realized this was a chance for him to enjoy unheard of freedom.

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