The last session opening campfire of the summer is always a little different from the rest. There are changes to our environment that underline this; a dwindling pile of fire wood next to the pit, a little coolness in the evening breeze, and a sun that sets somewhere in the middle of the village performances as opposed to the end.

There are also changes in the staff, those who have spent the last 3 sessions creating moments of magic for each new wave of campers who walk into their cabin on check in day. As well as looking comfortable and confident in their roles, there is an enthusiasm in their jokes, skits and songs, for they know that this is their last opportunity to do this in 2014.

Lakota introduce themselves to a flashlight-wielding Wawayanda

Lakota introduce themselves to a flashlight-wielding Wawayanda

But for the campers this is just the start of camp. What might feel like the end for some is a new beginning for others, as they embark on their summer camp experience with a high-spirited, humorous and heartfelt opening campfire to set the tone.

A counselor gathers ashes from the fire in accordance with Wawayanda tradition

A counselor gathers ashes from the fire in accordance with Wawayanda tradition

The moon rises over Lake Cole in full view of over 230 Wawayanda campers

The moon rises over Lake Cole in full view of over 230 Wawayanda campers

About the Author

Ashley Loftus

Ashley is in her third year working at Frost Valley YMCA. Hailing from Co.Waterford in Ireland, Ashley is on an 18 month training visa, working as the Assistant Wawayanda Director in Summer and as a Program Instructor year round. Her background is in digital media with a degree in Digital Media and Communications from the University of Wolverhampton. Ashley found herself working for theater companies and after school programs for youth's and sought some new experiences here in the States that would fulfill her passion for working with young people and in the outdoors.

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