So a couple of days after the counsellor play the camp had its final Sunday meeting where the girls who achieved their 4th level swimming received their awards! This was the culmination of a summers work for these 3 girls as well as for myself and Shauni who had taken the majority of their lessons this summer. When girls a camp arcadia PG they receive a gift. This year the head of the swimming department, Shauni, made the girls bracelets with the saying ‘just keep swimming’ engraved on them along with their initials. When I say make I actually mean make. She had a kit where she had letters she hammered into the metal then she bent the metal to fit around a wrist. It was a pretty sweet gift.
That night was the final night of camp, all the campers and counsellors headed down to the waterfront to perform the traditional ritual of taking the spirit of Arcadia back down the hill to the lake as the summer was over. This involved everyone having a piece of wood which a candle on it which was lit at the main lodge at the top of the hill then walked down to the lake and placed in the lake to float in the darkness. Usually this was done when it was still light but a thunderstorm kept us inside until it was dark at about 9.30pm. I think this was a blessing in disguise because the candles looked amazing being taken down the hill and reflecting off the water in the darkness of the night.
Once the candles were in the water a surprise firework display was to follow as it was the hundredth season. The counsellors knew it was happening and I think the campers had an inkling. The fireworks were on a floating dock out in the lake and after a short delay where the starter button didn’t work the fireworks started. The fireworks were donated by a family tied to the camp and they were a lot larger and lasted longer than we expected. A large town would have been happy to use them for their fireworks display and they went on for about 8 minutes. After the fireworks were over the campers headed up the hill to their cabins ready for bed. The CTG’s headed to the main lodge as was tradition they would sleep there on the final night. The non-lodge crew stayed at the beach and collected all the candles from the lake and then made final preparations to walk around the cabins singing goodbye songs.
The goodbye songs we sung were both sentimental as well as humorous. Whilst heading around the cabins we sung ‘leaving on a jet plane’ as well as backstreet boys I want it that way with the lyrics ‘tell me why’ replaced with ‘you’re going home’. Once we had sung to all the cabins it was pretty late and we headed up to the main lodge to our final audience; the GTG’s. We sung our songs to them and then bid them goodnight and prepared for the kids to leave the next day.