As girls’ camp approached, my inbox filled with little notes: “Remember, no shorts or capris allowed– even when exercising!” “All visitors must sign in at the entrance.” “Anyone not on the list will be turned away.” “No tape, no tacks, no stickers, no glue, no cookies or candy in the cabins.” “All hikes must be preapproved.” etc. etc. and- I’m not kidding you– etc.
With each email, my trepidation grew. Would a draconian set of rules blight our happy days at camp?
Still, I’m an obedient soul and packed my bags with long pants, filled out every form and brainstormed ways to decorate the cabin without using any forbidden tacks or tape. Even with the cheerful greeter at the gates and the wink and nod orientation– “Just sweep out all the cookie crumbs at the end of the week.”– my skepticism continued. Like a child approaching the principal’s office, I knocked on the camp directors’ motor home door to gain approval for our first hike. With a rush of warmth, they pulled me inside, showing off their temporary home, photos of their grandchildren and binders filled with hiking plans. They made photocopies of trail maps, scribbled directions and wrapped me in a hug before sending me out the door. As I left, I noted the sign taped to their tiny refrigerator, “Be flexible. Be kind.”