Our first ever virtual campfire was held yesterday! Campers and staff joined us from all over the world to sing songs, hear stories, and share thoughts. While a screen can’t replace the calm of the campfire circle, it felt so special to connect with one another in a familiar way.
For those that couldn’t join us virtually we recorded the campfire, please enjoy!
We also wanted to share the thoughts of our speakers, you can find them below.
If there are songs you want to hear, stories you want to be told, or anything else you’d like to see from us please give us a shout on social media (Facebook or @campgreencove on Instagram) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send us your own campfire thoughts and memories, or any pictures you want to share!
Wherever you are we hope the spirit of Green Cove is with you, and know we can’t wait to be together again!
Songs from this campfire: Ashgrove, Country Roads, Carry Me Away, Daisies in the Sun, I Want to Linger, Carolina in my Mind, and Taps.
Follow the “Green Cove Song Book” playlist on Spotify to hear these and more!
Thoughts from Little (Main Camp Program Director):
Welcome to the first Green Cove campfire of 2020. It is certainly going to look, feel and smell different from what you are all used to, but it’s more important than ever for us all to get together with our camp family right now and campfires are the best place for that. If this was a regular summer, which we all know it isn’t, this Tuesday night would be the first campfire of June Camp. If you come to that first Tuesday night as a Green Cove girl that has been coming to camp for one, two, five or eight summers, you know exactly what to expect. If you are new to Green Cove, you watch in wonder at this ritual. It may take you a few campfires to absorb everything going on around you, but even at the very first one, you know something magical is happening.
The bell would have rung around 7:45 after MaryEmma had lit one of her amazing blazes, and we would all have started to gather in the parking lot. The first campfire of any summer or any session is always really special because there is so much about it that is familiar. The buzz and chatter of friends and cabinmates starts to quiet, you slowly shift into a long snaky line so that you can sit with your cabin and your counselor and then someone up at the front starts singing “Ashgrove”. We “meander”( just like the song says) down the hill, across the tiny bridge over the stream and duck beneath the hemlock canopy. The snaky line wraps around the circle until everyone has found somewhere to sit. The sweet smell of the forest floor, the hemlock needles and the fire all swirl together to help you know that you are home. The first song we always sing, Call of the Fire, always calms me and helps me settle in.
Then for the next hour or so, we sing and talk and listen. We all have our favorite songs we want to sing or hear, some of us have special animals we bring along with us or special PJs or sweaters we always wear at campfire. You lean on a friend or a counselor, you close your eyes and your mind and thoughts take over. Maybe you are thinking about something special and brand new that happened to you that day. Maybe you are a little homesick for your parents or your brother or your puppy. Maybe you are quietly making a packing list in your head for that cool trip you are going on tomorrow. Maybe you are just sitting still and enjoying the sight and smells and sounds of campfire. For me personally, my mind always slips back to campfires in the 1960s and 1970s where I was seated among my closest friends in the whole wide world.
So tonight, even though we are all in our living rooms on our devices looking at screens instead of a flickering fire, we can all still access those campfire memories that are woven into our hearts and minds. Close your eyes and you can feel the dampness of the stone seats. You can hear the frogs and crickets starting their nightlong chirp-off. As the wind moves through the circle, you can hear it whisper through the hemlock branches. And depending where you are sitting in our virtual campfire, you can breathe in a bit of campfire smoke. Feel your arm around your friend, and rest your head on your counselor’s shoulder. Let the flames bring you peace and the calmness of spirit to drive all your troubles away.
And, when we are done, and have stood to sing Taps (without swaying) remember that this group of Green Cove campers, like all the thousands of girls that have gone before us, are so lucky to share the most amazing thing. We share a place and a community and a spirit unlike any other. We share a connection to Green Cove and all of its magic. And…as hard as it is for all of us to not actually be together tonight in the campfire circle, we all know that we can reach down inside of ourselves and access that connection whenever we need or want to. Every year at each of the final campfires, we are all sad at the thought of having to wait 9 whole months to be back in our happy place with our friends. It seems like it will be forever and that friends and special memories will be forgotten. And yet… they never are. We come right back every summer and the magic is there and waiting for us. So, yes, this year we will have to wait a bit longer than we are used to, but we will all be back sitting in the campfire circle singing songs soon.
Calla read a story from Tajar Tales by Jane Shaw Ward.
She chose the story ‘The Tajar and the Witch’ and read from a copy of the book originally owned by Calla Bell; her grandmother and former Director of Green Cove. This particular copy has been at Green Cove since the at least the 1950s.
A quote from the story: “Then the witch did a magic all around the Tajar, and she pinned a Magic on the Tajar’s back. ‘Now,’ she said, ‘you are quite invisible. You won’t even be able to see what you look like yourself.’ And sure enough it was true. The Tajar wouldn’t even have know he had tucks unless he felt of them.”
Thoughts from Nancy
For those of you who have sat around our campfire circle for a number of years, we hope you enjoyed our best substitute for the ‘real thing’. It’s a treat, really, to be able to pull campers from all 2020 sessions together… from the Early June girls to June, Main and August Campers. Some of you are ‘here’ for the very first time; some have been campers for 5, 6, 7 years or more! Some of our oldest Main Campers started just where you youngest June and Early June girls are now!!! We wish we could all see the faces around this campfire!!!!
And of course we welcome counselors as well. Again, some of these folks were campers and are transitioning to staff members for the first time. Some are brand new to Green Cove, and some have been here for a decade or more!
We thank our musicians, Carolyn Groves Winkler and Katie LaRue. Both were staff members; Katie was also a camper. We’ll be pulling on the skills of more musicians as the summer progresses, and know you’ll enjoy that!
We hope to have campfires every other week and would love your suggestions…. And contributions! Are there particular stories you’d like to hear… songs you want to sing? It might be fun to hear ‘trip reports’ from favorite trips you’ve done in the past. For new campers, campers who have been on trips sometimes share the highlights of their trips with everyone at campfire. It’s a nice way to ‘get a peek’ into some of the neat trips we take!
And here’s a thought… we used to have a camper read a ‘thought’ at the end of campfire. At the end, she would ‘pass the thought’ to another camper to be shared at the next campfire. At final campfire for each session, the thought gets passed for the ‘next year’! That one can get tricky, since it requires a good memory!
We hope you enjoyed our first campfire of 2020, and that you will join us for more. If you have great ideas, please share. We may not be able to use them all, but always love hearing from you!
We close campfire with taps … all standing with arms crossed…. Right over left. Then we say goodnight to Juniors, sing another song and say good night to the next line… until everyone has walked up the hill and back to their cabins. It’s a little early for ‘good night’, so ‘until next time…’