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Summer’s End: Bittersweet Camp Closing Rituals

Last Monday brought a perfect Maine summer evening. It was still warm, and as the sun set over the western shore of Lake Sebago, a group of girls who had spent the past seven weeks together sat together around a campfire getting ready to say Goodbye. 

Camp’s Ending Is Nothing If Not Bittersweet at Wawenock

The final night of camp at girls’ Camp Wawenock, in Raymond, was about connection and friendship. Director Andy Sangster began the event with a traditional camp prayer, campers sang a variety of songs, and director Catriona Sangster delivered a reading. Then each and every girl stood to give a friendship gift to another camper. Handmade gifts of all shapes and sizes were passed from friend to friend. There were hugs and squeals and cheers. Then, quietly and by age group, the girls made their way to the waterfront, stopping at a table to pick up a small boat-shaped piece of wood bearing a single lit candle. In the small cove before them, the girls launched their boats into Sebago’s waters and said good-bye.  From a vantage point a few hundred yards away, I could hear laughter and sobs. Camp’s ending is nothing if not bittersweet.

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