Here at the Double H Ranch we are saying goodbye to Summer 2018. Goodbye to a summer that has been filled with moments that made us better and to the people that made camp possible.
Summer Staff pack away their damp clothes, tattered name tags, and treasured memories from a time in their life when they became stronger. After leaving camp you are a different person and a better person whose world is brighter.
Thank you, to over 900 children that came to camp this summer and provided us with moments that mattered. From the big moments that left us in awe of your resilience to the little moments we never knew could teach us so much.
Summer 2018 was special in countless ways. But for my family it may have been the best yet. Our son Parker, who was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease Eosinophilic Esophagitis when he was just 11 months old, was a proud Muskrat camper. Over the last five years Scott, Maya, Parker and I have built our family around two things – to always be kind and always make sure Parker was okay. Journeying through our new normal, integrating his illness into the back drop of our everyday lives. Still playing hard and laughing often, but never forgetting the looming reality of a chronic illness and havoc it can wreak for a little boy.
With Parker as a new camper, I sat in the same chair as the nervous parents I had reassured over the last 15 years. Telling so many, “He will be ok. We will take great care of him.” Now, I found myself asking, would I be ok? I quickly realized this moment wasn’t about me. It was Parker’s moment.
Parker came home from camp like countless children before him, a little stronger, a little more accepting, and I swear he got taller. After a somber and tearful car ride home, he ran into the house and found a quiet spot with his trusty camp bear. I wanted to follow him and swoop him up in my lap. To hold him as I’ve done for every procedure, every yucky medicine, and every invasive exam. But I gave him his space and chose to peer around the corner, my heart full of gratitude for his experience at camp. I listened as he shared,
“I miss camp, bear. It’s kind of bittersweet to be home. I miss my roommates. I miss Shamu. I miss the misfits.”
I realized camp gave Parker something Scott and I never could. It gave him a new language all his own. It gave him memories I couldn’t know, but I am so grateful for the profound difference those memories will make in his life.
Yesterday was Double H’s last day of summer camp. Our final campfire has burned out and the final Wishboats have set sail. It’s a bittersweet goodbye. We know there will be wonderful memories to create in the days ahead, but we can’t help but feel sad Summer 2018 is over. The great thing about camp is that it isn’t just a place or a season, it’s a feeling of love and acceptance and it stays with you long after your camp goodbyes.
“I am so grateful for the profound difference those memories will make in his life.”
Thank you for all those who enjoyed the journey this summer. We can’t wait to share in the magic with you again soon. To the Double H Ranch community, we adore you — a place in our hearts for you — how we love you.
By: Jacqui Royael
Director of Operations