On a chilly and rainy autumn night by the Dining Hall fireplace, we hosted our final Virtual Campfire of 2020. Campers, staff, alumnae, and friends of Merrie-Woode tuned in live over Zoom from around the world. If you weren’t able to join us, a full recording of the event can be found below.
The evening included a mix of traditional camp songs and a selection of readings given by Merrie-Woode alumnae from many generations. Betsy read a beautiful letter from Dammie Day, written in October of 1944, to her campers. Autumn themed poetry from Dammie and some of her favorite poets were also featured. Jim, Lindsay, and Courtney performed some music selected for the evening, and Denice gave us a reading of Dammie’s Prayer traditionally shared at every Closing Campfire of the summer.
We projected the Zoom Room up on a big screen so we could all see everyone’s smiling faces from their homes across the globe. Watching everyone sway along to “The Flicker of the Campfire” warmed our hearts and made us feel connected to the whole Merrie-Woode family even though we are apart. And so, with lots of laughs and a few tears, we bid farewell to 2020 Virtual Campfires. Thanks to everyone who could tune in!
Many of you reached out after Campfire was over to ask for the poem read by Ginger Sommerville Hallock. Since it spoke to so many of you, here it is. Print it out for yourselves to read on a day when you need its message.
To An Old Camper, by Mary S. Edgar
You may think, my dear, when you grow quite old,
You have left camp days behind;
But I know the scent of wood-smoke
Will always call to mind
Little fires at twilight
And trails you used to find.
You may think some day you have quite grown up
And feel most worldly wise;
But suddenly from out the past
A vision will arise
Of merry folk with bare brown knees
And laughter in their eyes.
You may live in a house built to your taste
In the choicest part of town;
But some day for the old camp togs
You’d change your latest gown,
And trade it all for a balsam bed
When the stars all night look down
You may find yourself grown wealthy
With all that gold can buy;
But you’ll know wealth ne’er can purchase
Those days ‘neath an open sky
With fun, a sense of freedom,
And camp friends standing by.
For once you have been a camper,
Something has come to stay
Deep in your heart forever,
Which nothing can take away;
And Heaven can only be Heaven
With a camp in which to play.
All our love,
Denice, Jim, Betsy, Lindsay, Robin, and Courtney