Written by a Skyline mom of 2nd session campers after they attended Mother-Daughter Weekend recently…
It’s hard to describe, but I will try…the Camp Skyline smile. Four years ago, I sent my daughter off to Camp Skyline hoping she would have a memorable two weeks, make new friends and sing camp songs on the way home. I got a bit more than what I bargain for with her. I was unaware that Larry posted pictures throughout the Skyline experience. When I finally started looking at the Roost, I did not see my girl. Then in a couple of days, I started seeing my child with this all too new “look”. It wasn’t that she was painted green, wearing a tutu, or throwing socks, it was her smile. Where did that come from? There it was night after night as I surveyed the daily snap shots. I coined it the “Camp Skyline” smile.
Since then, I have tried to get my daughter, as we posed for pictures, to “give me the Camp Skyline smile!” “Come on, girl, smile like you do at camp.” In four years, I have yet to be successful in capturing that radiant glow. She has even recruited her younger sister to camp who too also has that all too familiar facial glow! I am not on facebook, I know this may be shocking, but I have even looked there to see if I saw a glimmer of that Camp Skyline smile. No luck.
So it came to pass that my fourteen-year-old daughter asked me if I would go to Mother-Daughter Weekend at Camp Skyline. The laundry was behind from Labor Day, I was exhausted from work, having two very involved children in too many activities and repairing the yard from our puppy. So of course, I said, “sure darling, let’s go!”
I was a last minute entry and decided that this was an opportunity to spend time with my daughter, who I know is going to leave my roost in four years. I kind of got excited and packed my bags for all of the activities that were offered. My teenager took her BFF Skyline buddy and asked that I not “hover” and give her space and of course, I agreed.
I had no idea what I was going to experience but I was all in! Sign up: I did. Who couldn’t resist horseback riding, canoeing, archery, riflery (boy, did I need instruction), pamper pole, V-swing, and zip-line. I signed up and participated with other mother-daughter teams in order to “keep my distance”. But, that’s when I saw it. From a far, I witnessed what causes the “smile.” Mona Lisa ain’t got nothin’ on Camp Skyline.
It was the freedom, the counselors, the sincere interest in my child, the acceptance of who she was and that all of the girls were there on a beautiful serene campus experiencing it together. I realized everyone felt special. I took it all in for two days. I reminisced with my high school friends, who had their daughters there, and made new friends. I watched younger mothers holding their daughter’s hand, walking through campus and felt my heartstrings pull at the years that had passed by so quickly with my girls. That night at the campfire, as the girls requested their favorite camp songs and I watched the sun set, God made Himself known. It was as if angels were singing and I treasured the moment that my teenager leaned against me and hugged me. That smile of that child who is growing up into a young lady. This camp and its counselors have been instrumental in helping her develop her independence and her leadership skills all at once. I realized girls can be exactly who they are, themselves, and be accepted. This is not always the case in today’s world.
As my daughter departed to be with her friends, I walked the campus alone by flashlight to admire its beauty, serenity and peacefulness. If this is where girls can relax and leave their electronic devices (and all of the drama associated with them) behind, I’m all in!
After I recovered from climbing up a telephone pole and leaping onto a trapeze, I relished my Sunday lunch at camp. As I was about to gather my troops to head home, my daughter and her friends began a Camp Skyline song that rang out with banging, clapping and singing. I walked over to the girls and told them it was time to go and my daughter’s friend looked at me with sincere disappointment and asked “Why?” I guess twenty-four hours is just not enough time to replenish the soul and that’s why we pack the trunks and entrust the staff with our most precious possessions for at least two weeks every summer.
As we left Camp Skyline, my sunroof and windows were rolled down and we were all singing Celine Dion. As I looked in the rear-view mirror, I realized we all had tears streaming down our faces as we waved good-bye to Skyline.
So, mystery solved. I found the reason behind the smile. Oh what happiness to have youth, God’s love, acceptance, promise, joy and adventure wrapped up into one simple facial gesture! Been there, done that, got the Mother-Daughter t-shirt! I glanced again in my rear-view mirror and I too caught a glimpse of that smile and it was on someone new. It was me.
The Camp Skyline Smile. Pass it on!