As the day breaks and the sun rises reluctantly over Seneca Lake after a memorable (but certainly not restful) last night, we are all forced to confront the reality that CSL 2018 lies firmly within the past tense. Although adjusting to normal life in the Real World surrounding by Real People is a daunting task ahead of us all, I believe that all of us here in Cayuga feel lucky to have spent the past 3.5 (or 8) weeks here, together with all of the people who have become our family. Special programs, regularly scheduled periods, hanging out in the village, walking from place to place, eating together in the Dining Hall—all of these moments, routine and exceptional, thrilling and banal, spawned collective memories which will stay with these kids for years to come. Endings and goodbyes are hard no matter if you're eight or eighteen, and yet they are also a time to reflect and to appreciate. Watching these kids get to know each other, try new things, and learn how to live in a communal environment was amazing to see, and as trite as it sounds, through year after year of camp we always come away with a deeper understanding of who we are.
"I'm really sad that camp is over because I have a lot of friends and I love the counselors. I love my big brothers and the big sisters and winning CFL and Color War was a big accomplishment for me. I felt sad when I started packing." - Drew S. (C-1)
"I feel happy that I'm going home but sad because I'm going to miss camp, especially the waterfront." - Asher T. (C-3)
"It's sad that it's reached the end of camp this year. It's gone by so quickly. The campers have been amazing and my fellow staff members have been awesome and I can't wait for next year!" - Oli Sims, C-1 Bunk Counselor and Cayuga Foreign Minister
Saturday, our last full day of CSL 2018, was a day full of Shabbat reflection, enjoying the last few moments of each other's company, and, of course, packing and cleaning. In the morning, we went to Shabbat services put on by Tuscarora in everyone's favorite venue, the O-Rec, followed by more packing in the afternoon and the Cayuga Football League Pro-Bowl. After a world-class Final Banquet put on by the non-village staff was Final Campfire, where tradition dictates that an oldest camper from each of the villages is selected to represent their peers by sharing their thoughts on their CSL experience. This session, the Cayuga staff chose Zach C. (C-3) to represent our village. Spake he before Camp Seneca Lake 2018:
"Hi, my name is Zach Couch and this is my 3rd year in Cayuga.
Cayuga has a special place in my heart because of the special community that exists in it. When I first started at camp, all I saw was leaving my parents to go be somewhere without air conditioning, TV, or wifi and I did not think it could end well. However, when I stepped off the bus and I saw the counselors in their costumes and smiling faces I knew they were ready to have fun. Within the first week I quickly became close with many of the kids in Cayuga. I learned that Cayuga is a brotherhood and place where everyone can relax and be themselves.
Now that I am in oldest, it is completely clear to me that Cayuga is my home. We can be serious, we can be silly, and we always do it together.
When reflecting on my time in Cayuga, I have come to understand how much of an effect the older campers have had on me. They showed me that in Cayuga we treat each other with respect and that Cayuga is a safe place to be yourself.
Now that I am in oldest, I have to be the role model for the village. I have to be the one who helps others when they need help. I have to be the one who is always ready to have a good time and finds the fun in everything. Lastly, I always have to be ready to help everyone get the most out of camp.
To all the older campers: You have the power to improve any younger camper's session by taking the time to make them feel comfortable and at home.
I see this a lot in Cayuga and that is how I know that Cayuga is a true family."
On a personal note, I'm so thankful to have been able to share the Cayuga experience with the world through the Cayuga Crier, bringing the Cayugan perspective into focus and shedding light on happenings here at CSL. Though the summer may be over, the spirit of the Uge lives on in us all, no matter where we reside.
Reporting to you live one last time from the village of the pines,
Cayuga Resident, '04-'06; Cayuga Camper, '07-'11; Cayuga Counselor, '17-'18
Cayuga Media Representative, 2018