Skip to main content

“Are you coming back to camp next year?”

“Why can’t you come back?”

“Why are you not staying here?”

“That’s not fair!”

DuringĀ Eurekathon, the finale of the whole Eureka! camp, I heard these phrases repetitively. In fact, I have actually heard it quite often in the days leading up to the final day. The campers merely know me as one of the Duke facilitators, but the nominal position means nothing to them. Many of the girls will be returning to camp next year, and they would expect to see familiar faces amongst them and perhaps in the staffs. But not Duke. I tried to explain the circumstances of DukeEngage to the girls, but again, that didn’t mean much to them. What matter to the girls are the memories that we formed and the growing attachment. Even the ones who would say their low of the day is waking up early to get to camp came up for hugs and note telling me that summer was much more fun with camp.

I’m glad the girls had something to take away from camp, but I’m embarrassed that I’ve learned more from them than what I have taught. They have taught me the responsibility one should have as a facilitator. They have taught me that as a person in a position to give discipline, the responsibility that follows is as heavy. They have taught me that joy can come from anything, but sorrows can also come from anything. They have taught me comfort is the most priceless thing that one can give. These girls, without noticing it themselves, have taught me what a summer course could never teach.

I was a camper along with them.