The last few days of camp evoke a multitude of feelings – excitement for being reunited with family, sadness for leaving friends behind, anxiety for the impending school year. At Owego, these feelings are acknowledged and embraced. But we also celebrate. Every summer we celebrate campers’ achievements with division awards, which were handed out today by staff.
In the HBC, counselors handed out MVP plaques to top athletes in the various sports played at camp. Campers from all divisions were recognized for achievement in baseball, basketball, archery, pickleball, soccer, and more. At the stage, specific campers were awarded with special recognition for success in other areas of camp. One of these awards, the “Tents 2013 Spirit of the Flame” award, goes to a first-year camper who clearly embodies the Owego spirit and understands what it truly means to be a Brother in Blue.
The Spirit of the Flame is the knowledge that the bonds formed at camp are life-long. The traditions that are passed down summer after summer are meaningful, even when they seem frivolous or silly. The songs, the chants, the jokes, and the games endure the test of time. Long after summer’s heat has subsided and the school year is well underway, an Owegan remembers how it felt to sit at his first Friday night campfire. He remembers walking into the dining hall as a Junior, overwhelmed by the noise.
As the snow falls in January, an Owegan recalls summer days when the heat was so extreme that only double rec swim provided relief. He remembers gathering sticks for his first rope burn, the color of his very first Olympics shirt, and how it felt to win Frontier Week. He remembers all of the lyrics to his Tribe’s song, and collects the song sheets so he can memorize the other Tribes’ songs as well. Owego is in his blood, for now and forever.
Two more sleeps before the summer of 2023 goes into the history books and becomes part of the Owego lore.