Lake Owego Dreamin’

One day last summer, sometime around mid-July, the air at Owego was so hot and sticky that even at 11:00 pm campers slept with their fans on full speed and their legs jutting out the sides of their blankets.

Today just hits different.

When we think about camp, we remember the sunshine beating down on our shoulders and the daylight lasting well past dinnertime. But do you ever wonder what camp feels like in the middle of Winter? While campers are occupied with the school year and the privilege of summer camp is just a pipe dream, camp stands still — almost frozen in time. An eerie silence descends upon the fields and courts, and a frigid wind blows snow drifts across the lake. Walking around Lake Owego in Winter is a beautiful reminder of what once was and what is yet to come.

The first thing you notice are the bare trees, the leaves long gone, no longer providing shade to the ground below. The lush greenery of camp has been replaced by a grayish landscape that lies undisturbed by campers’ feet. There’s the familiar outline of Bunk Maverick, but the porch is deserted. Pop-a-Shot and KanJam have been stored away along with the distinctively blue canoes that glided across the lake just 5 months earlier. The people are gone, but the places are unchanged. Everything lies in wait, allowing winter to make its rounds. In order for June to arrive, January must first announce its presence.

In front of the dining hall, the flagpole stands bravely against the biting wind, longing for the day when campers will return and gather excitedly for lineup. The Big Board still displays the relics of summer — counselors’ schedules, intercamp sign-up sheets, signs imploring campers to “Please wear appropriate footwear.” These papers hang on for dear life, flapping violently against the board, but refusing to give in to winter’s relentless attack.

Where campers once congregated around a massive campfire at the start of Frontier Week, the ground is now frozen solid. Standing on the same field where the USA/International soccer game took place last July, it’s difficult to remember the heat of the mid-summer sun or the cheers of campers as their counselors trampled through the mud and aimed for the opposing team’s goal. The silence of winter’s deep freeze has taken over. For now.

Scotty’s Stage waits patiently for his next production. The Junior Gathering Deck overlooks the glassy lake, eager to welcome campers who will play knock-hockey and ping-pong in just 5 short months. Tents will be erected where empty platforms now stand. The upper road, currently covered in snow, will once again be filled with campers on their way to the pool or the tennis courts. The sun will shine its warmth upon the camp and the summer fun will commence.

But for now, the winter has Owego in its unyielding grip. 


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