Don Thompson shares these photos and words on the trail reunion at Camp Stephens on the Labour Day Weekend.
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|Don Thompson and Kate Paterson|
Memories of Camp Stephens 50th Wilderness Trail Reunion August 29 – September 01, 2013
Although I never went out as a Trail member post 1963, I was on the Trail with Punch prior to that in 61-62. I started as a camper at Stephens in 1957 – or thereabouts as best as I can recall….where is Abes when you need him????
I was one of those old guys sitting on the chairs in the back of chapel Sunday morning (the floor is easy to get to – it’s just gotten harder to get up from over the years…..)
As we all enjoyed the discussions about legacy, I realized that although over the years the words of our experiences have changed, the common human experience that bonds us is still the same.
In my/our day, way back when, we were taught/shared the Emblem Rock trilogy of Spirit, Mind, Body. We believed in the motto “I’m Third”, which means God is first, the other fellow is second, and I’m third. I think the current motto of Respect, Caring and Responsibility means the same.
What I saw, heard and felt is that all folks who “ventured down the trail” through the years gained and share the same common human experience. We all came to camp because we wanted to – or perhaps our parents wanted us to – for various reasons – but we all had fun, made friends, gained some self -confidence, enjoyed nature – and most of us wanted to come back again.
Those of us who came back and hit the trail enjoyed the added advantage of experiencing a closer connection with nature, a sense of survival and pioneering. We learned to trust one another (sometimes with life and death situations) as a special family unit that survived through thick and thin (and wind and water)…… we had to grow up a little on each trail trip. We gained in self-confidence. We grew stronger physically, mentally and emotionally (well most of us did..) we achieved a “right of passage” of sorts, that I still cannot adequately describe - a wonderful sense of satisfaction and of belonging – maybe for me it was that I realized I am a meaningful part of society and the universe (wow this is getting scary and too heady for me…….. fun actually).
I was particularly impressed with the number of women at this great weekend event. I had not realized over the years how large and meaningful this program has become for the young women in our community. I commend, admire and respect you all – Tuck – you are a legacy unto yourself! Congratulations and Thanks for a job well done!
I noticed some similarities and changes with Punch and I too…….. we have both put on a few pounds and a little grey hair (changes). When we were on the trail Punch was always steering and I was in the bow. This weekend Punch was driving the car and I was riding shot gun – I was still listening and he was still doing all the talking…………(similarities). He is a great layer of seeds for the mind and food for thought.
Punch – my great friend for many decades – You too are a legacy. Thank you for your passion, dedication and love of camping and The Trail. What you have created will out- ive all of us.
We will never see all the great good that will come to this world from what was …..simply your 17 year old dream. I am proud to know you and to enjoy our friendship – thank you for all you continue to do!