Book Camp 2020, Closing Ceremonies

Today was a half day at camp, the final few hours together before returning to our respective quarantines. We began the day with a last fort meeting in which we reviewed the day’s activities, talked next steps for their story, reviewed plans for next book camp, and talked annual Harry Potter party.

The A.D. returned with doughnuts and we scarfed down more than a few, particularly lemon-filled. Four kids biked off to the pond nearby and skipped the perfect rock that had been saved for a week just for this moment. Reportedly, it got three skips.

We opened up doors, turned on fans, and created some cross-ventilation before the parents and grandparents showed up. We donned our masks and pulled all the floor pillows out of the fort.

With everyone gathered ‘round, masked and glistening in the humid breeze through, the kids took turns discussing their contributions to Book Camp and had a bit of show and tell. They each gave a couple of sentences on what they learned these two weeks.

They gave their self portraits to their parents, opened their parting gifts, and received their goodie bags of leftover junk food.

All that was left were the goodbyes.

We hugged, having lived together for two weeks. But no one hugged grandma and grandpa. It felt scandalous enough to have them indoors with outdoor ventilation and masks. I hate coronavirus.

I hate the distance it provokes. I hate the fear it tenders. I hate that we face long stretches of aloneness. I hate not hugging the people I love.

All that hate, that’s why I’m so thankful for Book Camp, to see and touch and share with my nieces. It’s not everything I want, but it’s a big chunk.

Now everyone is home again. I don’t know when we’ll share physical space again. I can only hope for a long, cool fall in which we can all gather out of doors.

As I continue to hope for our world to overcome this disease. As I continue to hope that the fall will be a time of renewal. As I continue to hope for future Book Camps and Harry Potter parties and birthday parties and things for which we can safely gather together or share a bond.

That’s what I learned at Book Camp: It’s my responsibility to use the technology at hand to connect as well as I can. That may be the only option I have for staying with people when we must be apart. It’s a new kind of story, and we must learn to tell it in new ways.

You’ll be hearing about Book Camp 2021 well before a year from now, so be on the lookout.

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