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  • Summer camp means something different to everyone. For me, camp was a safe haven. The one place without judgement and full of kindness. "Decade after decade, year by year. Season after season, we're still here." I was there all summer, every summer, for over fifteen years.

    Every Thursday night we held a campfire. Guitars would play, "voices raised in a ragged harmony, singing this land was made for you and me." That song was always my favorite, bringing tears to my eyes without fail. We sang it the last week of every summer.

    Sebbie was the back bone of camp. She made sure camp had all of the little necessities, and made certain we were safe and happy. As a camper, she terrified me. I was always afraid that I would do something to invoke her ire and that she would tell me I couldn't ever come back to camp.

    The years went by and I began to know Sebbie as a king, strong woman who took on all of the jobs no one wanted simply because they needed to be done. And that's what a Girl Scout does. Instead of being terrified, I wanted to be just like her. I wanted the calm assurance that I would be able to handle any job or problem that came my way.

    Last summer it was decided that I would be her replacement, her real people job was keeping her from being at camp as often as she needed to. She coached me and taught me more things about myself in those eight weeks than I'd learned in the past two years. Despite all of her reassurance and encouragement, I knew deep down that I could not live up to her expectations. I knew I would fail her.

    So I ran. I moved further up North and made it clear that I wouldn't be able to come back the following year. I couldn't bear to face her if I mucked everything up she'd worked so hard to preserve over the last twenty years.

    She passed away this past Sunday. Cancer.

    I keep playing my favorite camp fire song over and over again. And every time I can hear her voice, "raised in a ragged harmony."

    I hope to God that I didn't disappoint her. And that she knew how loved she was. And that slowly, over time, camp will learn to live without her.
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