Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Camp Namanu...sure to shine, all of the time

In elementary school, I was a Blue Bird and then a Camp Fire Girl. I memorized the Camp Fire Law, did service work, sold Camp Fire candy, earned colorful beads and patches to decorate my blue felt vest and for eight summers I enjoyed a week at Camp Namanu (pronounced: nah-mah-new) in Sandy, Oregon. My first job after graduating from high school was working with youth as a counselor at Camp Namanu. In the summer of 2004, unemployment and some stresses in life found me out in the woods, working, once again, at Namanu--this time as an Office Manager.

Camp Namanu, founded in 1924, is a magical place for many generations of campers, staff and alumni. In the forest, near a river, rustic, full of traditions and rituals and ever so lovely. This is a place to make some new friends, visit my old friends, sing camp songs around the dinner table or around a campfire, live in and learn about nature, sleep under the stars, laugh until my sides ache, work hard alongside others, hike up a creek, swim in the river, create things with my hands and to feel, if only for a week (or a summer), that I am accepted, just as I am, by all those around me. It is a place that I miss when I leave, long for when I've spent too much time in a city, and can go back and visit again and again through the years and it welcomes me, it always feels the same.
Last weekend launched the 86th year for Namanu with the annual Open House, and I visited again. Hubby Chris has come to enjoy it (although in a different way than me) as well. Each summer, when I visit, I invite a child (or two) that haven't experienced camping at Namanu. This time I invited our best friend's youngest, Rachel, we took a picnic and made a day of it. As hoped, she enjoyed exploring Namanu as much as I did sharing it with her. We enjoyed the fresh air, sunshine, birds, trees, old friends and, as always, hugs and laughter.

We all have a place that is special to our heart. For some, it's only in our memories but for me it's six miles east of Sandy, a mile up a gravel road, overlooking a river and part of who I am.

For view a video clip about Camp Namanu click HERE.

(Camp Namanu photos by Chris, Pfeiffer Photos 2008)

Flicker of a campfire, wind in the pine,

Stars in the heavens, a moon that shines,

A place where people gather meeting friends of all kind,

A place where old man trouble is always left behind,

So give me the light of a campfire warm and bright,

And give me some friends to sing with, I'll be here all night,

For love is for those who find it, I've found mine right here,

Just you and I and the campfire and the songs we love to hear.

What is the tie that binds us

Friends of the long, long trail.

Just this--we have shared the weather

We have slumbered side by side

And friends who have camped together

Shall never again divide.

photos copyright pfeiffer photos 2008 - all rights reserved.


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