Chapel Talk by Senior Counselor Julia Himmelberger

The following poem is called “The Dash” by Linda Ellis.
I came across it this past year and really loved the meaning of it, so I’ve adapted the end of it to fit camp.
It reads:
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone,
from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth,
and spoke of the second date with tears.
But he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on this earth
And now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own
the cars, the house, the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard,
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more,
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this little dash
might only last a little while.
At camp, we just have 2 short weeks,
a mix of August, June or July.
We have so much fun everyday
the summer seems to fly by
You might choose to live your camp dash
by swimming or making a clipboard
or maybe you’d just rather see
how many nuggets you can hoard.
Maybe you want to make new friends
or try out for the play
And maybe you’d like to spend your dash
making people’s days.
However you choose to live your camp dash,
I challenge you to be
caring, honest, rugged, and true
on the shores of Lake Ossipee.
Because when you leave through those white gates,
with your session’s activities to rehash,
I hope you’ll be proud of the memories you made
and how you spent your camp dash.
Have a Nellie Day!
Julia Himmelberger