Our week of posts continues with Ellie Orbison, the Director of Development and Alumni Relations for Camp Manito-wish YMCA and an expert in memories. She shares her experience of how camp remains a pivotal time in the lives of alumni.
One of the things I love about my job in Alumni Relations for Camp Manito-wish YMCA is that I am able to spend time every week reminiscing with someone about something. Some weeks the conversations are about canoe or backpacking trips. Other weeks it’s about cookie recipes. Then there are the times when people are reminiscing at home or a social gathering and wonder if we have pictures to help them remember.
I was recently at an alumni gathering with about twenty alums and their families. Two alums who attended Manito-wish at roughly the same time started sharing their memories of Camp. One could remember every cabin, in exact order of his progression through Camp; the other couldn’t name a single one. One could remember obscure moments and strong feelings that he still associates with Manito-wish; the other wasn’t as concerned with the emotional side of his memories. I can, and do, relate to both of these alums, as my memories of camp are a delightful blend of fact and feeling.
Being at Camp Manito-wish YMCA year round provides me the greatest blessing of enjoying the details and history that make up Camp’s 93 year history. In addition, I get to reflect on my own experiences and the people, places and events that helped shape me into the person I am today. How can we truly experience Manito-wish if we don’t have a blend of facts and feelings?