My Grandfather, Winfree Slater, heard about Camp Sea Gull from a friend of his and he thought it would be a good camp in which to send his 8 year old grandson. The year was 1982. That, seemingly simple, decision changed me for the rest of my life.
I spent seven years as a camper here, five years on staff and after a 14 year hiatus from Sea Gull I am back. I spent my summers making friends with Matthew Frampton (’83), Mike Woody (’85), Billie Pope (’86), Wayne Robbins (’87), Jon Vance (’88), Chris Shaw (’91), Adam Beranek and Coach (’00) to name a few. Most people are surprised that the best friends I have in my life today are the friends I made while at camp. Time does not pass with us. The friendship is deep and emotional. As I try to analyze why that bond is so strong I have decided it comes back to “Remembering”. They remember our camp cheers from when we were Camp One Buccaneers with Charlie Newquist. They remember all the words to The Titanic. They remember that one arm up in the air means “Yes” and two out wide means “No”...and it frustrates us when we try to communicate that way for the weeks following the summer and that no one knows what we are doing. They remember Capt. Don’s perfect southern drawl. They remember mucking the canoe lake. They remember pier pounding. They remember…..
I am back now...32 summers since the first time I came through those gates. I am sitting at the Head Table now. Each meal I am looking over Cabins One and Two. I cannot help but wonder what they will remember and who their life long camp friends will be. I wonder if one of them will be sitting where I am 32 years from now. I hope so.
I want to thank my Grandfather for sending me to Camp. I want to thank every person that sends someone to Camp. You may be sending them here for a summer, but you are affecting their entire life. You are introducing them to their future best friends.