The Original Idea & The Original Vision
I got this idea to throw a big, huge sleepover for my birthday.
To gather all my friends from all over the world, from all parts of life, under one roof for one weekend. To intermix Churchill street friends with Boulder college friends, to blend friends from New Trier and mis amigos mexicanos y sevillanos with my EF teammates who are really more just friends, to mash up my closest Camp friends with my Boston honeys.
Kind of a wild, and weird, idea.
But, aren’t birthdays the one time of the year where we can get away with making an exceptionally weird request?
I had this vision that my friends from all over the place would get to see my not-so-new home in Boston. At the time, I had been living here three and a half years and, the longer I stay, the more I think I’ll stay even longer. But my heart is still tied to Sevilla, CDMX, and Colorado, so I wondered maybe if I brought all those people here for one weekend a year that maybe it would be easier to stay and dig roots even deeper.
I had this vision that we’d all be under one roof, in one room, in sleeping bags and blow-up mattresses staying up late telling stories or, maybe, watching movies projected onto a white sheet draped on the wall. Or maybe we’d be on the docks of a summer camp watching the stars. Just picture the perfect blend of Friday-night sleepovers and the most special nights of summer camp.
I had this vision that it wouldn’t be about me or a celebration of my birthday. THIS WAS IMPORTANT. It would be this celebration of my friends from all over from every year of life. It would be a way to get all the people I love to meet all the people I love, because I think you should all know each other because... well.... I just really love you all! But I also realize it’s kind of hard and maybe unnatural to essentially force friends from all walks of life to become friends. SO I had this vision, that we’d play super fun, kinda weird, camp-y get-to-know-you games to break the ice.
I had this vision that, just maybe, it could become an annual weekend for us to reconnect with our friends. With the rush of life and the constant "busy" that comes with work and adulthood, it is hard to coordinate weekends away to visit with different groups of friends. So what if we committed to one weekend to reconnect?
I am THRILLED that so many of you helped make this vision come true - year after year after year.
SO, THEN WHAT HAPPENED?
2018: Camp Court was created. Within a month we had a camp, a plan, and 34 RSVPs. Ya'll showed up and made my camper dreams come true. My dad died. I heard the news, towel in hand as I was about to step out onto the docks of Camp Court to look up at the starry night sky. My world flipped upside down. Your camp spirit, love, and support was what got me through.
2019: We showed up bigger & better than before. 50+ registrations for Camp Court. Yellow Team won the Color Olympics. We hoisted the Yellow Team bandana on the flagpole. Ya'll reminded me my Dad was still there. (For those of you that don't know, yellow reminds me of him.)
2020: My goal was to match 2019 in spirit (and numbers!) to send one grieving kid to camp. 50 campers. Fifty ($50) "Registration Fees" turned donations. $2,500. One fully-funded week of Experience Camps for one grieving kid. We did it. We did it in under 48 hours! In fact, we ended up fundraising over $5,000 to send TWO kids to camp.
2021: It was my 30th birthday. It was the 3 year anniversary of my Dad dying. My Dad loved nothing more than his 3 kids. 333 is some sort of lucky number. So the goal was set to match his love by fundraising to send 3 grieving kiddos to camp (a goal of $7,500!) We breezed right on past it: we raised $10,910 and sent FOUR KIDS TO CAMP. Then we celebrated BIG at Camp Court.
*Phew.* If ya'll have made it this far, cheers to you.
2022: At this point, I had just wrapped up my first camp season as the Senior National Program Manager for Experience Camps. I was tiiiiired. Instead of hosting camp weekend, I chose to rest and regenerate in Vancouver with my summer camp BFF. We still fundraised though: $2,524 to be exact. My aunt, also my godmother, died from ALS on my birthday. My brother joked that it was very "on brand." He's not wrong...