Around 500 campers and 130 staff in 8 weeks. That’s how many people have been to 13164 Taylor Wells Rd. Chardon, OH 44024. 500 plus 130 equals 630 times 2 equals 1,260 feet that have stepped on Camp Wise’s property in the summer of 2017 alone. 1,260 feet have felt the flat pavement turn to gravel, the gravel turn to dirt, the dirt turn to sand and any combination in between. Camp has a lot of such transitions. It transitions from the cabins to the woods, the road to the trails and once from a grassy grove to the inhabited camp. The Cuyahoga River transforms into a manmade lake with a water trampoline and a “Saturn” climbing wall in the water. Campers don’t have their cell phones. They come to camp and think they’re having a natural getaway, but is it really a getaway if the food is made by a team of chefs? Their trash is taken out by custodians? The wooden cabins that already create a separation between the night sky and sparkling stars are repaired if need be?
Admittedly, some of my best memories and personal growth have come from camp, but can these transformations and transitions be attributed to my relationship with the forest at camp? Probably not. It’s doubtful because the way into the woods is a manmade trail and even the woods have been sprayed to kill the bees. Killing the bees is thought to keep the campers safe, but the ecological chain is not even thought about. I always thought I’d been so in touch with nature, but now that I’m older, I’m worried how outdoorsy my home away from home really is.