News from SEL
News from SEL
Today, November 19th, SEL is participating in a summer-camp day of action for Black lives.
Singing Eagle Lodge affirms that Black Lives Matter. We promise to do our best to learn and continue to learn how to eliminate structural racism, no matter how subtle, at camp and in the rest of our lives.
We realize that making a statement is only the beginning. We have work to do to make sure that Singing Eagle is a place where all girls can find a loving and respectful community. We strive to be welcoming to families who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. We are forming a committee to work on diversity and inclusion. If you would like to be involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
--The Board of Directors of Singing Eagle Lodge
Singing Eagle has been moving away from many of the Native American traditions over the past several years. At SEL 2019, many of our Council Fire traditions were changed. We no longer wore “Indian Dresses”, instead, dressing in all brown. The Captains no longer played drums, but carried Pine and Birch boughs and we had new music for walking in. It was amazing how everything was different, but the spirit of the evening remained unchanged. Girls were still excited to be named to a team (and received a special pine or birch bead from their captains), new councillors were presented with whistles on SEL lanyards as a welcome to council in place of feathers. Girls still giggled through their histories and I still listened to beads plinking on the floor while girls were stringing their weekly beads.
At the last Winter Council Meeting (held before SEL 2020 was canceled), the Council decided to change the group names. We decided on birds because they capture the spirit of Singing Eagle and because we could find names with the same syllables, which allows us to continue using the group songs. Starting at SEL 2021, the girls will be:
Flickers- 4th grade or below
Chickadees- 5th grade
Vireos- 6th grade
Bobolinks- 7th grade
Meadowlarks- 8th grade
Peregrines- 9th grade
Eagles- 10th grade
The group going into 11th grade will retain the Councillor in Training or CIT name. The Council will continue to look critically and lovingly at all our SEL traditions and make changes that are needed to be respectful of all people. Sometimes these changes feel major and important, but none have changed what I love most about the Lodge: sitting on the lodge porch with my friends, watching the sun set, climbing mountains, watching a girl play her first violin solo in front of a rapt audience, jumping into Squam Lake when it’s a little colder than expected... This list could go on for pages.
The real spirit of Singing Eagle is not dependent on any particular traditions and comes from the many women who have helped shape it and used their time there to grow.
Caitlin McDonough Mackenzie
When I was a camper in the 1990s, one of my favorite activities was Councillor Hunt — in the post-banquet glow of ice cream & camp team beads, we’d gather in the Lodge to hear that our councillors had disappeared! And then we’d find ourselves thrown together with a random team, running from lake front to soccer field, poking up into the rafters of cabins and peeking under the Lodge porch to search for our lost councillors until it was time to make candleboards at our cabins. I loved the rush of the hunt and I was totally oblivious to the councillors’ motivations to spend a couple hours sitting quietly with their half-written limericks or honor bead drafts or just sheer exhaustion of the last weekend of camp.
I would like to curl up in the backstage nook of the Stone House for a couple hours right now, or maybe lie in the grass beside the shed near the Dar Williams garden, or hide away behind a log at chapel and listen to the boats on the water.
It is late August and I’m not in Holderness. A decade or so ago we shifted Banquet to a dinner event and Councillor Hunt fell out of fashion, so even if we weren’t scattered the wide world o’er in the midst of a pandemic, I probably wouldn’t need a hiding spot. But I keep thinking of good ones — I imagine myself somehow climbing into the canoe in the Wiggie rafters, or slipping out on to the new back Wiggie porch and leaning in a rocking chair with a mug of tea. I could pack a book in a dry bag and swim myself out to the float to lie behind a stack of life guard rescue tubes.
I would like to pull one of those deviously obvious tricks by hiding in my own sleeping bag, tucked into a dark corner of a councillor room, even though I haven’t lived in a cabin with campers since 2014. If it was one of those cold afternoons, with an autumn chill running across the lake, I’d hide in the stuffy warmth of the prop room or fold myself under the trophy table in the Lodge so I could feel the edge of the fire.
Though we’re all hiding away from Squam now, Virtual SEL became an unexpected Councillor Hunt. Suddenly my computer screen filled with the faces of women I hadn’t seen in brown and white for months— or years. I found myself flipping through the pages of the zoom grid view the way I used to rush through a cabin — look up, look down, look under — to seek out hidden councillors. The reunion slideshow brought more memories to life and filled all the spaces where I would like to hide at camp with women in soccer cleats, prop room costumes, mountain trip tshirts, and dollar box shorts. So many women running and laughing and dancing and being in these spaces. These were the councillors I used to hunt for, and we were all searching for a little piece of the Lodge.
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