Hunting for SEL
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.
8/15/2022 03:53:14 am
10/7/2022 08:36:25 am
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10/12/2022 12:00:39 pm
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