Thanks to Susan Clinkenbeard for her beautiful Password this year for Coronation!
Congratulations Queen Devon, and welcome everyone to another beautiful Coronation ceremony and Visiting Day. I’m Susan Clinkenbeard, more often known as Lady Clink, and I was here as a camper, CT and counselor for eleven of the best summers of my life. I am so happy to be back here with you to celebrate this special day and to participate in this wonderful ceremony for the Queen and her Council.
Queen Devon, I’m so proud of you, and Elizabeth, and Fiona, and Katie. You are upholding a tradition that many hold as special, and you are carrying it on for all of us.
For some of us, Visiting Day is like a mini-reunion. When seeing familiar faces at Fleur de Lis, we say ‘welcome back,’ and I am often tempted to say ‘welcome home’. ‘Welcome home’ is just as appropriate for the new faces; because I hope that Fleur de Lis feels like home to you too.
Perhaps that’s an odd notion to you. After all, overnight camp means you really leave home, and for some campers, it’s their first time being away from home this long. I’m sure that adjusting to new surroundings takes some getting used to. There are a lot of new names to learn, and new habits, about where to put your things, how to turn your buddy tag, and how to show up at the dining hall on time. Gradually you learn the camp ways, and these routines become familiar. And that is what home is – a familiar place. It’s good to know your way around, whether it’s with people or cabins or songs. “Bless this Camp” is based on the song “Bless this House,” sung by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, about how a house is really a home. We changed the words to familiar camp landmarks, people and traditions. And then the song fit perfectly.
Home is where you feel safe. Not just physically safe. It’s the kind of safe and secure feeling where you want to try something new. Maybe you’ve never tried archery before, or you have to gather your inner resources to really show up for lifeguarding, or to try out for a part in the play, or challenge yourself to not be shy, or to be a leader in your cabin or squad, or to write a password. And one reason that can feel safe at camp is because we’re all doing it together.
At camp you get to be yourself. At camp, it doesn’t matter where you came from or what you’re like at school. It just matters that you’re here, and that we’re all here together. And if being yourself means hanging out with your tent-mates at rest hour and coming up with a talent show act, or singing “Patiyah” with Lady Ange, or shaving your head onstage, or sitting in the middle of the softball field picking clover and telling stories, well that’s a perfectly fine way to spend a summer day.
They say that home is where the heart is. My hope for you this summer is that you will be able to put your heart into Fleur de Lis, and that Fleur de Lis will put its heart into you. You may find, to your surprise, that when the time comes to leave this place, that you will feel a new kind of homesickness, when you miss your friends and the sound of the trumpet calling you up the camp road and back down again during the course of your day. There’s no place like home. And there’s no place like Fleur de Lis.
The password for today is: HOME.