Sheila Brady – Her Summer Story “I found my tribe”

3 08 2012

I started coming to Idyllwild Family Camp 4 years ago.  My friends, Will and Patty Stein, had been coming for 3 years or so and told me that I would really enjoy it and that I would meet “my tribe” here.  I decided to come with my niece and nephew, who were 13 and 14 at the time. We all had a great time.  I liked the fact that I really didn’t have to worry about them.  They could be independent, but still we’d be in touch enough so that I would know what they were up to.  There was a limit to how much trouble they could get into. They thought it was “really welcoming – everyone is nice to everyone – people were aggressively welcoming, actively inclusive.  It was all really fun.”  And as they were super into drama, there were a lot of older kids that they would think of as role models, who they followed around like puppy dogs.  They also really got into all aspects of the art, not the least in making props for their talent show act!

The next year I invited my friends, Chris and Gifford, to come with their 5-year old, my godson.  They got a look at the place and liked it, and felt good about Lucas’s experience and safety here.  The year after that, I invited my sister Robin and her boy, who was 6, Malachi. I also brought Lucas, again, by himself. I would have brought my niece and nephew, but they had summer-school conflicts.

This year my sister’s husband, Jerry was added to the group, along with Robin (his wife), Malachi (their son), Lucas (my godson), and Jenna and Tyler (my niece and nephew).  What a troop, eh?

It is not only a safe environment, and a beautiful one, it is a fun and forgiving one.  The kids really can shoot off on their own and do what they please.  There are always a number of people floating around who are happy to help anyone realize their vision, be it in bear-making or in ceramics or even in Appreciating Shakespeare.  It is very nice having the “assigned” helpers to just “ombuds” any question that comes up. The environment is quite comfortable, as well.  I do have friends who would simply not get the charm of sleeping in a communal room with an 8-year old and two teenagers on metal bunk beds, but I guess that is part of the “FInding your tribe” aspect of this place.  Finally, the people here are cool. The staff and teachers are fascinating, knowledgable, and friendly, and the other people who have come to be a part of this are also eager to do art, to hang out, to enjoy this rare coming together of like-minded souls. I suppose we could all go to Hawaii or somewhere slightly more elegant, but I am not sure that I would find my tribe there.  I think I will go to Idyllwild, instead, thanks.






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