Vespers

Many campers at 4H Camp Overlook spend their days running, playing, and participating in all sorts of fun and new activities. As 4H is lively during the day we have one very special activity that helps campers and counselors alike wind down the excitement of summer camp. Before meandering to each cabin at the end of the night the entire camp has a small vespers ceremony.  Most nights Vespers will consist of a short story and a song or two.  Examples of stories include ‘The Lorax’ and ‘The Giving Tree’. Other stories we tell come beautifully written from the minds of some of our past and present camp counselors.  As the campers and counselors gather around a small fire in perfect silence they sit attentively and listen as the activity of camp comes to a close for the night.  Some nights Vespers will be at a different location than the usual fire pit. For a more scenic and solemn experience we may take everyone down to the beach to sing across the lake and soak in the beautiful night view of Owls Head Mountain looming in the background.  The view is enough to silence even the most talkative campers.

At the end of the week we have our most memorable Vespers ceremony. This Vespers is called our Cover ceremony, it takes place in the middle of our recreation field and everyone is involved. On the last night after our camp dance everyone links hands and is given a candle, we then walk down to the recreation field and quietly form a clover shape.  During this particular vespers we tell the meaning of the Four H’s in a poem by former camp nurse Patty Francisco titled “The Clover”, and sing one of our oldest songs “Mhmm I want to Linger”.  Once we finish singing other voices on top of the hill begin singing Taps in low voices.  Usually toward the end of this ceremony we see the tinge of sadness in saying goodnight to camp for one more year. But as we say at camp “It’s just goodnight and not goodbye”.

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