By Kate Robertson, National Alumni Board
No need to remember when
‘Cause everything old is new again…
I love this lyric. I remember hearing this Peter Allen classic, “Everything Old is New Again,” in the 1979 film version of Bob Fosse’s musical, “All that Jazz” (which, by the way, also includes A/U Ranches alumna Deborah Geffner Holcomb in the role of Victoria). At the time, I couldn’t even begin to grasp the full power of those words. Today, they mean so much.
Especially after our recent 60th Reunion gathering – and even more so during the pre-event Mini-Camp week – it brought that promise alive for me.
We didn’t need to sit around the fire and tell stories of past adventures, accomplishments and healings – although there were wonderful times when that happened quite naturally. But from the very first day, alums who hadn’t been on a horse in 30 years now had new stories to tell about fears overcome. Former mountaineers were practically on fire with brand-new tales of blisters healed and weather conditions dissolved. One “once upon a time and long ago” counselor hadn’t done a trust fall since he’d last left camp, seeing the gate posts recede in his rearview mirror. His tears of joy following a masterful trip through the new ropes course was a highlight of the weekend for those who’d cheered him on.
For me, it was – of course – all about healing. An old injury yielded to a new willingness to grow in grace. Relationships were strengthened in a united effort to welcome and serve returning friends and former colleagues. I remember one particular moment when it occurred to me that I was being given the opportunity to help a former counselor find his way in the dark towards a camp location that was new to him. Serving ice cream to the camp director who’d once hired me, and being able to say thank you – now, that was a gift.
So what does all this have to do with entering a new year?
Everything. The reunion was just one event. But the opportunity to reunite with old traditions, landscapes, activities and friends through the broad spectrum of Adventure Unlimited’s programs and to “become new” exists throughout the year. From local DiscoveryBound Outreach events to Family Camp and Christmas Camp, everything old becomes new again. Renewing our commitment to what once changed our lives – by sending a child to camp or helping a fellow church member attend Bible Study – brings a childlike sense of wonder to how we view ourselves and our relationship to others, to camp and to the world. Signing up for this year’s Mini-Camp in August could be just the camp experience you’ve been waiting to repeat – or do for the first time!
As Mary Baker Eddy says in her article, “Voices of Spring,” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 330):
It is good to talk with our past hours, and learn what report they bear, and how they might have reported more spiritual growth. With each returning year, higher joys, holier aims, a purer peace and diviner energy, should freshen the fragrance of being.
When we do this, the past is no longer in the past. We have brought it into our present conscious awareness. Now, in this moment of our living, it becomes a matter of how we are thinking about our “past hours.” Are we remembering them with a heart full of gratitude? Are we using them to remind us of the innocence, courage and hope that we discovered in those earlier hours? Are we offering ourselves the opportunity to build on that growth and deepen the spiritual trust that was so essential to being an Adventure Unlimited camper, counselor, parent or participant?
Allen closes his song with this beautiful lyric. I will let it speak for itself.
And don’t throw the past away
You might need it some other rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again.
If you haven’t seen them, check out photos from the 60th Reunion here.