Every year at music theater camp we begin the week by writing our covenant. We talk about how we want to live together during the week. How we will treat each other, how we will support each other, how we will create theater together. We set boundaries for our week together. Once our list of commitments is complete, every youth and adult signs their name.
This process sets the stage for our week (pardon the pun). Creating our covenant is the most important ritual of the week. It connects us in relationship with God and each other. There are times, of course, when we have to remind ourselves what commitments we made on that first day. In those moments, our covenant becomes even more important. It is so easy to correct behavior or actions when you can look back and see what part of the covenant has been broken.
As a camp community, we also hold each other accountable, but we also offer forgiveness. Our covenant connects us to one another during the week, but it also connects us when we are apart. The campers, and staff, keep in contact throughout the year. They check in on each other, visit each other, and travel to see each other perform during the year. Several of our former campers are now staff members, because their connection to each other is so strong.
When we had to cancel last summer, there were several High School seniors that missed their last summer at camp. In a year when everything else was canceled (graduation, prom, etc) some were hopeful camp might provide some sense of normalcy. The loss of their camp connection was another devastating blow.
We know that camp will not be “normal” this year. But masks, tests, and distancing will not change the connection between us as a covenant community. No matter what camp looks like, we will still begin the week with a covenant and live in relationship with each other for the week. Our covenant ritual, like God’s rainbow, is a promise. It is a symbol of our promise to each other and to God.