Every once in a while I hear about something really special happening at Surprise Lake Camp. Last night I was hanging out with Emily, the Highlands supervisor, while she was cleaning her bunk. She told me about a wonderful event that happenend in Highlands this week that I felt instantly compelled to share with the SLC family. Mr. and Mrs. Bear have renewed their marriage vows!!!
The oldest group in Highlands spent a full week planning a vow renewal for Mr. & Mrs. Bear. They build a chuppah out of sticks and a towel, they researched Hebrew wedding prayers, and they invited a few select guests (human and stuffed) – they were really looking for an intimate ceremony. Mr. & Mrs. Bear’s children spoke a few words of congratulations, and a Kiddush was held after the ceremony consisting of Skittles and Starburst.
The really special thing about this event wasn’t the lifelong love promised to one another by these fine stuffed animals. The really special thing about this event was the young ladies who planned it. There was no disdain for the childishness of loving your teddy bear. There was no self-consciousness at playing with toys.
There are not a lot of times in a 12 year old girl’s life when she publically and communally dons the trappings of childhood instead of rushing to grow up. The nuptials of Mr. & Mrs. Bear mark one of those incredibly special camp moments when the innocence of youth is allowed prevail in an idyllic world away from the pressures of a society that impels kids today to take on more responsibilities and to make more mature decisions than those kids of the generations before. A teddy bear wedding can really only happen at camp.
The entire SLC community conveys best wishes and much mazel to Mr. and Mrs. Bear as they begin the next phase of their lives together. May the coming years be full of love, laughter, and play, and may their humans, as well as the humans belonging to all the stuffed guests, protect and be protected by their friends for years to come.
A special note to the Highlands girls who took part in the ceremony, and to all of the children who might get the chance to read this – take your teddy bears to Teenside. Take your teddy bears to college. Take them with you wherever you go. They are a piece of you that you’ll want reminding of before too long. I’m sure Emily’s Sally Bear and my Mutzy (who are both in camp this summer) would agree whole heartedly.