There’s the budding realization of the existence of true friendship that occurred late one night on the steps of the CIT cabin where I first shared my true self. Aware of my true self only just then as it came spilling out- somehow fully realized only in the act of sharing.
There’s the feeling deep in your gut that you are needed by another human being that brought tears to my eyes when I walked into my first cabin as a counselor to find 5 teenagers, asleep in a tangle of arms and legs too large for their bodies…all on my single camp cot, caught in the act of waiting for me to come home so I could hug them goodnight.
There’s the knowing that I had found “the one” and that the only thing left to do was to bring him to camp so that “place apart” would be not mine, but ours.
There’s the day of the first ultrasound, when the knowledge was ours alone- when the life trajectory seemed to spill out into unknown years…baby names, playgroups, school, graduations. What year can he start camp?
But above all that, there’s the sense of stewardship that is so ingrained in me that it provides the bedrock for all the important choices in my life: how I create a partnership with my husband, how I raise my children, my career choices that keep drawing me back into educating teenagers, and the time I reserve each summer to return to the shores where this sense of stewardship taught me how to be an adult.
Uncle Al gave so much to my family over the years- but the greatest gift to me was the understanding of stewardship. “The Uncle” showed through his actions how to be a steward not just to the land and the camp, but most importantly…to the people. He showed us all how to honor each other, truly respect the differences that make us all unique characters (and admit it, we have a lot of character), and value the contributions that each person brings to the greater Winona family.
I am so proud that my sons are Winona Boys. I watch with joy from the sidelines as Spencer and Laura take the helm, leading this incredible group of people, mentoring the next generation of men. I look forward to the connections and sense of stewardship that my children learn as they realize the value of this special place and amazing family.
Brix Brax and KiYi, Katie Brown