The “Camp Stack.” I’ve seen a lot of stacks and a lot of confident arms carrying them.
I speak of these.
This one is not owned by a 11 year old girl returning from a summer of friendships and fun, but a 41 year old woman who spends her days working and mothering.
However, I wear mine with the same inner confidence and pride.
I’ve never given up on the camp stack. I get its purpose. I did not outgrow these trinkets. I understand that this stack means more than bracelets made and given from new friends, but means more…it is a reminder of belonging. The camp stack is a reminder of an experience that is yours alone. The first time your identity lives outside your home and that YOU did something that is yours and only yours.
It reminds you not just of a time and place, but of your journey. One that is uniquely distinctive in its individuality.
I rock the camp stack proud.
I no longer refer to it as a camp stack, but as flair. The choices of memories to adorn our bodies with that serve as reminders that I was there or that I belong to something. That my unique journey shows up wherever I go and these memories stack.
It is not fine jewelry. It is probably not the best accessory to a black tie event, but yet, it goes with me wherever I go.
And like the 11 year old girls in the time of August, mine too has grown with great speed this summer.
So I record here to remember this stack. This moment in time as things will break, things will fall. The stack will change as my journey does.
It starts with a leather band. It has engraven in hebrew a prayer for health and healing. This was given to me by a woman in a kabbalah class that met me my darkest point and she took this off her own arm and placed it on mine. It serves a reminder of kindness. A reminder that humanity is here to support more than harm.
Next is a recycled glass bead necklace that you can buy at any surf shop as it proceeds go to clean the ocean. This one was given to me by Jacob. However, it reminds me of the ocean more than the giver. It reminds me of my real home at sea.
Third is a metal bracelet that says warrior. It is rare that I buy my own flair, but this one I saw in long beach island at a check out counter in a bowl. Pretty random buy. It was a week before Jacob’s diagnosis in 2018 and for some reason I bought it. Why I felt the need to buy a bracelet at that time that said “warrior” as the pacifist that I am I can’t recall. Maybe at that time I felt I was battling something, or maybe I was meant to buy it for the life ahead.
MYX bracelet. Steve printed this flair for me off our 3-D printer. It is the prototype of the bracelets our students will receive. Each with a different color bracelet representing the house they choose, the location of self discovery they selected and as they travel through our ecosystem they collect them. A physical reminder of a transformative experience that has no tangible physical artifact. How does one encapsulate finding your sense of self? Flair.
Next two are new. Only days old. Both are from my closest friend Jenna who recently surprised me by coming to Montauk with her two beautiful children. She has the girl that I never had and the two of them have a “girls” club represented by a bracelet. They have let me into their club. I wear the girls club bracelet with pride and next to it a small trinket with the words BFF. And what girl still doesn’t get giddy when a friend calls you their best friend. We are never too old to feel special by others acknowledging that they love us. And even at 41 I blush with the idea of being “best.”
The Brody band comes next. I’ve probably written about it before. Two anchors, rope and the Brody “B” designed by Steve.
The last is yes…a paper band from a party. Gross. I know. But this one is not coming off until I manifest/ accomplish something very specific so I wear it until then. But it does remind me of the importance of “experience” over materials. How life is not a collection of things, but moments.
So mom of girls rocking their camp stack and wishing for the moment that these “dirty” camp trinkets come off, remember that they are more than string and knots. They are moments. They are reminders of a journey.
Long live the camp stack!