Food brings people together. We gather around a table to share favorite recipes, reminisce on delicious dishes, or celebrate special moments. Mealtime is a big part of family life, and it’s a big part of life at camp too. We walk from archery down towards pottery, hoping to catch the scent of what might be for lunch (smells like taco’s in a bag!). We walk to rest time, debating the best desserts camp has to offer(S’more pockets? Ice Cream Sandwiches? Rice Krispie Treats??). And let’s be honest, nothing gets us out of bed faster than the prospect that, yes, today just might be the day when geometry breakfast comes back.
Meals are important, and at Timberlake we take them seriously. That’s why we eat family style, always. At camp we live like family, and we structure our meals to reflect that, sitting by cabin with our friends and counselors. At the start of each meal, we sing the blessing (put your hands on your hips!), and then a director says the blessing. Once we sit down, a cabin counselor gets the food and serves each camper his first plate individually, and then we tuck in together. Calls of “pass the chicken!” and “more rolls please” echo around the dining hall, and yes, if you do “kill” the last of the mashed potatoes, you have to go and “fill” it for the rest of the table. As we sit all together laughing and telling stories, or guessing what might happen next (Do you think it’s Pirate ball tonight??), we are growing closer as friends, as a community, as a family.
So yes, food is a big deal to us. And it goes beyond having a healthy bar option and salad bars to make sure we’re getting good healthy fuel for our day. That’s an important part, but we see a bigger purpose in how we eat: One that brings us all to the table, to a place where everyone belongs. We call it family style.