Huawni spirits were kindled the other night in Longview as tribe members gathered to recall memorable camp experiences and discuss heart-warming eagerness about the upcoming summer. The Pinkerton family graciously opened their doors to more than twenty guests. As we huddled on the living room floor to begin watching films, I reminisced starry nights shared with friends at sing song. I began to recollect what it means to be surrounded by my second family, the Huawni tribe, while sitting in circles on the fresh cut grass during cookout. That cozy living room in the Pinkerton house began to feel like a Sunday morning church pew at the little red church. It was as though each person in the room felt connected on a deeper level than just being at the same place at the same time. We were about to take a journey together. As the movies began to play on the screen, each of us took that left turn at the end of the camp road, passed the ever-present Camp Huawni sign. Once again, we knew what it meant to be ourselves and to be home. And in that moment, we shared something special. Whether six, sixteen, or sixty years old, each of us remembered the spirit, the love, and the magic of Huawni and how real that experience is every summer. Camp Huawni, although nestled in the Piney Woods 64 miles from where I was sitting, was surrounding me in Longview, Texas. Oh, those summer faces. And as I watched those around me, I saw the same flame inside each of them that I felt inside myself. A flame we all stoke throughout the year, like the summer sun that warms our summer hearts. The moment was perfect, and we shared it together.
But like all things must, it came to an end. Like pulling out of the camp road on closing day, back onto the pavement and dotted lines, we each said our goodbyes and returned to the real world. But I’ll maintain my own little flame. And I know that it won’t be long before I feel that way again. Opening Day is just around the bend.
Caleb Homer, Camp Huawni Director