Have You Experienced the “Bus Stop”?

Over the past 20 years, some of my favorite memories revolve around the bus stop. There are many facets to the bus stop!  Families arrive at The Madeleine School in Portland to check luggage, paperwork, meds and most important…the camper!

Similar stories are played out year after year as parents bring their child to the bus and in many cases, it will be the child’s first time away from home.  Not sure if it is harder on the parent or the child. The parent looks through the window at their child who is either looking forward to the fun ahead or crying their eyes out.  Might be Mom on the other side of the window crying her eyes out.  Either way, it is a touching moment.  If we can get through this part of the trip, the rest will be easy!

Next, we get to camp with three to six busses filled with kids.  At the camp, a well oiled machine is waiting to unload the luggage from the luggage truck, sort it and distribute it to the various units before the kids arrive at their cabin.

The campers are welcomed by another group as they step off the bus onto the Camp Howard campground. The children are welcomed with a slap of hands as they make their way, pillows in hand, to the gathering space.  The goal for the first hour of arrival is to get the campers situated into their cabin group, engage in ice breakers to get to know one another and make their way to their cabins to choose a bunk.

When the kids get back on the bus to return home, often there are more tears.  As they arrive at the Madeleine they are singing the Camp Howard Fight Song as they arrive at the end of the journey.  Happy to tell Mom and Dad about their experiences and bittersweet feelings about leaving the fun and independence they experienced at camp.

The bus stop is a very powerful place on both ends of the trip.  I can tell you it is true as I have been there for 20 years worth of experiences.

2007 arrival at camp copy

ABOVE: 2005 kids arrive at the Camp

2008 bus ride Home copy

ABOVE 2007 – Bus leaves Camp with a load of campers headed back home!

2008 bus stop

ABOVE: Sr. Krista visits with some campers getting ready to head to camp in 2008.  (Cheyenne Cunning is a camper – the one with the cougar award)

2009 Bus at the Mad copy

ABOVE: 2009 – Six busses load up as the luggage bus is packed for a trip to Camp Howard.

2010 Bus stop 1 copy

2010 ABOVE Campers load the bus for a trip to camp at the Madeleine

2010 Bus stop 2 copy

2010 ABOVE – Parents say goodby just before the busses roll out of the Madeleine for Camp.

2010 Bus stop 3 copy

2010 ABOVE – Campers express a variety of emotions as they gaze at their parents prior to leaving for camp.

2010 Bus stop 4 copy

2010 ABOVE – Signage points parents and campers in the direction they need to go at the bus stop

2010 Bus stop 5

2011 ABOVE Campers arrive at Camp Howard and are welcomed by staff

2010 Bus stop 6

2011 ABOVE Campers arrive at Camp Howard and are welcomed by staff

2010 Bus stop 7

2011 ABOVE Campers arrive at Camp Howard and are welcomed by staff

2010 Bus stop 8

2011 ABOVE Campers arrive at Camp Howard and are welcomed by staff

2010 Bus stop 112010 Bus stop 122010 Bus stop 132010 Bus stop 142010 Bus stop 152014 Busses arriving copy

ABOVE 2016 – busses arrive at the camp to take campers home

2016 Bus stop 2

ABOVE 2016 Parents wait for campers to arrive after a week of camp.


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