It was day two of Western one 1998 when our blue lakes bus broke down on a dusty Iowa road as we attempted to make our way out west for what was sure to be the best summer of our lives. As we waited in a park for the bus to return that afternoon the sky suddenly became dark and eerie. We gathered some belongings and made our way out of the park looking for shelter to protect us from the imminent storm fast approaching. In a matter of minutes our orderly exit of the park turned into a run for our lives as the sky opened and a tornado began spinning in the distance. I remember the wind made it a difficult run to a random house outside the park which we took shelter in. As someone who grew up with a terrible fear of storms, I remember feeling oldy calm and reassured that we were going to make it there and we would all be fine. The experience of running from a tornado on day two of our trip bonded us together immediately for what should go down in history as the best western trip that tamarack camps has ever sent out.
On a Saturday evening in March 2021, twenty three years later we all gathered together for zoom call reunion and we listened to the story from the perspective of our counselors Danny Harold, Lee Lazar and Amy Malowitz Greenspan. The story of the tornado is a favorite of our children. We were all interested to hear how our counselors managed to stay so calm in the face of real danger and learn what was going on behind the scenes of the special day.
This story is just one of so many incredible memories from the trip that I had actually forgotten about until this reunion. Sitting on zoom laughing, sharing photos, reminiscing together for over two hours solidified what I already knew about this experience. Our western trip was a life changer that influenced and shaped the lives of the participants and staff members that were on it. We roughed it hardcore for 5 weeks, set up out tents in the dark, showered 2 time, summited mountains, hiked in the rain, and so much more. Lifelong friendships were made, and the shared experience will bond us together forever.
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