48 Hours of Nostalgia: A Final Becket Trip
By 12th grader Nadia
Every September, a little over sixty sluggish students arrive with (way too much) luggage for a one-night trip in the Berkshires at Becket, a YMCA summer camp. This was my sixth year getting on the bus just before 6:00am and driving out with my eyes half closed, but ready to engage in high ropes courses, group bonding activities, and of course, the famous annual s’more fest.
Headed to the bus as a senior this year, I realized that each moment at Becket would be my last, and I wanted to be present in each of those moments. After we were assigned our activity groups – with whom we would spend the next two days gallivanting around the camp – I realized I was one of the oldest in my group. This year, I knew everyone in my group already, but I recalled my very first Becket trip in seventh grade, when everyone else seemed scary and ten times older than me.
Our group began by playing a name game and coming up with a group cheer. Later that day, we took on collaborative activities which involved older kids carrying younger kids across an imaginary acid river. During these games, I realized that I was an experienced Meridianite, and I could be a leader for younger kids. I realized that Becket is one of many Meridian traditions, but that it is unique in how it serves as a major marker for getting older and allowing us to play different roles in this community.
One of the ways in which older students can play a leadership role is by going through a training to guide some of the activities at Becket. This year, our group leaders were Izzy and Yonatan. One of the activities they organized was to have partners lead each other blindfolded through a trail on the campground. Through this activity, I had a conversation about backpacking with a new sixth grader at Meridian. Between commands to turn left, or warnings about a tree, I discussed which kinds of backpacking trails we each liked. I remembered back to my first year at Meridian, when I had a conversation with a senior who said how they couldn’t imagine not coming back to Becket the following year. At the time, I couldn’t imagine ever feeling that kind of preemptive nostalgia. This year, I experienced it in almost every moment.
Later that first day at Becket, our teachers Nathan and Sarah took the seniors down to the water to take senior Becket photos. As we posed for the pictures, it hit us all that this was our last year at Meridian. We spent that night reminiscing about our past Becket trips and when we’d all met each other and become close friends. Early in the morning, some of the seniors woke up to watch the sunrise. On most Becket mornings, Josh, our Head of School, goes around to the cabins and sings to wake everyone up. This year, however, the seniors went and serenaded Josh instead. This last year at Becket held 48 hours of nostalgia and leadership for the graduating class of 2020.