CALL TO WORSHIP:
This is the day the Lord hath made.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
From whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord
Who made heaven and earth.
I need not shout my faith
Thrice eloquent the quiet trees
And green listening sod.
Hushed are the stars whose power is never spent.
The hills are mute, yet how they speak of God.
Good morning Camp Timanous. To borrow the words of the great Neil Young, it is the pleasure and honor of my life to be up here on this stage with these people today, and I mean that with complete sincerity. I have been writing this chapel for over three years now, and it is the culmination of consecutive years of growth and self-discovery, most of which was aided by Timanous. Overall, it is about emotion, and, to stray slightly from my main message to expound upon something one of the biggest mentors in my life, Evan Cummings, once touched on at this hallowed lectern, true masculinity is found in being vulnerable, in being open to emotion and feeling and allowing these to permeate your life and your relationships. Camp Timanous was one of the first places that taught me that, and for that and a thousand other reasons, I am eternally grateful to Timanous. I wouldn’t be half the older boy I am today without the unabating assistance and encouragement of the greater Timanous and Wohelo family, and that is something I hope each and every one of you seated today are able to experience as you grow older.
At its core, Timanous teaches appreciation: of those that came before you at camp, those you are blessed to spend your summers with, and the places and opportunities that come to shape your own individual experience, so I would be remiss to not mention some of those that helped me on my journey. I am eternally thankful to my parents, the steady rocks of my life, who allowed me the freedom to discover the person that I am. I am thankful for my sister, whose consistent and enduring role as life compatriot has supported me innumerably. I am thankful to my Crows cabin, the very best friends I have in life: Thomas Walker, Ryan Neafsey, Jeremy Cutler, Brendan Gray, Aidan Bloom, Tim LaPrade, George Walker, and honorary member Sean Chamberlain. Other relationships, like those with Liam Prior, Sam Sawyers, Jack Hamilton, Will Danforth, and Reid Temple, have shown me the true depths of friendships and provided me with more than can be quantified. I would also like to shout out Reid individually, as his noble and incredibly gracious action of letting me give this final chapel is one of the greatest acts of friendship I can remember. I am grateful to have become lifelong friends with those that I looked up as my counselors and still look up to to this day: Jimmy Poulin, Pat Hayes, Michael Beam, James Temple, Tommy Hauldren, Evan Cummings and Dan Prior (who were my Aides all the way back in Herons 2011), and countless others down the line. I have so much gratitude for those that have shown me the spirit of adventure in its truest form, and living a life of nonconformity. This sort of friendship that Timanous is able to foster is a gift of indescribable proportions. I would also like to take a moment to appreciate the nursing staff, the integral matriarchs of camp. Jess, Jen, and Ashley do not get the appreciation they deserve for the unbelievable amount of commitment and dedication they have bestowed upon this camp. I would like to appreciate the thankless work of Gabby in the office, who ensures that camp stays running while the rest of us get to goof off and have fun. I would also like to express appreciation for Bob and the entire kitchen staff, for camp would surely grind to a halt without them. The service Bob Simmons has given this camp has forever shaped its course, and that fact should not be forgotten.
I must stop here, as this would far exceed the normal length of a chapel if I were to list everyone I am appreciative for, so for the sake of brevity, I will move on, but, if you take away but one message from this rambling affair, let it be this: please, please make the time and effort to express your appreciation for the people and things that are important to you. Especially, thank those that often go unthanked. Expressing this appreciation will not only ensure those that you care about know just how important they are to you, but it has also been scientifically proven, as pointed out by the wise sage that is my mother, that expressing appreciation and gratuities on a daily basis makes you happier overall. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions and assists in building stronger relationships, so I ask you all to express your appreciations, freely and without restriction.
SONG: Magnolia - JJ Cale
I am here to advocate for eccentricity, for exuberance, and for exultation. The Three E’s, if you will. Seeing as I have a rather tumultuous grasp on the English language as a whole, I will define these words over the course of the ensuing sections for you all.
Let me begin with eccentricity. The quality of eccentricity is defined as unconventional and slightly strange, and, when referring to a thing, not placed centrally or not having an axis centrally located. Just a bit left of center, if you will. To quote the legendary David Bowie, “I find only freedom in the realm of eccentricity.” Delving into eccentricity is truly liberating to me, as it allows an individual the ability to break free from the monotonous and mundane norms of what a person ought to be and what they should be striving for in life. To borrow again from a person far wiser than myself, this time the philosopher John Stuart Mill, “The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of time.” That Mill compares eccentricity so closely to individuality is essential. The quality of eccentricity can often be interpreted, and - for the sake of this chapel - will be interpreted as, living off the route of typical success. I think eccentric people are especially adept at finding their own path through life, one that strays from the traditional approach. Society teaches you to follow a regimented, predetermined direction that takes you from one institution to another in the most rapid procession possible, all with the goal of achieving, in my mind, an outdated/antiquated view of “success,” i.e, getting the best grades possible, progressing to the highest level of classes, and stacking your plate with internships and other obligations in the hopes it will lead you to typical professional success. There is plenty of merit in that route, of course, but it has never really appealed to me. Atypical success, that of fulfillment of mind, body, and spirit on a regular basis, is what I believe people should strive for more often. I do not think the goal should be to become the best at what you do; instead, be the only one that does what you do. To finish this section with words from the prophet of the sound, Jerry Garcia, “All I know is, if you listen to society, you’ll never get anywhere!”
We now turn to exuberance, which is defined as the quality of being full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness. Exuberance is a critical necessity, for life is rendered boring without it. Intense emotion being drawn out by simplistic, everyday things, like the twilight glow over Main Dock, the way the trees wave about during gusts of wind, or the glorious canopy of stars residing above us every night, only serves to make life more fun. And what is life about if having fun isn’t a central goal? To alter a line from the most significant lyricist in the history of music, Robert Hunter, “without fun in the dream it’ll never come true.” Simple pleasure, and the capacity at which you are able to access it, are two of the most important things I’ve tried to inject into my life, and it is directly because of Timanous that I have learned this. Those that can find something wonderful and exciting in the everyday lead brilliant and animated lives, so cherish each day, and the trials and tribulations that come along with them, for almost all forms of adversity you will face are alleviated by the expression of joy at what is around you and what you are doing. After all, those that savor the mundane will never lead a boring day in their lives.
SONG: Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show
Finally, we move to exultation, which is defined as triumphant elation or jubilation; rejoicing. The winning C-Flag feeling, the victoriously exhilarating barnburner of a Twilight League win feeling, the achieving a long sought-after award feeling, etcetera. Yet, I do not think the spirit of exuberance lies solely within tangible, measurable accomplishments. Certainly, I know the joy of exuberance in a setting like a sports field, but I think the merit of exuberance lies more strongly outside of traditional settings. Consider the last word of the definition: rejoicing. Anyone can rejoice on a daily basis, without being prompted by specific achievements or feats. Rejoicing can occur regularly - rejoice at the site of corndogs for dinner, rejoice at the prospect of having met a new friend, rejoice at the tranquil glory of a post-dinner field sesh and how the grass seems to envelop you in a comforting hug - even just the gradual fulfillment of a great day, a day truly well lived. Exult in your accomplishments, however small or insignificant society might deem them - they are yours and no one else’s, and life is nothing without being able to indulge in improvement and progress. Never let anyone belittle your dreams or your goals, for listening to such detractors will only instill roadblocks in your head that need not exist. Share exultation in others' accomplishments as heartily as you do your own, as well; you might quickly realize that helping or supporting someone else towards a goal of their own can be just as rewarding as reaching your own. The shared camaraderie of working together towards an objective, be it an award, individual personal attribute, or the establishment of a relationship, is something that can brighten up even the darkest of days.
It should be mentioned that Timanous is already overflowing with the Three E’s I discussed, but any healthy community can always use a little more eccentricity, a little more exuberance, and a little more exultation. Take these lofty qualities and implement them into your lives, both at Timanous and points unknown, in order to spread the virtue of living a little left of center, a life of celebration, of excitement, and of joy. It will only serve to benefit you in your own individual pursuits.
To bring this chapel to a close, I would like to remind you that Timanous is an eternal connection. While the physical summer might be winding to its fateful close, the relationships that have been made and the lessons taught here persist throughout the entire calendar year. When you find yourself doodling a Timanous T on your math homework during class, think of the virtues Timanous preaches, and what it means to be a Timanous individual. Timanous bestows upon its members a unique responsibility, to take the spirit of this place and bring it to every corner of the world that you interact with. That responsibility should never feel like a burden though; rather, embrace this task with vigor, with eccentricity, with exuberance, and with exultation. To those pondering whether or not to come back to Timanous next summer, be it in green or in gray, I will say that following in the lineage of the T is the greatest gift you will ever receive. As a result of this summer, Timanous has left an indelible mark on everyone in attendance today; do not forget about its impact, no matter how far you may stray from 85 Plains Road, because Timanous will remain with you in perpetuity.
For my final song, I would like to have everyone sing Ripple, by the Grateful Dead, which has special significance to me and the relationship with my father, as both of our high school yearbook quotes sample from it. The quote is as follows: “there is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night, and if you go, no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone.”
SONG: Ripple - Grateful Dead
SALUTATION OF THE DAWN:
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth; the glory of action; the splendor of beauty,
For yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn.
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