A New Way to See the Darkness

By Cabin Leader Allison Nash

“To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.” — Wendell Berry 

For the past 7 weeks I have worked as a Cabin Leader at Dunes Learning Center. Although this is my first summer here, I am by no means new to camp. I grew up attending Camp Bedford in Southern Indiana. I started as a camper in 2007 and as a counselor in 2016. This is my first summer away from Bedford. When I first got here, I thought that without the camp traditions I had grown up loving, camp wouldn’t be the same. In some ways, I felt confident because I know how camp works. But, in a lot of other ways, I was nervous because I didn’t know how this camp worked. I was nervous to be going into a new place without a light to guide me. 

Kids hiking at dusk

And I was right. Camp at Dunes Learning Center is different. But I have grown to love our traditions here! One of my favorite new traditions is the Night Hike. Every week, I get to lead 14 young campers through the wilderness, in the dark. We do different activities, talk about nocturnal animals and, for a short time, we allow the campers to walk by themselves during what we call a “Solo Hike.” Sometimes, they’re terrified. Sometimes, they’re amazed. But every week, they show me a new way to see in the darkness. A few weeks ago, a young girl was horrified. Before heading out by herself, she whispered, “Is this allowed?” but, she did it. When we rejoined as a group, I asked her how she was feeling. She told me, “At first I was scared. But then I noticed the fireflies. And it’s like there was light after all.” 

cabins at sunset

Sometimes, at camp, we are pushed out of our comfort zones. Sometimes things are different and scary. But, by being okay with the challenges, we can see the world in a whole new light.


Allison Nash

Cabin Leader