Just Like New
Nearly fourteen years ago I arrived at Warm Beach Camp after driving three days cross-country to be the Dinner Theatre cook for The Lights of Christmas. I didn’t know it then, but Warm Beach Camp would become my new home. My first two years at Camp I spent my holiday seasons cooking prime rib and slowly simmering French Onion soup. I even helped set up the ponds in front of Cedar Lodge and hauled out the gnome village.
After my time as a cook, I moved into the Volunteer Coordinator position, finding decorators, carefully balancing each night’s schedule of volunteers, and even stepping in as a courtesy cart driver for a few nights. For the past several years now, I have been the Development Director at Warm Beach Camp.
Every year, at the beginning of September, a light hanging crew is hired, the displays come out of storage, and the paint shop staff works feverishly to meet their deadlines. As opening night approaches, everyone prepares themselves for the part they will play in the magical wonder that is The Lights of Christmas. I have seen this dance year after year, sometimes from the kitchen, sometimes from a golf cart, sometimes walking home after a very long day.
One moment never gets old… Opening Night.
It can be easy to think, after fourteen years, that this year The Lights of Christmas will be just another season, but something happens inside me when I throw open the doors of Cedar Lodge on Opening Night. It’s the magnitude that gets me every time. My senses are overwhelmed. With every bulb illuminated, the sound of the train in the distance, and the smell of doughnuts in the air, my chest fills up with delight. It’s almost as if I’m seeing it for the first time. Inevitably, well bundled families walk toward me, children point off in the distance and squeal with delight, and I think to myself “I know how you feel kid.”
The Lights of Christmas isn’t just another holiday event. It’s a chance to be taken back to child-like wonder, a chance to connect with family, a chance to let us do the work while you remember what Christmas is all about. Join us for The Lights of Christmas. If I still love it after fourteen years, so will you.
-Jessica Wilson, Development Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center