The CTYers Quest -- Stages of CTY Withdraw -- The CTY Dream -- CTY American Pie -- CTY Goodbye Poem -- Ode to Meat Market -- College Essay on CTY -- How to Get Over CTY Withdraw -- What The CTY Viewbook Doesn't Tell You To Pack -- Reflections from the Final Year -- Four Virtuous Social Beliefs Held by CTYers -- The Laws of CTY

The CTYers Quest

by Beth Kursh

-To laugh often and much
-To know that the only thing you have to fear is fear itself
-To know that money's only paper
-To look for magic (and find it)
-To grow to be righteous, courageous and true
-To do unto others what you'll have done unto you
-To stay Forever Young
-To know, once in your life, what's it's truly like to Blister In The Sun
-To say These Are The Days, and really mean it
-To shout, "Die, Die, Die, Die." as though you will never live like this again
-To live everyday like tomorrow is the End Of The World
-To really have a Birdhouse In Your Soul
-To go through a Time Warp every time you hear Cannon
-To climb a real Stairway To Heaven
-To Reach Out From the Inside
-To be in a Bizarre Love Triangle at least once in your life
-To know in your heart we are a little bit of all we meet.

The Stages of CTY Withdraw

by Neil and L

Stage One: Disorientation- The separation from CTY and friends throws you into a state of disorientation, still believing subconsciously and even consciously that you're not really gone, all your friends are just around the corner, and you can turn around to say goodbye one more time, even though it isn't true and they're all gone. This stage is almost never noticed until it is over.
Stage Two: Mental Review- The realization sets in that now you are really gone, and you begin reviewing the events of the past 24 hours in painstaking detail, especially up to the past few minutes. You begin thinking about what tiny thing you would have done differently. The mental photographs are still bright and clear. The review stage still has a touch of denial and unreality to it, an overhang from the disorientation stage.
Stage Three: Shock- The enormity of what has irrevocably happened strikes like lightning: you are gone. This is when the crying stage begins for most of us. This is when reality washes in like a blood tide and one can do nothing but watch helplessly. One begins seeing the same things over and over again, often going into reclusion or denial.
Stage Four: Treatment- This is a self-administered treatment. One begins attempting to deal with the shock by planning reunions, beginning letters to friends, and reestablishing the link of communication that made CTY so great. Usually, this assists into moving our brains into a peaceful neutrality. This stage can also involve recounting everything you did at CTY to all your local friends and letting everything you see or hear remind you of someone or something at CTY. This stage causes many of your friends to become greatly exasperated and a few my resort to violence. They will probably vow to never attend CTY.
Stage Five: Aftershock. The aftershock, an inevitable recurrence of stage three, washes away the hope one begins to feel when thinking about reestablishing communications. Aftershock often occurs in hours, sometimes days, after CTY or a reunion ends. The aftershocks fade after a while, but can be brought on by meeting a CTYer or by hearing a CTY song, a photo, anything, and often more violently than ever.
Stage Six: Moving On- CTY will never lose its importance, but after time, there is the realization that the CTY part of life is over, and though it is remembered with fondness, the memories do not cause the pain of loss. This stage is characterized by forming friendships with people you met at CTY that are not based on CTY, forming friendships with other people that are not based on CTY, listening to your cty tape because you like the music on it, and using that nifty glass you stole from the cafeteria to store your twig collection. Also known as the "Return as an RA Stage."

The CTY Dream

By Conor

Some say that things will never change. [But in the spirit of many I admire,] I disagree. I have a dream.
I have a dream that adolescents of the future will not be organized by their course or gender, but by the content of their character.
I have a dream that one day, we will be able to go to Turkey Hill freely and without supervision.
I have a dream that we will be able to twirl lanyards, hug trees, and walk regularly without shoes of any kind.
I have a dream that we will be able to wear bathrobes any day of the week with no fear of ridicule or reprimand.
I have a dream that we will regain the 3rd activity, and dorm time.
I have a dream that CTY students will be able to swear loudly, frequently, and strongly at any time or place.
I have a dream that we will be able to make out at regular intervals in each others halls!
I have a dream!
With apologies to Abie Philbin-Bowman... (who inspired me for this) and I wanted to say "shag" instead of "make out," but I didn't think anyone would get it, and I wasn't going to say 'shag' on stage, I wanted to return in '98.

CTY American Pie

by Zoot

About four years ago
I can still remember when my SAT scores made me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
that I'd go to that smart kids camp
And maybe I'd be happy for a while
But now the last dance makes me shiver
with ever hug that I deliver
bad news in my sig book
I can't take my last look
I can't remember if I cried
the last time I heard Miss American Pie
but something touched me deep inside..
The day- I left it, be-hind.

So bye,bye beloved CTY
I did toasts at passion fruit and the cannon makes me cry
I still quote Monty Python and read Hitchhikers Guide
But the last year is the year that you die
The nevermores are the ones that die

Oh, did you write the seven sins
do you have faith in Papa Jacks decisions,
when they're told at your hall meetings?
Now did you dress up for second sat?
Can the canon make you cry wherever you're at?
And can you teach me any Rocky Call-backs?
Well, I know you're in love with that guy
cause I saw you dancin' to "In Your Eyes"
Have you held someone F'rever Young,
Taken the 1500 or Ummed?
I was a lonely real world refugee
who had never been in a grass orgy
An' I never knew how depressed I would be
the day.. I left it all- be-hind.
And I'll be singin'

So bye,bye beloved CTY
I did toasts at passion fruit and the cannon makes me cry
I still quote Monty Python and read Hitchhikers Guide
But the last year is the year that you die
The nevermores are the ones that die

I sang eyelashes with my friends,
and asked them if this is the end,
but they just cried and turned away.
I went up to electric tree where I'd first joined L-L-R-T,
but RA's said, twas time to,
go to sleep.
And after the last the last song we did sing,
all the no-mores cried and the first-years dreamed,
but not a word was spoken,
our hearts had all been broken.
But I'll still remember that time,
when I was young,
the whole world was mine,
happiness and CTY came entwined..
Even after.. I've left it all behind.
And we'll be singin'..

So bye,bye beloved CTY
I did toasts at passion fruit and the cannon makes me cry
I still quote Monty Python and read Hitchhikers Guide
But the last year is the year that you die
The nevermores are the ones that die

CTY Goodbye Poem

by Kathleen(Katya) M. Miller

Life at CTY is something to never be forgotten.
You run, play ultimate frisbee, dance like a maniac.
But always, there is something missing.

You leave, for the last time, and realize,
that some part of your life is over,
some part of your heart is gone.

Even now, talking to those friends is not the same,
you reminisce, talk, and remember all the good times.
But something is not right.

The world turns, and life goes on, new friends appear.
You go for reunions, visit old sites, and be an Ra, year after year.
Then that is over, and you cry.

So goodbye to all who lived and loved,
goodbye to the campus, footbridge and barn,
goodbye to the friends, the RA's, TA's, LA's and teachers.

We miss you all, for now and forever.

Ode to Meat Market

by CAR Session 1-92 Talent Show MC

They call it "Meat Market"
Yet there is no Meat
There is no Market

These "RAs" - they say
"Get Out Of The Road!"
But I say Nay.

I like it here in the road.
I am looking for the Meat.

"Get out of the road!!"

That is not a truck bearing down on me -
It is a symbol

That symbol hurt.

NAY, I cannot.

For my spine is severed.

College Essay on CTY


My stomach flipped as “American Pie,” the last song of every CTY dance,began. This was my last dance. The ten-minute song went by in an instant as I danced with the friends that I had grown so close to. I looked around while the song ended and saw many of them crying. I was sad to leave, but for a moment, when everyone on the floor had their arms around each other for the traditional end to “American Pie,” I smiled.
A CTY dance is unlike any other that I have experienced. My first was in the summer before my freshman year. I came with mixed expectations, hoping to have fun but feeling awkward. I danced with my new friends, singing along and laughing as we moved clumsily on the dance floor. For the first time, I started to feel comfortable dancing, and my fear that I would do something stupid enough to draw attention to myself began to fade. My eyes lit up when I heard a familiar song: “Birdhouse in Your Soul.” I had never heard a song by They Might Be Giants at a dance, and I sensed that this was where I belonged, a place where I could share my most obscure tastes.
I left the dance floor to sit next to my room-mate, Aasta, in the stadium seating lining the room. For about half the night, I sat up there watching my friends and many complete strangers. I scanned the room and tried to figure out what made this dance different from any other. The floor was packed, leaving barely enough space to move, and everyone seemed absorbed in the music and the people around them. There was a feeling of unity, even though many of us did not know each other, because we were all CTYers.
Two years later, I walked into my last dance knowing exactly what to expect. After eleven other CTY dances, this place had become my second home. This time, I did not glance around nervously, looking for a few friends to cling to. I knew all of the traditions, all of the songs, and many of the people. The familiar music pounded into me, reminding me of all the dances I had been to, and of all the people who had danced with me in that room. I only left the dance floor once, to get a drink of water and a breath of fresh air. Instead of scanning the crowd, I was a part of it.
When I left the dance that night, I felt like something was being ripped from inside of me. For the first time, I had truly felt like I was part of a community; it hurt to leave it behind. I was sure that I would never feel so strongly about a place or a group of people again.
Looking back on my time at CTY, I know now that I did not leave everything behind. My experience taught me to enjoy the feeling of completely letting go that I felt on the dance floor and gave me the chance to get to know some incredible people.Not only did I enjoy my time there, but the sense of community that I felt made me realize how important all of my relationships are.

How to Get Over CTY Withdraw

Erin Margaret McNellis
Message to the LLRT list

As a '98 no-more who survived, I feel that I am a bit of an authority on this subject.Here's what happened to me: On my last day of CTY ever, I cried my eyes out until we were practically back in New Jersey. Then I put my canon tape in my walkman and listened to it in silence until it was finished, and only then did I begin to talk to my family. Over the first couple of days, I showed all my friends my newest CTY pictures and they sat patiently through my stories. After about a week of CTY-babble, they began to get impatient and forbid me from ever mentioning it in their presence, and to this day they roll their eyes whenever I say "This reminds me of that time at CTY when...". My friends are good people, though, and they managed to keep me quite busy. Between movies, foosball, midnight trips to the beach, and just hanging out I didn't really have time to dwell on CTY. That's not, of course, to say that I forgot about it-- PCTYS broke over me in waves. Most of the time I was able to stay above water, but every now and then a huge swell would take me by surprise and I'd find myself fighting for my life. It fades with time, though. I still love CTY, but I don't miss it. I had my five years, and now it's time to move on to other things.
>> I live in the worst shallowest place in the world. Birthplace of low self esteem, anorexia, and the perfectly dysfunctional family>>
It's called adolescence. Trust me, you're not any worse off than the rest of us. The reason your friends don't share your enthusiasm for CTY is because they've never been there, not because they're bad people or they don't really like you. You have to forgive them for getting bored when you babble about "nerd camp"-- it's not their fault that they've never tasted the passion fruit, cross-dressed, or danced in the rain.
IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE IN THIS MESSAGE, READ THIS PARAGRAPH: To get over Post-CTY-Syndrome, you have to stop enshrining the place. CTY kicks ass, but it's not the be-all and end-all of happiness. What you found at CTY was love and acceptance, but you can find that in other places if you stop living in your memories and *look for it*. Take what you learned at CTY --namely that it's possible for people to love you for who you are-- and go conquer the world. Make friends, break hearts, love, lose, weep, laugh, dream, be.*That* is how to get over your CTY-withdrawal.

What The CTY Viewbook Doesn't Tell You To Pack
... But What REAL CTY Vet's Do.

By Aggie
Message to the CTYspam list

--> gum
--> snacks
--> Cup-Of-Soups!!! I LOVE them. Some people also obsess with popcorn.
--> cough drops and tissues. If you don't need them, you will be worshiped by those who do.
--> Christmas lights - (I put them around my room. If you take blue, there's less of a chance they'll make you turn them off at night. white lights are too bright after lights out.)
--> glow in the dark stars - the kind you put on with that sticky-gum that you can take off later.
--> a couch pillow and a fabric marker - at the end of the session, since 96, I've given my RA a pretty couch pillow signed by everyone on the hall. You guys remember that with Dawn- and I deliver it at the last hall meeting. (this is tricky- remember there won't be a nice time to deliver the pillow on the last day. It has to be done the night before.)
--> a fan. Not a big one. But inevitably your AC either smells bad or breaks down, and it doubles as a drier for bathing suits, yada yada...
--> flip flops!! I don't know WHY they don't mention this on the list... you can wear 'em everywhere! In the rain, in the shower, ...
--> a deck of cards. If you don't bring cards to CTY, you're destined to eventually beg and grovel for them. Be prepared and have your own deck.
--> Duh, a flashlight. Screw the viewbook. You need one. You always need one. Even if it's a tiny key-chain light. You might even be sneaky and bring two, so if your RA collects all flashlights, you can "hand yours in". Oh, and Dawn? This is not something I did, cause I had a little baby one.

Reflections from the Final Year

By Andromeda Yelton (1994)
Reading the list in Thomas
I don't know the names.
I don't know these faces --
Three years of memory do not contain
The person to my left, my right,
Behind me. Three years of knowing, loving --
And the eyes around me bear no recognition,
No memory of waterfights
Or languid waiting on the grass
For sun to turn to stars,
Music danced in black and white or afternoons
Embraced, enwrought with laughter.
Three years of green
And growing things remain--
But that is canvas, and the overlay of words,
Songs, themes, humanity
Has changed.

There are fragments of a world
I knew once -- scattered in today.
I match them where I can.
They shatter, though, and every time diverge
From a here that used to be.
So few notice one more blurring
Of that old shared memory. So few can realize.
The names are new.
Old names are gone: they wild and disappear,
The symbols of a past, unknown, uneulogized.
The stories that they lived are secondhand now,
Legends with few acolytes
To keep their flame.
And even vestal virgins age.

I wonder
When I am gone
And time next rolls to here,
Will there be no one left to say
It was _different_ next year?

Four Virtuous Social Beliefs Held by CTYers

Name Withheald
1) Everyone is an individual, and individuals are a fine thing.
This extends beyond the intellectual game of "let's be weird!" Deliberate weirdness is an expression of creativity, an identity-building exercise, and an element of culture war. Someone else can write their dissertation on those aspects of it. :)
What I'm thinking of is the fact that being put in extended social contact with a moderately diverse group of people will give you a chance to see that they are real and human, that they are complex, and that they have points of view.
Knowing that it is possible to see people that way can be a model for the future: even if you won't be able to understand and connect to everyone you meet, you can more easily imagine that everyone is theoretically real. For the more spiritually-oriented, you can think of that as acknowledging the spark of the divine within everyone. For the cultural theorist, you can note that television, RPGs, etc., frequently create small groups of interacting individuals as a plot device -- it's an important part of civilization that a lot of CTYers don't get to experience firsthand until CTY.
That leads us to my next point.

2) Situations where everyone is a potential friend are really cool, and if it takes a shared context to achieve that, this is okay.
Even today at age 28, when I hear that someone is a CTYer I treat them differently. They always get the benefit of the doubt, which is a huge advantage. I can't do that with the world -- it would be exhausting and would not pay off.
For some CTYers the entire experience of making friends comes as a revelation -- they discover that, at least with other CTYers, it can be done with ease. They learn how to treat people as potential friends, and what it is like to reach out to a complete stranger who interests you. Even if the way they do that at CTY is incredibly bizarre, the emotional experience is something fundamentally human and important.
It is incredibly important to many CTYers.

3) Friendship can be related to spirituality in wonderful and positive ways.
In college I had to read two books that influenced the way I think about religion. Emile Durkheim, in _The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life_, described a religious experience as "collective effervescence". In his case, he was studying the rituals of aboriginal australians and the psychological effects of ritual music and dancing. The parallel with CTY dances came immediately to me -- for myself and most of my CTY friends, they were a religious experience.
The second was Victor Turner's _The Forest of Symbols_, which described religion as a thing that had myths and rituals. I forget exactly how he linked the two and defined them, but it certainly applies to CTY. It is possible to enact passionfruit or a dance in a grossly incorrect way (putting the wrong song at the end, for instance) -- they are rituals in every sense, at least for the most committed participants. Someone better-educated than me can discuss the anthropology here; I am mostly in over my head at this point, and will move on to point four.

4) It is possible to be truly happy.
I'm out on a limb here, given how many CTYers suffer from depression or otherwise have a terrible time of it. However, being genuinely happy once proves beyond argument that it _is_ possible.
On a personal note, I am sitting here posting to a list I joined because someone from a CTY class introduced me to it -- years after my last year of CTY. I am missing my two SOs. One of them I met indirectly through someone on this list who came to a CTY reunion, and another through a long chain of people beginning with that same person from a CTY class. Tomorrow I will go off to my job that I found through a friend of CTYers, at a company that has (unknowingly) employed quite a few CTYers. This is aside from being on mailing lists, organizing reunions, and other social phenomena.
My last session at CTY was eleven years ago.
Why are CTYers such complete cultists who cling to their CTY connections? (Aside from the fact that those connections are incredibly valuable, of course.) Why does a shared, intense emotional experience at a young age matter so much?
I propose that it is because we know that happiness exists, and CTY provided us with an intellectual and emotional blueprint for it. Some part of us is always trying to implement that blueprint. Put another way, we have created a very compelling dream for ourselves.

The Laws of CTY

by Andrew Ballard
Some tips for the new and reminders for the old
Get out and make friends. Nothing is more important than this for your social life at CTY. Do not spend quad time sitting in your room talking on the phone to your parents or reading a book the whole time.
Be ready to work. You do a total of 105 hours of work over the three weeks. That leaves 351 hours, but 105 is a lot. You usually have fun in the work, but you will stare at the clock for a lot of the last hour of each class period.
Those 105 hours is all the work you will do. Some courses require some studying, but in general you do not do any work outside of class. Some teachers in fact prohibit work outside of class, such as reading ahead.
Leave your embarrassment, shame, and shyness at home. Remember: YOU WILL NEVER SEE THESE PEOPLE AGAIN. Besides, they all know that and find it much funnier than most people would. Keep that in mind when deciding whether to do the silly or ridiculous.
Make friends. Despite what I just said, you may wish to see some of these people again. Get e-mail, AIM screen names, etc. in the last few days of the camp.
Try the Acting Improv activity. It entails a large group of people playing improv games, à la "Whose Line is it, Anyway?" It is immensely fun, packed with in-jokes, and borderline obscene. Though participation is expected, it is not required, and you can just watch the first few times.
Read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams before coming. It is the adventures of Arthur Dent, a human that escapes when the earth is destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. It is a cult favorite at CTY. This is culminated by Lancaster’s Thursday ritual of wearing a bathrobe and carrying a towel. Read the books for an explanation. And, DON’T PANIC!
Know your Monty Python quotes. You will eventually have quotes pitched at you and be expected to complete them. Watch the shows and the movies.
Go to the dances. They are immense amounts of fun with great songs by artists such as They Might Be Giants, REM, and the cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show alongside a few more current songs. If you like current music, be prepared to defend that.
Most of all, know that you are in a kind of place you may never be again. Take advantage of being surrounded by your intellectual equals and betters for once in your life. Have fun.