Camp Song: Good Night Dear Deerwood in the Pines

I was lucky enough to spend four of my summers during my teenage years at Camp Deerwood on Squam Lake in New Hampshire. At this special place, campers are separated from their families for 7 fun-filled weeks of activities. One of the many songs that we learned over our summer is titled “Good Night Deerwood”. As a new camper, you are never given instructions as to how to sing the song. Instead, you are expected to pay close attention the first few times you hear it sung, and pick it up as a result. I couldn’t remember the full song when amassing this folklore collection, so I had to turn to my brother, Ben, for help. Ben served as a counselor at the camp for three years after I moved on, so he recalled the lyrics without any difficulty. See below:

Goodnight, dear Deerwood in the pines.

Our love, and songs for you will rise.

Within our hearts,

We hold you dear.

Sleep tonight,

Away from fear.

Good night,

Dear Deerwood in the pines.

Good night, good night,

Good night, Dear Deerwood in the pines.

Looking back, it was clearly a conscious decision by the camp coordinators to refrain from publishing this song. Sang only on serious occasions, “Good Night Deerwood” is a tradition that is meant to be passed on from camper to camper. There is something special about the intangibility of this transfer.