«Back to all NGI Letters

NGI Recipient: Sarah Bustin

Session Attended: Folk Arts Center of New England - FAC Folk Days (2018)

All through the ride in the minivan to Pinewoods, I was bursting with excitement and joy. When we finally drove past the welcome sign and saw the smiling faces ready to greet us, I felt as though I had just arrived home. I am grateful to be part of the wonderful community that is Pinewoods. All I have to do is start singing one of my favorite songs, and within seconds three to five of my friends will have joined in harmony with me. Pinewoods is a place where I can spend time with my beloved folk dance family, challenge myself, and have a blast dancing, singing, playing, and creating together.

Every year, an adventurous group of campers swims across Long Pond. Last year, I was nervous and I skipped it, but this time I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, I was able to swim both ways. On the return swim, I stopped in the middle of the pond and floated on my back for a moment. I observed how vast the sky was in all directions, and how peaceful it was there. After I reached the dock again, I felt invincible. I also tried my hand at challenges such as programming an evening dance, teaching a singing class for children, and jamming with experienced instrumentalists. Because Pinewoods is a safe and supportive place, I felt comfortable pushing my limits and stepping outside my comfort zone.

By the time the week was over, I could hardly bear to pack up the cabin. There were so many magical moments that I was reluctant to leave behind. Just listening to the gorgeous music from the Pinewoods Band and from Sasi Ardiak gave me a rush. One night, as I walked the path to C#, I saw fireflies dancing all around me. When I got home, I had so many Pinewoods stories to tell my parents that it took me days to get through them all. Yet, all those stories could not truly capture what Pinewoods means to me. To fully experience my home away from home, you have to go spend a week there in summer.