ANNOUNCEMENTS: We hope you’ve been enjoying the photos our crew has been posting for you. Our “crew” generally consists of one very dedicated young woman who walks around with the camera all day catching kids doing their thing, and posts photos during breaks in the action. Sometimes she’s out of camp on a day or night off, and the rest of us pick up the slack. We know those photos mean a lot to you, so we do our best to make them good, plentiful, and spread around to all of the kids as much as possible.
That said, we are just not able to promise to have a certain number of photos of each camper in a given time period. It’s a matter of allocating our resources wisely, and we believe the best use of our resources is providing for the campers. That takes a lot of staff and a lot of time. If we divert those resources so we can track who has and has not had their picture taken on a given day, and then chase them down to take a photo of them, it may make things a little happier for some parents at home, but it would require more people and more time and that would detract from what we do for our campers. Your boys are our first and highest priority, and we are confident you support us in that. So we appreciate your patience with the photos, and we just ask you to please refrain from asking us to take specific photos of your camper.
We also want to remind you that a camera freezes time at one moment. So if you see a photo of your son and he doesn’t seem elated at that one moment, he’s still probably doing very well and having a lot of fun. The camera may have caught him as he’s just starting to smile or laugh. Please don’t read too much into a photo….unless your son is laughing hysterically!
We are already a well-oiled machine. At least in some respects. We can still take forever to find the keys to a van at times, but when it comes to adjusting to changing weather, we are on it! Today, we put our nimbleness on full display. We woke up to overcast skies and a threat of heavy dew. Fortunately, we stayed dry all morning and got our activities in. As a side note, I can tell you that it wasn’t too warm today…the high was only in the mid-60s, and that was in the afternoon. In spite of the chill in the air the boys never slowed down, not even when it came to the waterfront. Our sailors went sailing, our fishermen went fishing, and our waterskiers went skiing!! Are they nuts?! No!! They’re kids at camp, and they’re getting their fun in. It sure made me proud as their camp director, and it should make any parent out there proud too!
Back to the nimble story. After lunch, it got darker outside, and the dew came down around 2:30. At 3:00, when afternoon activities were supposed to start, we chose to delay to see what would happen. At 3:15 we decided to delay the delay and go into alternative programming, with mostly indoor stuff available. At 4:00 it stopped dewing, but the radar was highly inconclusive. Have to say…we’ve been a little disappointed with the radar so far this year. Anyway, finally at 4:15 we made the call to end the alternative programming, and go into slightly shortened versions of 3rd and 4th periods. That required the staff to scramble just a bit, close down and put away all the indoor stuff, and hustle out to their regular activity assignments. There was no grumbling or complaining…they just got right to it. And we managed to get in a good day of activities.
Tonight’s evening program was the Gold Rush. Without going into great detail, there’s kids, gold, bandits, leprechauns, stations, and that’s about it. It doesn’t really matter because within 30 minutes it had devolved into a commendable form of organized chaos. The game objectives were fairly well disregarded, but the good news is there were lots and lots of kids running around the fields, chasing each other, and laughing a lot. We like it when programs are executed as planned. But in those times when that is not being achieved, kids running around on green grass on a summer night is a reasonable substitute.
Yesterday started out so amazingly beautiful. No clouds in the sky, bright sunshine, and a crisp morning that turned into a nice afternoon. We had our typical day schedule with 2 activities and a free period in the morning, 2 more activities and another free period in the afternoon. In mid-afternoon the wind picked up and the clouds came in, but we never got wet. We were unsure if our campfire would be outdoors or in, so we planned for both. The wind died down, and we were able to have our first campfire of the summer in our beautiful campfire area. We sang some traditional campfire songs and helped the first-year kids learn the words. We had a great story about beards from one of our counselors…coincidentally well known for his “epic” beard. Some kids and counselors played guitar and ukulele and we sang along, and then our Associate Director, Scott Wolf, spoke to everyone about the role kindness can play in our lives as a community and as individuals. That description really didn’t do it justice. He spoke beautifully and in a way the kids could absorb readily.
Then came our Keylog ceremony, and we were just floored at how many kids wanted to say thanks and express friendship, and how well they articulated it. One of our younger kids thanked his counselors and the whole staff for the way they “inspire” him. He’s 10. It was nice, but more importantly, it is a gauge of how close we have already become. For some of us “old-timers,” an added bonus is when we hear kids thanking their counselors whom we can still picture from a few years back when they were the little guys up there thanking their counselors. It’s our own little circle of camp life, and we have to agree with the kid…it’s inspiring.
I took a few minutes towards the end of the campfire to talk with the kids about fear. Not to scare anyone (of course), but in part to recognize the vital role that fear plays in our very survival as a species. In that sense, fear can be an ally. At the same time, if fear is always in charge, then it can work very much against us. So we maybe can use fear like a tool…utilize it when we need it, but recognize when it is not useful to us. More succinctly, we can allow fear to inform our decisions so long as it does not dominate our decisions, and camp is a perfect place to test out that modus operandi. At the early stage a summer that can be full of adventure, that seemed like an appropriate message to share.
We know you can keep a secret, right? Okay, but I’m gonna type really small so it doesn’t get out….Tomorrow night is CASINO NIGHT! Your kids are gonna go crazy when they hear that. It’s a gynormous and really fun evening program…I’ll fill ya in on it later. We’ve got some other surprises up our sleeves for later this week, and this coming Wednesday is our first Cruiser Day. Phew!
– Sand River, Canada: 7 day lake & river trip
-Interstate Park, MN/WI – 4 days rock climbing
-Flambeau River, WI: 3 days river canoeing
I’d love to keep writing, but I have to be up and at ‘em early tomorrow morning. It’s our first Lazy Breakfast, and ya know…I wanna make a good impression. Several of our assistant directors and counselors and even a bunch of campers will cook breakfast for the whole camp. We make a mess, but ya gotta crack eggs to make omelets, right? And that’s just what we’ll do. We’ll write you again in a few days.
Mike & Leslie