We’re Off and Running!

Hi Folks,

ANNOUNCEMENTS: This is the section of the Directors’ Journals where we will alert you to various things you should be aware of.  If it’s something really important, like camper travel plans, we’ll also email you. 

For today, we have just one announcement.  Tomorrow we’ll email you with your son’s cabin number.  From that point forward, we’d appreciate it if you would put his cabin number in the address when you mail letters to your kids.  Thanks!

It has been an awesome day around here.  I’ll fill you in on that in just a moment.  The thing is, we don’t arrive at a day like this just by happenstance.  It requires a lot from everyone, and the word that is bouncing around my head is “sacrifice.”  If you think about it, everyone involved with camp makes sacrifices, including the campers.  They may have other opportunities over the summer, but they’ve chosen to spend 4 or 8 weeks up here with us.  That makes us happy!

Parents, you know it…..you’ve sacrificed for this too.  Certainly we know camp is not inexpensive, and you sacrifice a lot to make this golden opportunity available to your boys.  Having your boys away is also a sacrifice, though there’s nothing wrong with admitting it can also be nice Smile.  It’s a sacrifice, and as parents ourselves, we understand what that sacrifice means to you, and it motivates us to work hard to deliver our very best camp experience to your kids…and you.  We do not take for granted the trust you place in us.

And – of course – our staff sacrifices for the campers.   Many of them could be elsewhere this summer…working other jobs, maybe earning more money, adding internship experiences to their resumes, etc.  And yet, they’re here because they want to work and play with your boys.  For the past 8 – 24 days, the young (and a few not-as-young) adults on our staff have been working incredibly hard.  They’ve participated in nearly 30 training sessions designed to help them connect with your kids, guide them and care for them over the coming weeks.  They’ve worked with their activity staff colleagues getting everyone on the same page for teaching great activities, and honing their skills.  And they’ve put in hours of work getting the camp facilities cleaned up and prepared.  The Wisconsin winter is not easy on the grounds, so there’s a lot to do.  And with the record-setting rainfall the state has experienced since April, much of that effort focused on the waterfront.  Our lake is up, UP, UP!  So, there were many, many man hours required to raise up the boardwalk, reconfigure the swim area, and adapt to the higher lake.  In spite of the work it created for us, I have to admit…Lake Towanda has never been more beautiful!

So today has arrived, we’ve all contributed, and now the fun begins.  Other words have dominated our preparations….health and safety; communication and cooperation; inclusivity and engagement; awareness and observation; growth mindset and resilience; and right up there at the top, fun and friendship.  I do wish you could have been here to see the greeting your boys received from this fired up camp staff!  If you could wrap up all of those words into action, you’d see what we saw that very moment the buses rolled in.  The staff is SO ready, and your boys are in for the best summer yet!

The kids began rolling in right around 4:15.  An incredibly pumped up staff greeted them, and there were so many smiles as the kids ran off the buses.  We had a chance to introduce them to their cabin mates and counselors, and the kids spent a little time unpacking and taking a look around.  The kids who flew in had the luxury of waiting to unpack, since their bags arrived just after dinner.  And what a dinner it was!  Pasta with homemade sauce (a long-standing camp tradition), some garlic bread, green beans, salad, and homemade brownies for dessert.  Not bad!  After dinner we had time for more unpacking, and then our staff put on a fun Skit Night.  It was a chance for the kids to see their counselors being funny and goofy and enjoying themselves, but it was also a chance to introduce the staff to the kids in an entertaining way. 

Tomorrow we’ll have some early-risers, and we’re ready for that.  We’ve got some “red tape” procedures we need to do with the kids, such as a baseline check with the nurses, assessing their swimming safety, etc., and if all goes as planned, we’ll sign up for our first series of activities tomorrow afternoon.  Tomorrow night we plan to be active and outside playing in a bunch of different games.  Wednesday morning will be Picture Day, and then after lunch, we’ll get started with our normal activity schedule!  There’s a lot to do between now and then, but it’ll go by quickly.  Once we have completed our activity sign-up, you’ll be able to see your son’s activity schedule on your Keylog page. 

Our trips program will kick into gear on Thursday, with 3 trips departing.  We’ll list those for you here as they are coming up.  And, if/when your son signs up for trips, they will be visible to you as well on your Keylog page. 

Your boys all wrote you a quick postcard tonight at dinner.  They’ll go into the mail tomorrow.  We asked them to just let you know they arrived and how they’re feeling.  Some kids are just starting to adjust to camp life, and others have jumped in with both feet.  Truly, both are completely, 100% normal.  If you get a sad letter or two from your son, please know that makes total sense (it’s good to have something great at home to miss, right?).  We are very good at helping campers adjust to camp, and not only “survive” the summer, but to thrive.  And everyone progresses at their own pace.

Okay, off to bed for us.  Camp is quiet, which is a great sign.  We’re sure the kids are tired from a day of travel and an afternoon/evening of excitement.  Thanks again for sending them to us.  We’ll write you again later in the week.

Benches up,

Mike & Leslie