Throughout the course of the summer, Camp Takajo had a number of alumni and counselors return for visits. Inevitably, they make their way to our Lodge, which has picture boards dating back since opening day in 1947. Hanging on the walls are banners from tournaments we have participated in dating back as far as the early 1960s. When I watch these men look at pictures from their time in camp, I am in awe at how many memories are brought back from just a single image. These men were able to name the other individuals in the photo with them; and, in many cases, exactly what was taking place at the time.
Camp holds a special place in our alumni’s hearts, and witnessing these individuals reminisce gives me an appreciation for how great an impact this place has on boys who choose to spend their summers here.
Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “Youth is wasted on the young.”
I think about this quote often, and I strive to make sure that our boys have a great appreciation for the gift they have been provided. Watching our alumni as they reminisce highlights the importance of making the most out of each and every day we have here in camp.
Today during the Senior Olympic track meet, the oldest campers were competing in the cross-country run. Leading the pack was their Senior Group Leader Paddy Mohan, in his golf cart.
As Paddy drove by me, he yelled, “It was just a few years ago that I used to lead this race on foot!” As Paddy’s ability to participate has been partially diluted, he remains committed to creating this experience for those who still can take on the challenge. Our Olympic competition is in full swing with all three age groups competing in every land sport that we offer, as well as track and field and swim competitions.
The boys were given green and grey bandanas representing the two teams. While our three age groups compete in separate competitions, the bandana is a symbol for each team’s unity throughout all of the age groups. The Olympic competition is, in essence, the embodiment of all of our Arch Ideals. As we reach the culmination of the summer camp season, we use this athletic competition as a means to promote all of the values taught throughout your sons’ time here at camp.
A great game requires awesome sportsmanship. In order to be a committed member of a team, they must pledge their loyalty. When one is striving to do their best and they feel they cannot give anymore, they must depend on their self-reliance and courage to help them persevere. When the competition comes to a close and the games become a distant memory, we are remembered for how we acted on the field, the friendliness we showed our competitors and bunkmates, and the tolerance we had for our teammates if they came up a little short.
In keeping with the camp’s philosophy, our Olympics keep the competition within its proper perspective. The games end with a handshake, and we do not allow the outcome of the game to be carried off the field. In the end, it is the one who is magnanimous who is the true winner in life.