Last night, Camp Takajo hosted our closing campfire of the season. This traditional event has taken place since the very first season in 1947. In the final campfire, a few campers are selected to join the administration and read about the heritage of Camp Takajo. Campers in each division are selected to represent their peers. This is an honor bestowed upon a few that has created cherished memories over the years. All campers also had the opportunity to watch a traditional, Native American hoop dance performed by some of our counselors. These counselors have carried on a tradition of dancing through a flaming hoop in front of mesmerized onlookers. We end the campfire each year with a traditional, Native American squat dance, when campers and counselors are selected by our “Big Chief,” Neil Minsky, creating some of the funniest moments of the season.
This afternoon, I hosted a lunch for our graduating Okeechobee Campers, who are forty-eight hours away from the conclusion of their time here as campers. After a great barbecue lunch out on my deck, I sat down with our boys to reflect on their years here at camp. It is at this time that our oldest campers had the opportunity to ask me any questions they wanted and were given unfiltered responses.
After some great laughs and some heartfelt stories, we surprised the boys with a video created by photography counselor Amy Carton to display images of these boys dating back to their earliest years in camp. The afternoon came to a close with the traditional hot tub picture when all the boys jump into my hot tub for this keepsake photo.
The Takajo Senior Olympics ended after their whacked-up relay finished with the pie eating contest. This poetic completion was capped off by the captains hugging each other out of mutual love and respect, before making their way down to the waterfront.
In the evening, we held our final banquet in the dining hall. It was a special night, and campers and counselors got dressed up for dinner and dined in a more formal setting. This white tablecloth meal was the perfect conclusion to a fulfilling summer. Campers and counselors were selected to speak, and they provided heartfelt accounts of what the Takajo experience means to them.
As we left the dining room after this special meal, we all assembled out on the beach to watch a slide show presented by our photography staff. These images captured the love and emotion that is cultivated here at camp. As our boys returned to their bunks, you could sense their disbelief that the season was coming to an end.