This morning at breakfast, I shared with our campers and staff the long-range forecast. The humidity is on its way out, and bright sunshine along with cooler temperatures will be with us for the foreseeable future. I commended everyone for the way they handled this heat wave. It was not easy sleeping in the bunks, and the high dew points took a little bit of the enthusiasm out of our program. Nevertheless, the Takajo community prevailed, and we look forward to cooler days ahead.
Our intercamp schedule continues. Today, our swim team traveled to New Hampshire to compete in our first swim meet of the summer. Our 12-year-olds competed in hockey, 14 year-olds hosted a lacrosse tournament, 11-year-olds traveled to a local camp to compete in tennis, and we hosted our own 13-and-under tennis tournament to fine-tune our skills before we host our Takajo Tennis Invitational next week.
While we pride ourselves on an excellent sports program, we have had great success partnering with some professional coaches that come to Takajo and provide our boys the opportunity to train and specialize in their favorite sport during the season. For the next seven days, we have Mike Turtle, owner and director of Soccer Specific Training in New Jersey, here to train our boys. Mike competed at a high level himself and is one of the best coaches I have ever encountered. He has the unique ability to make the game of soccer fun and challenging regardless of one’s ability level. Whether your son intends on playing fall travel soccer or just wants to build his confidence in the sport, I would encourage you to write to your son and suggest he takes advantage of this very special opportunity.
Over the past week, we were not only challenged by intense heat, but we also approached a time in the season where campers become so comfortable that they sometimes test boundaries. As parents, we all know the problem of communicating with our child when they become emotional or become set in their ways. I often refer to this experience as the point of struggle. We have had our share of moments during the past week when campers have become defiant, whether it is claiming there is nothing to eat in the dining room or getting upset if they are asked to do a simple chore in the bunk. It is to be expected that our boys can be a challenge to deal with when asked to do things that they do not want to do.
I tell my staff to not engage during that point of struggle but to find a calm moment when they can recollect that experience in hopes of coming up with a better resolution. I watched this at work the other day when a little Warrior camper sat at his dining table with his arms crossed and head down claiming there was nothing to eat for dinner. The counselor patiently said, “If you don’t like the chicken, how about the pasta bar? And, if you don’t like the pasta bar, how about if the chef makes you a grilled cheese sandwich?”
The more the counselor offered suggestions, the more the child tuned him out. At that moment, there was nothing that was going to satisfy that little boy. However, the next day, the counselor approached him outside the dining hall down by the waterfront, and this time he was armed with a pad and a pen. The two sat on the wall and created a list of all the foods this boy likes to eat. Removed from the point of struggle, he was only too happy to engage in this conversation and participate with a list of foods he enjoys. This was a great lesson for this young boy and for the counselor.
When you are living in a community in close proximity with others, there are always going to be moments when one becomes frustrated. With a little patience and consideration, there are always ways to solve our issues.