As you enter Camp Takajo, you pass through the Takajo Arch. Posted on the arch are twelve ideals that embody the precepts by which we live. The Arch Ideals are reinforced throughout everything we do at camp. In all the activities, sports and special events, the Arch Ideals are the principles that guide us.
The basic sincerity of a person can usually be used as a yardstick to take the measure of a man. We strive for uprightness, truthfulness and forthrightness in our behavior with others. Do away with cutting corners; wipe away the false smile; see things, see situations as they really are, not as we would like to see them. The open, healthy appreciation of all that is around us, the inner driving force that makes us real people, not puppets to be pushed and pulled by others; this is integrity – the basic sincerity of a person. Camp life has no place for the false face.
Who among us can say that his ideas and behaviors are absolutely right and good? To have the stregnth of our own convictions is a mark of maturity. This maturity also means respect for the customs and ideas of others. A great man in history once said: “I do not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.” We can and should show a willingness to permit and endure the beliefs and actions of another person even though we do not approve of them.
Basketball, baseball, tennis or swimming – these sports all have one thing in common. That is the thrill of letting our bodies respond to the training of long months. Sportsmanship is the result of training of the spirit of the sport. To win or to lose is the result of the game, but how the win or the loss is accepted is a matter of the personality. How we win is more important than the winning itself. Good sportsmanship, we know, is more important than good playing.
Probably the best way to describe friendliness is to say that it is help to the other guy. To know and to like someone is to be a friend. To know someone is to live with that person, to like him is to see the good in that person and over which is not good. To be friendly is a feeling, a “something” we know inside us. To really help in all ways is friendliness; without it the Takajo way of camping would not exist.
A tough job means hard work. It could be doing a school assignment, or it could be a creative act in which our own intelligence works to produce something for all to enjoy. Whatever the job; self-responsibility, going ahead with confidence, relying on individual strength; these give us the sense of accomplishment that means satisfaction. Each of us has some talent, some ability which makes us a little different from others. Our job is to use it, and use it in order to make good decisions, conduct ourselves in wise behavior and become, not complete followers, but leaders in our own individual way.
The sum total of all the Takajo Ideals, the precepts by which we guide and direct our growth and development is magnanimity. Nobleness of soul, freedom from petty feelings and acts; high mindedness and true unselfishness – this is the truly the mark of a man.
Loyalty, a magic word. It brings back a flood of memories of places, school friends, ideas and families. To stand up for an institution which represents “good” is our act of loyalty. Our government, our country, our home, our camp – we give of ourselves to fight, not with guns, but with our minds, to strengthen a way of life which gives freedom to all people. We hold on to, we must hold on to, those ideas, those thoughts and those institutions which teach us a better way to live. We root for our team, our idea, win or lose, we remain loyal to the camp. It is a good spirit which stays with us long after our days at camp are over.
Most of the time we mistake obedience with blind following of orders from those in authority. This is not obedience, but a slavish state of mind where we do not let our own intelligence grow and develop. Real obedience is obeying the commands of conscience, judgement and the path of right behavior. We know, or should know, the right path to follow and our conscience guides us. Obeying this guidance is what we need to strive for. Obedience is unselfishness. That is the basic part of our life in camp.
The will to move ahead is becoming a real person; the wanting to face the difficulties of living; to take the disappointments of the little and the big problems; this is really courage. To own up to mistakes; to recognize that you are not perfect; to remember that you will make more mistakes; this is really courage. Courage is a thing of the heart, not of the body. Great courage is a thing that takes lots of practice. Camp life is your opportunity to get lots of experience.
The great men and women of history; those people who made history had faith, not only in an idea, but also in themselves. Faith is a belief, a conviction, a knowledge that something exists which is bigger, better, and stronger than us. A belief which does not falter, which stays firm and strong is true faith. We, each of us, contribute to the development of the world by believing and upholding the traditions of freedom. We need faith in ourselves and we hold to those ideas which make ourselves and our camp strong.
The warmth of good feeling when you are with friends and family whom you love and who love you, is a feeling hard to describe. It is a sense of comfort, a feeling of strength and a desire to forget the importance of yourself in order to make someone else happy. If there is truly such a thing as camp spirit, it is a sense of belonging, a love of all the good things that camp life brings to us. It is the memory of true happiness, the living feeling – the love of living at Takajo that is a thing we work for in each part of our day.
You know the feeling of happiness that comes when everything just seems to be going well. This sense of well-being doesn’t just happen. It comes when we, our own selves are in a state of harmony – we are not hiding anything from anyone. We experience a sense of freedom when we can be completely truthful, not only to others, but even more important, to ourselves. The degree to which a fellow has respect for himself is how honest he is with himself.