When I first drove down the Camp Takajo road in a yellow school bus in 1970, I could never have imagined that my “ride to Takajo” would never end. I have heard from so many former campers that those yesteryears were the best years of their lives. Fortunately for me, the best years of my life remain with me each and every day because of my continued involvement with and passion for Camp Takajo.
The New Year is a time of reflection and anticipation. The years are passing faster than I ever remember and there is nothing I can do to “slow down the speed of life.” We are all over-scheduled and must learn how to multitask just to keep our sanity. It is no wonder that one of the many things that will define 2011 will be the passing of Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs. Even camp is not immune to events that take place in the real world and who more than Steve Jobs and his technology changed the way we communicate and function on a daily basis.
Camp Takajo is known for its traditional values, a term that sometimes feels obsolete. Can we still have traditional values when the world embraces email, texting, tweeting, facebook and a pervasive social media culture? Will our society continue to insist that our children learn the simple art of dialog, eye contact and common courtesy? Will the simplicity that technology promotes supersede what was once “human nature?”
Ours is a tradition in transition. As the director of Camp Takajo, I see my role as keeping one foot firmly planted in the past to remain true to Takajo’s traditional values, while at the same time taking a step forward into the future and embracing the world in which we live.
Rather than reject this era of technological advancement, I see it as an exciting opportunity to spread our message and share our community with a larger audience than ever before. It also allows us to reconnect with so many who have gone before who cherish the values and traditions they learned during their summers at Camp Takajo.
When I think back to the Tak Talk newsletters written by Takajo’s founder, Morty Goldman, I remember how he always included a values oriented message. Camp was a classroom, a conduit to teach meaningful life lessons to some of today’s greatest leaders, teachers and parents. Now, through the world of technology, we’ll use our Tak Talk blog to expand the dialog with parents and families by offering information and providing content we hope you’ll find useful throughout the year. We’ll share articles and information that help us meet the challenges of today’s families, discuss ways to keep our children healthy and safe, and provide a venue for each of you to contribute to the discussion.
My hope is that our blog will help us all realize that we can “slow down to the speed of life.” As the old saying goes, “The only one who likes change is a wet baby.” Change is inevitable and we must teach our children to adapt to the world in which we live in without losing a sense of the core values and principles that provide us with a solid foundation.
As we launch our new website at the beginning of this New Year, here’s to remaining true to Takajo’s rich traditions and to staying connected to each other now and in the future.
Happy New Year!