In the midst of a day filled with the tedious job of packing at Camp Takajo, I had the pleasure of inviting our oldest campers, our Okeechobees, down to my house for lunch. I can’t help but reflect on this group of young men, as I remember so many of them as they arrived at camp seven, eight, and nine years ago. We always view this final summer as their “right of passage.”
We have watched these young men emerge into leaders and role models, and I know that the values that they have learned at home, which we instill at camp, will make them eventual leaders in the world in the not-so-distant future. Aside from the annual photo-op in my hot tub, our oldest boys had the opportunity to sit with me and ask candid questions about all the things that they have wanted to know during their years at camp. After an incredibly enjoyable afternoon, the boys embarked on their final whacked-up relay.
From a casual lunch and a dip into the hot tub, they quickly shifted gears and competed fiercely against one another in this traditional relay race through camp for their final time. After a hard-fought Olympics, we changed gears one more time as we came together in the dining room for the final banquet.
A camper was selected to give the camper address and spoke eloquently about the relationships he formed during his time at camp, and the importance of the Takajo experience during his formative years. We ended the evening with a special tribute to Donnie Abrams, our food service director, who celebrated his fiftieth season at Camp Takajo. It was my distinct honor to rename the Takajo dining hall, the “Abrams Dining Hall” for his incredible loyalty and dedication throughout the years.
As Warren played Tattoo, we assembled on the beach and watched the “13” symbolically go up in flames out on the water to signify the 2013 season drawing to a close– one for the record books.