Let me be the first to say that I don’t find monotone boring. I can get used to waking up to bright sunny skies, and temperatures that settle in the low 80’s.
After another magnificent day, filled with a wide variety of activities, the entire camp came together for our opening campfire. As the sun was setting, we marched single file into our Indian Council Fire Ring. We were greeted by our “Big Chief,” Neil Minsky, who welcomed everyone into the council ring and explained to us that we were about to embark on a tradition that started back in 1947.
One of our campers brought out an urn that was holding the embers from our final campfire of 2015 and placed these embers into the fire pit. He read a passage that explained that by placing the embers from the final campfire of 2015 into the fire pit of our opening campfire this summer, we were maintaining a thread from one summer to the next.
Twelve campers were selected to read descriptions of Camp Takajo’s Arch Ideals. We learned what it means to be a person of integrity, to have self-reliance, good sportsmanship, and courage. As nightfall was upon us and the sky was lit by stars, I introduced all of our seven, eight, and nine-year campers.
I always become a bit emotional when I speak of these veteran campers at the campfire because I can still picture them sitting in the front row as little Crows (seven and eight-year-old campers) just a few years ago. What I love most about the opening campfire is that the entire summer is in front of us. We have the opportunity to make the most of this incredible experience. Camp is such a wonderful place to get outside one’s comfort zone, to try activities for the first time simply for the sheer joy of it, regardless of the outcome. Camp is a great place to leave the pressures that can exist in our schools and communities and slow down to the speed of life.
One of my favorite traditions is at the end of the opening campfire when our boys file out of this sacred place in camp in silence. As each boy departs, I shake their hands and welcome them to camp. The gesture is an extension of our love and commitment to your son as we welcome him into the Camp Takajo family.