Today was a gift. The forecast indicated the three H’s– hot, hazy, and humid, but somehow we lucked out. The sun was shining brightly at Camp Takajo. While you could feel the heat on the playing fields, there was a warm breeze that created just enough relief to make this a perfect visiting day.
When I was talking with my staff last night in preparation for this weekend, I shared with them a memory that I had of a visiting day thirty years ago. I was the Junior group leader at the time, and I walked into Morty Goldman’s office. I was surprised to see him with his feet up on the desk, reading the New York Times. I asked him how he could be so relaxed an hour before the visitors were to arrive? Morty casually moved the paper down to his lap, looked at me and said, “The preparation for this day began four weeks ago. If we are committed to caring for other people’s children, if we are willing to put their needs ahead of our own, if we act as if the parents of these kids are watching us at all times, then our visiting day will be a success.”
To this day, I remember Morty’s words, and I live by them. We have an exceptional staff of caring men and women who have devoted their summer to making a difference in your son’s life.
Today was a celebration of my staff’s hard work and your child’s growth and development over the last four weeks. It should never be taken for granted what a remarkable accomplishment it is for a child to live away from his parents.
At the end of the first visiting day, we held a meeting for the parents of our oldest campers, our Okeechobee campers, many of whom have spent seven, eight, or nine summers in camp. We have thirty-six boys in camp who have completed ninth grade and are eagerly anticipating a fantastic trip out west, which departs Wednesday. As the parents received the itinerary for the trip, I could not help but think back to all the years I greeted them on visiting day and was sad to see this beautiful run come to an end. Our families have a great appreciation for what we try to do here each day at camp, and that trust is something I will cherish forever.
As the day was coming to an end, our Warrior campers went up for their weekly campfire, and Juniors and Seniors received some well-deserved down time. The Senior campers started packing for big trips. Staff shirts are now being washed, activities are being cleaned, and we look forward to another spectacular visiting day tomorrow.