As a summer camp director, I have countless conversations with boys every day about making the most of this experience by being kind and considerate to others, learning how to develop self-reliance, and keeping things in proper perspective. Sometimes when boys leave my office, even when the advice is sound, there is no guarantee that the child will be able to implement the strategies that I suggest. What is most gratifying is having enough history with the campers to celebrate the successes as I watch these boys develop into fine young men.
Today, I had the opportunity to spend time with our thirty-six graduating seniors. These boys have completed ninth grade. Some of these campers have been here for nine years. I have had the pleasure of watching these boys flourish before my eyes. Over the years, they have had their fair share of success on the playing fields, but what is most notable to me is the respect they have for each other and the camp.
Having had the privilege of owning and directing Camp Takajo since 1989, I have had the unique opportunity to watch countless young boys become grown men. I have seen these relationships begin in the bunks on campus and continue in the dormitories of some of the finest learning institutions in the country, and even to the boardrooms of some Fortune 500 companies. These relationships are built on trust and love. And, while most families sign up for camp only thinking about the “7-week experience,” I have often viewed this as a lifetime experience.
While our graduating seniors are on top of the world after returning from their trip out west, I can notice that reality is setting in, and they know that their camping days are coming to an end. This is a special time in their lives as they transition from the carefree experience of summer camp into the pressures of high school. Each day of the reaming week of camp will take on a special meaning for these boys, and when the buses depart next Friday, we will celebrate what these fine, young men have accomplished on the shores of Long Lake.