Another beautiful day in Maine– our Senior campers who qualified during the summer to Swim the Lake woke up at 6:00 am and made their way in several boats across the lake to prepare for this exciting challenge. For our older boys to be selected to swim the lake, they needed to swim fifteen laps on seven separate occasions throughout the summer. Each camper had a counselor in a canoe by his side during the swim. Needless to say, the entire swim staff is present for this event, and all boys that attempted this feat made it successfully back to the shores of Camp Takajo, proudly under their own power.
We had a few activities today in which the entire camp participated. The first was a little less exciting than our last all-camp event. We had a professional company come this morning to check each camper for lice. I am happy to report there were only a few cases discovered by these professionals, and if you have not personally heard from us, then your child is in the clear. I had a chance to have a little fun with one of my favorite counselors who insisted on having his head checked, even though no campers in his bunk had lice. I honored his request and asked the technician to tell him that he had a bad case of lice. The counselor was shocked and somewhat upset, especially when the professionals put the oil in his hair and told him that he needed to keep his head lathered for the rest of the day. One might assume that these last few days would be stressful for me, but it is moments like these that I find great humor in what I do for a living. Every time I saw this counselor, with his hair slicked back with this greasy goo, I had to turn away in an effort not to laugh. I told this counselor that he did not have head lice, and I am happy to report that he took this prank in stride.
One of the other all-camp events today was our song competition. What I love most about song competition is that every camper participates. Campers are split into either the Green or Grey teams and rehearse four of the camp songs, as well as an original song with lyrics written to a piece of modern music. The boys filled in by team to the Indian Council Fire in the late morning to sing these songs slightly out of tune and with (little) harmony. Nevertheless, it was great to see our youngest campers sitting between our older boys, and I am sure the experience was most memorable for all.
After lunch today, our Warrior and Junior camps each had their “Whacked Up Relay Race,” when events take place on every inch of the facility, all around the camp. Campers are assigned to events, and a runner races to each event with a baton. Here the camper needs to complete a task, which is different at each stop along the race. Events include canoe races, foul shot shooting, fire building, archery, three-legged races, a whipped cream smear, and a grand finale, consisting of a pie eating contest between one camper from each of the two teams. The excitement around camp was at an all-time high this afternoon as campers raced from location to location to cheer on their teams. Regardless of the outcome, the relay is so much fun that every camper celebrates at the end.
This evening, the entire camp came together for our final campfire. This traditional event incorporates a heritage ceremony passed down from one generation to another since the camp’s inception in 1947 but also has some lighter moments. Some of our campers and counselors are asked to participate in a traditional Native American Squat Dance. As I looked around the campfire this evening at all the campers and counselors, I cannot help but think about what has been accomplished in camp this summer. It was six and a half weeks ago that I stood in this council ring and challenged our boys to make the most of each and every day. I asked our campers to think about the Arch Ideals that sit at the head of the camp, to think of one of these ideals each day and to implement them into daily life in camp. As I have watched our boys grow, develop a sense of confidence and inner courage, and as friendships have blossomed throughout the summer, I believe that our boys have made the most out of each and every day.