Tak Talk Blog- Camp Takajo – July 17, 2017

By July 17, 2017 January 4th, 2019 Tak Talk
Camp Takajo in Naples, Maine summer camp for boys

Last night, Camp Takajo came together in the MJG Playhouse to watch the Senior Big Show, Catch Me If You Can. When founder Morty Goldman started Takajo in 1947, the first indoor building he built was the playhouse, which was completed in 1952. Morty used to refer to this building as the “hub of camp.” He recognized that in order for camp to become a tight-knit community, it was necessary to have a space where the entire camp could congregate.

Camp Takajo in Naples, Maine summer camp for boysThis iconic building was designed by an art counselor from Sweden named John Denerlein. Our playhouse was the first building in the United States that was designed using all wooden trusses. This design caught the attention of many architects when it was featured in Fortune Magazine in 1953.

While Takajo is known for its broad sports program, picturesque waterfront and vast array of hobbies, our theater program is the only one that brings the entire camp together for a single event. I am always amazed that while our campers maintain an active program, they still manage to carve out the time needed to learn their lines and rehearse for this performance. While our Seniors performed beautifully, had impeccable timing, and sang to the audience’s delight, it was a Junior camper whose performance stole the show. Theater is this young man’s passion; and, in an effort to cultivate that passion, he was allowed the opportunity to perform with our older campers. His incredible talent and passion for the arts put smiles on the faces of the on-looking audience.

Camp Takajo in Naples, Maine summer camp for boysAs is customary at the end of any full camp event, the Okees (our oldest boys in camp) led everyone in singing the camp’s alma mater. With each passing camp-wide event, I take great delight in watching our youngest campers, who have learned the words to our camp song and now sing it with pride.

In addition to the play occurring last night, our thirteen and fifteen-and-under basketball teams participated in a neighboring camp’s annual basketball tournament today. It is never easy to play in front of someone else’s home crowd, but our competitors held their heads high and played with grit and determination. In the end, both of our teams came up just short.

Despite the loss, the boys learned a valuable lesson. They learned that sometimes losing with grace and dignity can show the true measure of a person’s character more than a lopsided victory ever could. As the bus pulled back into camp after a long day of competition, our thirteen and fifteen-year-old basketball players exited the bus as one team. Looking at the faces of the players exiting the bus, it was difficult to differentiate if they had won or lost. Our boys were just happy to be back “home.”