It has been mighty quiet at Camp Takajo this week without our senior boys. Our Okees have made their way to Salt Lake City and are already having a fantastic time out west. Tomorrow, the Sub-Seniors return from their trips, which include canoeing down the Saint Croix River, climbing Mount Katahdin, sight-seeing in Acadia National Park, and golfing some of the most majestic courses in Maine. Meanwhile, our Intermediates will return home this evening after a four-day excursion to Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, and Cape Cod.
As the trips departed last Monday, my fourteen-year-old son, Max, was fighting a wicked chest cold and an eye infection (also known as pink eye.) I have counseled many parents who have been concerned about their boys feeling under the weather while in our care.
I am often asked by parents when their son is sick, “Who will be caring for my child?”
“Will he get enough rest on his trip?”
“What happens if he needs medical care while away from camp?”
As Max boarded the bus to depart for his trip, I found myself feeling the emotion that a camp parent feels rather than the stoic, confident role of a camp director. While we send nurses on most of our extended trips to ensure that our boys remain safe and healthy, I still could not help but feel concerned that my son’s experience could be hindered by his health.
When the first set of pictures was emailed to me by the trip leader, I combed through them looking to see if my son still had pink eye. I wondered whether he had his hood up on his sweatshirt because he thought it looked cool or because he was still feeling ill. It was at this moment that I realized that I had turned into you, a camp parent, whose obsessive nature can only be explained by the love that they have for their child.
Truth be told, I have always felt that the success in directing a camp comes from being a parent. Every time I interact with your child, I treat them as if he were my own son. The respect and appreciation that I have for you giving me the opportunity to care for your child is a responsibility that I truly cherish.
It is moments like these that I experience with my own children that help me to keep your point of view in perspective whenever we are speaking about your son. Admittedly, I feel a sense of relief when all of the big trips return. Like you, I am happier when my boys are back home.