Today was the perfect camp day. We awoke at Camp Takajo to a cool and crisp morning, the kind of morning that gets your attention the moment your feet touch the wooden floor of the bunk. Nevertheless, dippies made their way down to the lake for a cool and refreshing dip. The boys enjoyed Chef Reggie’s french toast right off the grill and made their way out to the fields but not before being told to leave their sweatshirts behind in their bunks. By 9:30, the bright sunshine warmed our campus, and our boys broke a sweat as they competed in team games.
We are a day away from completing our first rotation in hobbies, so our campers are putting the finishing touches on the first projects that were made this season. Instructional swim classes have begun, and the ratio for our youngest campers is no more than three campers to an instructor. We take great pride in our instructional swim program and recognize the importance of teaching our boys this life skill.
This evening the entire camp came together for our opening campfire. Anyone who has ever spent the summer at Camp Takajo will have vivid memories of this iconic event. When Warren blows the bugle call to come for “council,” the entire camp community lines up in a single-file and silently walks into the Indian Council Fire Ring to the sound of the chief’s beating drums. This evening, the Takajo Arch Ideals were introduced to the campers and staff during a sacred, candle-lit ceremony. A select group of campers and counselors read aloud the meanings of the arch ideals.
What I love most about this evening is that this symbolic event takes place during the first week of camp, when campers and counselors have an opportunity to reflect on their camp experience thus far. It is a time when we can evaluate our personal goals for the summer and reflect on the importance of being a valued member of this community. I explained at the campfire that words such as honesty, loyalty, friendship and sportsmanship are merely words on an arch unless we take the time to implement those words into our daily lives. Because the welcome arch is at the head of our campus, every camper and counselor has an opportunity to pass through the arch every day of the summer. I encouraged everyone to pause as they walk through the arch and select a word to incorporate into their daily routine.
As the evening came to a close, we all stood around the roaring fire and sang the camp song followed by the beautiful sound of tattoo. As I listened to the melody echo through the air, I looked around at all the mesmerized faces and thought to myself, “The best is still yet to come.”