As predicted, we woke up to bright sunshine and warmer temperatures at Camp Takajo today. It was a clear indication that summer is truly here. The long-range forecast indicates that temperatures will reach the high-80’s with dew points making it feel more like the 90’s. We are prepared for days like this. We make sure the boys fill their water bottles, stay hydrated, that they are nourished at all meals and take advantage of our magnificent waterfront to cool off after playing on the fields.
At this point in the season, I can feel the separation anxiety that so many of you are experiencing away from your child. The transition to summer camp is often harder for the parent than the camper. Your son comes to camp and is immediately enveloped in our culture. Whether connecting with his friends or making new ones, there is non-stop stimulation throughout your child’s day.
You are all loving, devoted parents, you spend every waking moment during ten months of your year occupied and preoccupied with managing your child’s needs. Whether it is shuttling them to school, an extra-curricular activity, taking him for his haircut or tending to his personal needs, you pride yourself in giving your child every ounce of your love and devotion. Suddenly, June 22 rolls around, and we strip you of your most important role in life. We deprive you of your daily contact, take away your snuggle time at night and prevent you from managing your son’s needs.
I am here to tell you that while you may experience moments of agony, this is the greatest gift you can give your son. You have placed your child in a healthy, safe, age-appropriate, and controlled environment, where he is taking the skills you have given him over the course of his lifetime. He is now learning how to self-advocate. Your son is learning what it means to live with others, to share responsibilities in the bunk, to have empathy and compassion for his peers and to be self-reliant when something does not go exactly his way.
I believe that our children need to learn these life skills in order to find happiness later in life as adults. It is ironic that camp is such a happy place, yet there is nothing happy about separating from the ones we love the most. As the first week comes to a close, I want to thank you for your trust and confidence. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of your son’s growth and development.