Lazy Man’s Morning could not have come at a better time. Our boys were exhausted, both physically and emotionally after our visiting day weekend at Camp Takajo. However, even grey skies and a misty rain could not detract from their excitement of seeing their favorite Dunkin’ Donuts as they arrived for breakfast this morning.
The gloomy skies provided the perfect opportunity for everyone to take a well-deserved rest from our playing fields. Our Senior campers spent the day packing and organizing for their big trips that depart for Intermediates and Sub-Seniors tomorrow. Our Warrior and Junior campers took advantage of our indoor buildings and spent the day breaking a sweat in our sports complexes, making projects at hobbies and watching movies in our rec. halls. Our Junior thespians spent the day rehearsing for their big show, School of Rock, which will take place next Sunday.
As parents, we all know the expression, “We are only as happy as our unhappiest child.” As a camp director, I feel the same way about my campers. While the overall reaction to our boys experience is incredibly high, it would only be natural that there are some issues that require my attention after visiting day. Throughout the day, I met with a few bunks for what I refer to as ‘family therapy sessions’ in my office. In fairness, for some of our youngest boys, this is their first experience living away from home in a bunk environment.
For some of our Junior campers, while they may be familiar with their bunkmates, each child returns to camp every summer having collected his own experiences throughout the year. They come back socially and emotionally different from the child that left the previous summer. Therefore, even a bunk of boys that are familiar with each other has no guarantee they will be the same personalities as the year before. I enjoy these sessions in my office because I make the boy receiving the information respond to his bunkmate by repeating his concerns before he replies. This exercise forces each camper to hear constructive criticism, rather than just prepare to just say what’s on his mind. This time in my office is designed to be light-hearted, yet the underlying message is about respect, fairness, and appropriate behavior. It’s also a way for everyone be comfortable in sharing their feelings.
At a time in our lives where civility appears less important than personal gain, we cherish the moments where we can teach kindness and empathy at camp.