What was supposed to be an all-day rain at Camp Takajo, turned out to be nothing more than an occasional sprinkle, which allowed us to remain outdoors for the majority of the day.
Our trip leaders have our 13-, 14- and 15-year-old boys out of camp, and we applaud them for their steadfast judgment and care of our campers. Most camps have given up their extensive camping program because of the presumed risk of having children out in the wilderness. We see the benefit in exposing our campers to these challenging camping experiences in the outdoors, provided we have the confidence in our staff and a clear understanding of their surroundings.
Senior campers returned this evening from their trip down the St. Croix River and climbing Mount Katahdin. The first few days of their excursion was euphoric, as bright skies provided the perfect backdrop for their rigorous challenge. But, after reaching Mount Katahdin, followed by whitewater rafting and canoeing down the St. Croix River for three days, our trip leaders anticipated the change in weather and diverted their trip back to camp. When these trips returned, I hugged the staff before our boys for exercising the care and judgment that is required to lead a trip for Camp Takajo. Our Intermediates returned from Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Boston and reported that it was the greatest camp trip they have ever taken.
This morning when I made my way to breakfast, I was told that a Junior camper was removed from his bunk last night for being upset with his bunkmates. After breakfast, I approached this camper and asked him what had transpired last evening in his bunk. This boy is not one who has ever gotten into trouble, and since he was a little nervous that he might be reprimanded, he asked me if he could explain the circumstances but only under the Takajo Arch. The camper told me that he went to his first social and that he asked a girl to multiple dances together. After returning and settling for the night, his bunkmates, who he adores, decided to poke fun at him for making a connection at the social. The noise level escalated in the bunk, and when the OD counselor came to the door, the little Casanova was removed.
As I sat under the arch with this young man, he pointed to the word loyalty and said, “To my bunkmates, because I’m not going to tell you who was teasing me. Obedience, to the counselor who removed me from the bunk. Courage, to me for asking a girl to dance at the social, even though there was a chance she would reject me in front of my friends. Faith, to you that you would believe my story and not punish me for sticking up for my feelings. Love, that’s easy, to me because I think I’m in love. Honesty, to me for telling the truth about my bunk scuffle. Integrity, to me for standing up for my actions, knowing that I was respectful to the OD, and acting as though my parents were watching me at all times. Tolerance, to me in the face of being teased by my friends. I ignored them for as long as I could. Sportsmanship, you got me there. Friendliness, to me. That’s what got me onto the dance floor. Self-reliance, I acted alone and figured out how to approach this girl without any help from my friends. Magnanimity, also to me. It required everything I had to step up to the plate.”
Admittedly, I felt this character was working me a little, but I had to give him points for dragging me up to the arch to plead his case. Even if this was done in jest, I can’t help but feel that somehow we are getting through.