Tak Talk Blog- Camp Takajo – June 29, 2019

By June 29, 2019 Tak Talk
Camp Takajo in Naples, Maine, USA

Scattered showers and the threat of thunderstorms were in the region; but, somehow, we dodged another bad weather bullet.  Our temperatures were in the eighties with intermittent sunshine all day long. It’s hard to imagine that we have already completed our first week at Camp Takajo. We have an expression, “The days can seem long, but the weeks always fly by.”

With the air temperature heating up, the lake is becoming a popular place to spend time these days. Our waterfront director, Bob Lewis, has been training our staff and at the helm of this activity for the last thirty-one years. During the preseason, I watched our waterfront staff go through extensive training. This training included pool sessions, twice a day, as part of their training to receive their lifeguard training certifications. Our waterfront staff is also trained in CPR and first aid, recognizing that many boys have never swum in a lake.

Our staff goes out of their way to make this first experience for the youngest boys inviting. There are few things as refreshing as jumping into a beautiful lake to cool off on a hot, summer day. Throughout the summer, our waterfront staff will play a critical role in providing this enjoyment to our campers.

Over at the waterskiing dock is a man who has spent the last forty-seven summers at Camp Takajo. Don Matthews is responsible for teaching countless little boys how to get up on water skis. Don has incredible patience and a gentle demeanor. He has the unique ability to look our youngest campers in the eye and will them to succeed. More importantly, what makes Don so special is that he takes the time to capture our youngest campers’ achievements on camera, and sends a picture to the child’s parents of their little guy getting up on skis for the first time. What makes this act even more special is that some of our alumni, turned camp parents, have pictures of themselves water skiing, compliments of Don, and have now received pictures of their own children water skiing for the first time, also compliments of Don. This is just one of the many traditions that make the Camp Takajo experience so memorable.

Camp Takajo in Naples, Maine, USAAnother memorable moment took place on the Junior Basketball Court last night. Our Junior Greens (finishing fifth grade) challenged our Junior Greys (finishing sixth grade) to a basketball game. The bleachers were packed and the courts lined with campers and counselors of all ages. As one might expect, our Junior Greys jumped out to an early lead and maintained the lead throughout the game. With just three minutes left in the game, the Junior Greys held a commanding eleven-point lead. After a quick timeout called by the Green league coach, the boys finishing fifth grade came out in a full court press. Determined and re-energized, our younger boys fought back. With a few seconds left in the game, they were down by only three. You could hear the screams and cheers across the campus as the thought of an upset became a reality, but it was not to be. The Grey leaguers held on and squeaked through with a victory– clearly a game that both sides could celebrate.

It is events like this that create the excitement in camp for those who participate, and even for the spectators. As we ended our first week and the boys gobbled down a delicious pasta dinner, the raffle bag appeared for the first time. This bag is filled with Takajo “swag” that cannot be purchased in the camp catalog. As I entered the dining room through the kitchen, campers and counselors cheered in jubilation, praying that their name will be picked to receive one of these special gifts. Warrior Group Leader Hank Fortin keeps campers and counselors at the edge of their seats as he gives hints about the winner before officially announcing the winner’s name– the perfect ending to a great week. Tomorrow morning is our first Lazy Man’s Sunday, and donuts from Dunkin are on the menu.