I almost feel like the local meteorologist is playing a joke on me. Takajo had the most perfect weather today with bright sunshine, no humidity, temperatures in the low eighties, and yet the weather forecast still predicts high humidity and hot temperatures for the next two days.
Regardless of the forecast, we are excited about this weekend and eagerly await your arrival. I have a vivid memory of walking into the office of Camp Takajo’s founder, Morty Goldman, on the morning of a visiting day long ago. His feet were perched up on the desk, and he was reading the New York Times. I questioned Morty on how he could appear so calm knowing we would be inundated with families visiting their children. In his very calm demeanor, Morty looked at me and said, “We have spent the last four weeks preparing for this day. We have an excellent staff and a happy group of campers. Therefore, this day should be a celebration of all that we have accomplished as a camp community over the past four weeks.”
Now more than ever, I understand that feeling. Despite how the heat might impact our daily schedule, I am still excited about this ultimate reunion.
Today, we hosted thirty families who are considering sending their sons to Takajo next summer. For families who are already in Maine, preparing to visit their daughters at other camps, or those who have younger brothers who will be following in their older brothers’ footsteps next year, our Rookie Day is a wonderful opportunity to experience a day in our program.
What makes this day so special is that some of our Okees, our oldest boys who will be completing their camp careers in three weeks, volunteer to spend their day with these prospective campers. These Okees take their responsibility very seriously and feel that it is their role to indoctrinate these younger boys into our Takajo family. The Okees spent the entire day with our little visitors and took them from gaga to archery, down to the waterfront for swimming, canoeing, and banana boating, over to basketball for a quick pickup game, and to our climbing wall. During lunch, I approached our oldest campers, and I asked them if they now had a greater appreciation for their counselors who have cared for them for seven consecutive weeks each summer. The boys smiled and told me that they have a new appreciation for the role their counselors have played in their growth and development during their time here at camp.
What was also noteworthy about today was how a group of little boys who were strangers to one another at 9:00 AM, developed a warm connection and friendship during their one day at camp. It was easy to witness a bond forming as the campers rooted for each other on the basketball court and sat next to each other with gleeful smiles on the banana boat. For most, feeling connected at camp truly happens that quickly, and I look forward to welcoming these boys into our camp family next summer.
We have put the finishing touches on our facilities, the boys’ bunks are as clean as they will ever be, and we wait now with excitement to see the cars start to roll down Takajo Road. I want to put in one more impassioned plea for you to refrain from bringing in candy and snacks in excess. With this extreme heat, most items will not survive in the bunks. They will melt and become inedible. Yet, the temptation for our boys will be too great. They will try to eat whatever is brought into camp and ultimately get themselves sick. For those of you who follow our rules and are upset by others who ignore them, please know that while we will smile and not make an issue on visiting day, we will go into the bunks after the parents depart and remove this contraband from camp. Here’s to an exciting weekend!