We have reached the two-week mark of camp, and the heat and the humidity are giving us our first true test of the summer. This is the time of year that we see what I often refer to as age-appropriate, inappropriate behavior. On one hand, this means our boys are feeling settled and very “at home,” On the other hand, that means they are not always on their best behavior.
The warm temperatures have made it difficult to sleep in the bunks the last few nights, which makes it a little bit more challenging to keep pace during our normal routines. We are doing our best to get all the boys down to the waterfront throughout the day, but our busy intercamp schedule has many of our boys competing, battling their opponents, in addition to the elements. Today, our boys participated in a twelve-and-under roller hockey tournament. We hosted a fourteen-and-under soccer tournament, thirteen and fifteen-and-under tennis tournament, competed in an eleven-and-under tennis tournament at a nearby camp, and our swim team had their first opportunity to compete in an inter-camp swim meet in the fifteen-, twelve-, and ten-and-under categories.
After an exhilarating day of intercamp, our Sub-Seniors boarded a bus for a social event with the fourteen-year-olds from most of the neighboring boys and girls camps in the region, while the rest of camp participated in an Independence Day ceremony. Each year, we select a camper, an overseas counselor, and an American counselor to address our campers and staff to offer their perspectives on what Independence Day means to each of them.
One of our Okee’s delivered an incredible address as he spoke from the heart about the opportunities he’s been afforded growing up in the United States and having the good fortune to attend Camp Takajo and be a member of this community. Our two counselors had very different opinions on how they view the holiday. Our overseas counselor shared how welcomed he feels at camp, yet how saddened he feels that he may not be welcomed in our country in the foreseeable future. Our American counselor made the astute observation that our camp is a microcosm of the United States. He spoke about how we have people here from all parts of the world who are attempting to pursue a common goal, to live together in peace and harmony without prejudice or persecution.
We ended the evening with an amazing fireworks display, shot from a massive barge that we anchored in the middle of Long Lake. Our boys sat on the beach with their friends, mesmerized, as the sky over our waterfront lit up in magnificent colors. As our boys enjoyed this majestic display, I couldn’t help but wish that the focus now would be peace, harmony, inclusion, tolerance, and respect and that these words would resonate in our bunks and in our community.