Tak Talk Blog- Camp Takajo – July 6, 2019

By July 6, 2019 Tak Talk
Camp Takajo in Naples, Maine, USA

Hazy, hot sunshine remained in camp until the late afternoon. When the wind picked up over Long Lake and the threat of rain became ominous, it was the first time this summer that we asked the campers and counselors to react to our instructions, clear the fields, and make their way under cover. We have provisions in place for all kinds of scenarios. We take foul weather seriously. Within minutes, the campus was empty, and everybody was safely under cover. We don’t mind the rain. It gives the campers a chance to catch their breath and enjoy a slower pace. We are also fortunate to have incredible facilities during these rainy occasions. Each age group rotated through our two indoor sports complexes, our twelve Hobbies, three rec. halls, and gym. Our program never missed a beat.

Phone calls have continued, and it is exciting to watch so many boys gleefully articulate what has transpired over the first two weeks of camp. For our first time campers, every day is an adventure. For our returning boys, there is excitement knowing what lies ahead. Of course, there are calls that do not go so well. Campers express disappointment about a scenario in a bunk, or perhaps they feel overlooked on a playing field. While I share every parent’s desires to have every child happy at every moment; unfortunately, it is an unrealistic goal. I never want to sound condescending when I make this statement, and in a perverse way, these unhappy moments are incredibly valuable for your son’s growth and development. Teaching your son how to self-advocate and manage his own happiness is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

The other day, I was talking with a mother who commented that her son wasn’t sailing because every time he looked down at the lake, our entire fleet was in use. I commented that there were other boys that looked down at the waterfront, saw every sailboat in use, but took a different path by saying, “How do I get into one of those boats?”

The ask may be challenging for some boys, but the reward is the adventure that takes place when you learn how to speak up for yourself. Needless to say, we understand we are dealing with children, and we often ask the boys how they are doing. The staff focuses on the campers’ facial expressions and body language to get an indication of whether we are getting a truthful answer. We recognize the importance of looking at our little guys in the eyes and taking the time to listen to them as they speak.

In the end, we want every child to feel safe and valued. While we know the overwhelming majority of our children are happy and thriving, we can’t help but focus on what we may be missing. As the day came to an end and each group retired to their respective rec. hall for movie night, we took a moment to celebrate the end of week two. We look forward to a late Reveille bugle call, Lazy Man’s Sunday Morning, and of course, Dunkin’ Donuts.