The other day, I was speaking with my daughter Kate who is in her eleventh and final summer at Tripp Lake Camp. She informed me that on her final day of summer camp she plans on handcuffing herself to the flagpole and swallowing the key. My daughter has a flair for the dramatic, but it did make me think about how our boys are going to feel on their final day at Takajo.
Too often, boys are raised to keep their emotions in check. However, there are few things more beautiful than witnessing unfiltered and spontaneous emotions after a positive, life-changing experience. Today was our day to reminisce, to reflect on the summer, to say proper goodbyes, to relive those poignant moments on the playing field, and recall big trips that made this summer memorable for our boys.
As I think back on the last seven weeks, I cannot help but marvel at the growth and maturity that I have witnessed in our boys this summer. Imagine leaving the security of one’s home, living in close proximity of others, and giving up one’s personal space and creature comforts for the structure and routine that takes place throughout the summer. It almost sounds like the boys would be destined for failure, but in reality, camp helps them to be at their best. Camp Takajo helps our boys develop self-reliance, teaches our boys problem-solving skills, and reminds our children that while their needs may be important, their wants and desires should not come at the sacrifice of those around them.
We are living in a time when those in authority are sacrificing their morals and principles for political party lines and personal power. Today’s youth have fewer role models and heroes, and it is incumbent on us as parents to remain that beacon of light for our children. At camp, we are constantly talking to our boys about the Takajo Arch Ideals. However, I tell the boys that these ideals are mere words unless we choose to implement them in our lives.
I will miss my daily interaction with your son. I will miss walking into the dining hall and seeing him, sitting and conversing among his friends. I will miss the sound of cheers that echo across the Takajo campus, and I will miss my daily connection with you. This will be my final blog post of the summer because shortly after most of you have read this, your son will have returned safely into your arms.
Please know how greatly I value our relationship, and I am humbled that you have given me the opportunity to be a part of your son’s most formative years. This is a trust that I hold dear to my heart and is something that I never take for granted. I wish you all a healthy and happy end to the summer and a great start to the fall and school year.