Over the past few days, I have had deeply meaningful conversations with many of our parents, for whom I have the utmost respect. As I have continued to reflect on how to proceed, I believe in my heart this decision must take into account our entire camp community. After taking the pulse of our Takajo Family, it has become clear to me that our collective heartbeat is not in sync and, therefore, I have reluctantly concluded it is best that we not open camp this summer.
I cherish the trust you place in me, and I am beyond grateful for your appreciation of our effort to overcome many clearly daunting obstacles. I have been focused on offering our boys a much-needed return to some semblance of normalcy after the disruption they have faced in their lives. I wanted them to have the opportunity to be back with their “camp brothers” in a place where they feel at home, and I wanted to make sure I exhausted every possible pathway forward. I never intended for this decision to cause undue stress on those of you who desperately want to send your son to camp this summer, but feel the risk is just too great.
Above all else, camp is about the deep, lasting friendships our boys are building. It is why our oldest campers, the Okees, refer to their entire age group as a Band of Brothers. When all is said and done, I do not want to dilute the experience for boys who might return to camp this summer without some of their best friends, nor do I want to cause strain for those boys who might not be able to return.
As a dad, I live every day of my life weighing family decisions that are in the best interest of my children. I would never make a decision that might make any of my children feel excluded.
Every summer, during our opening campfire, I address the importance of our Arch Ideals. Among them are love, loyalty, and faith. Please let your son know how much I love him and how difficult this is for me. And please tell him that my loyalty to our entire camp family has led me to this decision.
And then remind him to have faith that I will be the first person to greet him and welcome him home when he arrives at Camp Takajo on June 26, 2021.