Dear Takajo Families,
Today is supposed to be Visiting Day. You’ll have to forgive me, but while many of you have transitioned to other summer experiences, my life remains centered around camp. When I think back to last summer, I remember getting up on Friday morning of visiting weekend and it was sweltering. I turned on the TV and surfed from channel to channel, looking for an updated weather report. In that inimitable way that only your wife can pierce your folly, Joan handed me a cup of coffee, started to walk away, and casually remarked over her shoulder, “You’re not going to find a forecast that says 70 degrees with a light breeze coming across Long Lake.” And with that, I made my way to the office, another lesson learned about letting go of things I can’t control (and that my wife is always right!).
One of my personal favorite memories of visiting day was a few years ago when Joan went into our son, Jack’s, bunk during rest hour. Surely many, if not most, of our camp moms, can relate to the urge to organize your son’s cubby where his clothes are kept. When Joan entered Jack’s bunk, her laser focus took her right to the messiest cubby where, in one swipe, she scooped up all the clothes and set them on the floor. As Jack sat on his bed,
watching quietly and patiently, Joan methodically picked up each article of clothing, folded it neatly, and placed everything back in tidy, organized
piles. After painstakingly completing her task, Joan turned to Jack and said, “What do you have to say for yourself?” To which Jack replied, “That’s not my cubby.”
During the past few weeks, we’ve had virtual camp get-togethers with every age group. This week we connected with our oldest campers, the Okees. At the end of every summer, I invite the Okees down to my house for lunch on the day of the Final Banquet. It provides a bit of closure to their camping
careers for them and, maybe even more so, for me. One of the traditions, in addition to the entire age group lounging in my hot tub, is they can ask me anything they want about camp. It was bittersweet to share this tradition via Zoom but, as always, they had some interesting questions and we had some good laughs. During the zoom call, I reiterated my promise that we will offer a “do-over” next summer for this outstanding group of young men. I hope many will come back for four weeks as a CIT, then go on the Western Trip with their friends as the culmination of their years together at Takajo.
Neil Minsky, our intrepid Junior Camp Group Leader, organized an online Trivia Bowl for our Junior Campers. Always one of the outstanding events of the summer, Neil had over 100 boys, ages 11 and 12, organized into teams as they battled in a competition of academic, and some not so academic, trivia. In a thrilling come-from-behind win, the Junior Greens edged out the Greys on the final event of the competition!
We also had a makeup call this week with an adorable group of our youngest campers, the Crows. I am so happy to see how enthusiastic they are and that they can’t wait until next summer. While it’s great to see so many smiling faces, nothing can replace the feeling of “having the whole family together” at camp. For the record, this is the only summer I plan to “share” your son with you. Next summer, he’ll be back with me at his – and my – happy place, and I look forward to seeing you on a 70 degree Visiting Day, with a light breeze coming across Long Lake!