It was the kind of morning many alumni would remember from their camping days. The sound of reveille wakes you out of a deep sleep while taking an extra minute or two to stay under the blankets to find the motivation to hop out of bed. There’s a feeling when your feet touch that cold, wood floor that sends a jolt through your body. It was a real Maine summer morning, but the kind that are more expected later in August than the end of July. Cool, fresh Maine air motivated us to grab a sweatshirt before we made our way down to breakfast. Nevertheless, the sun was shining and after a delicious French toast breakfast, our boys were off to the playing fields.
I witnessed an amazing play during a Junior flag football game. It was a spectacular 80-yard run, all the while being chased from behind by his opponent, who made a diving save at the goal line. The coach yelling, “And, that’s why we never give up!”
I also witnessed a rundown in a baseball game. The third baseman forced the opposing runner towards home plate, resulting in an errant throw to let in the winning run. The home team cheered while the baseball coach used the opportunity to teach the boys the proper way to execute a rundown and always force the runner back to his base.
The wind kicked up after a scrumptious pizza lunch, which created the perfect conditions for our sailors. Our boats glided with great speed across the lake. The boys used all of their strength and skill to control their vessels.
I watched the faces of some of our young artists light up as counselors helped put the finishing touches on their masterpieces in the Art Center. I had boys sit with me in my office in tears because a joke went too far, and they realized how much pain their words could inflict on others. I sat with those who were the recipients of those hurtful words and helped them process how impulsivity and the need to impress one’s peers, unfortunately, override good judgment and compassion for others.
I welcomed back our Okees from their rafting trip and realized how empty camp felt without their leadership. I hosted the Warrior Eagles (boys finished fourth grade) for a movie night at my home.
I walked a Crow camper into the bunk that his father lived in when he was the same age to show him his dad’s bunk plaque. In doing so, I witnessed a smile from the little boy with the recognition that he was following in his father’s footsteps. Perhaps, the Takajo experience would contribute to making him into the man his dad has become.
There’s so much to observe in one day, so many wonderful moments with campers and staff who are at such an impressionable age. I am cognizant of the role Camp Takajo plays in the growth and development of today’s youth.