Our boys were treated to another beautiful day at Camp Takajo. Blue skies, a light breeze, and temperatures in the mid-seventies are becoming the norm around here, and no one’s complaining. We ran our regular program today, welcoming our Okees back on the fields after a few days off. We continued to sprinkle in some fun, creative ways to keep our boys happy and engaged.
The beach parties and canoe relay races proved to be a huge hit so today some of our Warrior and Junior campers were introduced to an old classic, tennis golf. Modeled after frisbee golf, our boys grabbed their tennis rackets and a ball and played an eighteen-hole tournament around camp. Holes included a par four from the stone water fountain in front of our waterfront, all the way up to the roof of the Takajo Arch. A par three hole ran from the MJG Playhouse sign, hitting the “A” on the side of the Takajo Sports Pavilion. The boys had a blast. Tennis balls were flying throughout camp, and shouts of “Fore!” echoed across the campus. Make no mistake about it, there was great strategy and skill displayed during this event. Boys attempted to hit over buildings, tried to ricochet shots off trees, and did everything they could to create a strategic advantage.
Senior group leader Neil Minsky took a more intellectual approach with his creative program. Neil resorted back to his teaching background and hosted a massive trivia show contest. Teams consisted of all campers from every bunk in Senior Camp. Neil was the game show host who entertained the boys with his inimitable flair. Meanwhile, there is a massive rock, paper, scissor contest taking place throughout the entire camp. This silly game is drawing huge crowds as a bracket that once included every camper and counselor in camp continues to whittle down.
As I often like to do at the end of the day, I took a moment to reflect on a meaningful conversation that I had with a member of our camp family. As I was walking into the dining room for breakfast this morning, I noticed one of our fourth-grade campers making his way into the building. I turned to him with a smile and with a tinge of sarcasm, I said, “Hey, you’re still here?”
With an enormous smile and without hesitation the little boy replied, “Where else would I rather be?” Five weeks ago, this little boy wished he was anywhere but Camp Takajo. His parents were traveling yet he tried desperately to negotiate that he would be the perfect candidate to house sit in his empty home. It took a village– his counselors, bunkmates, and many of our Okees, who at one point during their camping career had similar feelings, all took their best shot, and admittedly there were many days when it felt it was all to no avail. Yet five weeks later, this little guy walks happily in stride with his bunkmates into breakfast.
There are times in our lives that we feel emotionally trapped. We convince ourselves that things can’t improve, yet we are all in control of our own destinies. Usually, our greatest roadblock is the one we put in front of ourselves. With an open mind and the acceptance of those who love and care for you, your potential is unlimited.