There is a saying that we often use during the summer, “The days are long but the weeks fly by.” If you’ve spent any time in camp, I’m sure you would agree. Sitting at a table with campers during a meal, overseeing a bunk during cleanup, and running back-to-back hobby classes can be exhausting, but somehow we find ourselves scratching our heads, wondering how we’ve reached the home stretch.
The summer has flown by, and as we continue to see our boys run and play, sit side by side unencumbered by masks or Covid policies, my heart breaks thinking about what’s in store for our boys this fall. Our one objective at this point in our season is helping our boys make the most out of every moment they have left in camp. Today is a perfect example. Our Junior Olympics broke this morning, and our fifth and sixth grade boys are pumped for this head-to-head competition. As our boys walk around the camp in their green and grey bandanas, I witnessed fist bumps, high fives, and the acknowledgment that your team color highlights that you are a part of a new brotherhood.
Every field and court was in use throughout the day as the sun was shining and humidity levels were on the rise. Many games came down to the wire, which tested our boys’ humility in victory and defeat. I watched one Senior Captain quarterback his football team back from a large deficit only to suffer a heartbreaking loss as time expired during their last possession of the game. Juniors competed in tennis, newcomb, baseball, and soccer. The warm air presented its share of challenges as all teams had to dig a little deeper to preserve a victory. Our Warrior campers competed in basketball, lacrosse, hockey, and soccer. The skill development that has been acquired this summer was on full display as our boys competed with pride and conviction.
As I find myself happily distracted with our end of the season festivities, I took a moment to honor my brother, Kip, who would’ve turned 64 years old today. My brother was my best friend, confidante, and hero. We were close enough in age that I had a full appreciation for his accomplishments and his kind and gentle nature. Yet, there was enough of an age difference that as children, I idolized him and always wanted to make him proud of me. When I was twenty-seven years old, Takajo’s founder, Morty Goldman, presented me with the once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase Camp Takajo. Not having the resources or the knowledge, I turned to my big brother for help. Kip believed in me and felt that I was up to the challenge. I’ll never forget him saying, “Bro, you belong in camping, and I’m going to help you make it happen.” With no personal resources, we spent a year figuring out how to raise the capital to purchase the camp. Thirty-two years later, I find myself in a career that continues to challenge me, excite me, and inspire me. I never would’ve had this opportunity had it not been for my brother, Kip. On the day that I mourn the loss of my brother, I am comforted by being with your boys and watching them thrive. I thank you for this opportunity.