It was great to see our Senior Subs and Okees back in the dining room this morning. Just watching them sit together over breakfast, you could see that they just came from an experience that was incredibly meaningful and very fun. The boys were eager to jump back into the program this morning and started with a round-robin beach volleyball tournament, which was the perfect way to ease back into the swing of things.
Our Junior Greys came back from their whitewater rafting trip filled with enthusiasm as this was the first time many of the boys had a chance to shoot the rapids and feel the exhilaration of bouncing around in a large raft.
Our Warrior Eagles (finished fourth grade) woke up before reveille and gobbled down a quick breakfast so they could board our buses and get an early start on their Big Trip. Our boys spent the day at Water Country USA – no better place to spend the day during this mid-summer heat wave.
There are moments in camp that I believe can truly help define a child’s outlook on life. These moments could help children develop confidence, self-esteem, and the inner strength to face their fears. I believe that today we had one of those moments in camp. For the past three years, one of our campers has quietly and discretely attempted to get up on water skies. Each time he tried and failed, it impacted his self-esteem and self-confidence and, on many levels, subconsciously may have defined how he felt about himself around his peers. Seeing others succeed can sometimes deflate one’s ego and having the ability to withstand the fear of rejection takes grit and determination. Admittedly, this was an inner struggle that this little boy has wrestled with for years until today.
We woke up and the sun was shining. The water was calm, and as I stood overlooking the lake, I smiled and thought to myself, today is this little guy’s day. Coming out of breakfast, we tapped him on the shoulder and gave him the encouragement to try one more time. While a little reluctant, he’s one who never wants to disappoint, so he acquiesced. Tips barely out of the water, knees bent, arms straight, with a little fear in his eyes, the boat pulled him out of the water, and he popped right up on his skies. We could all feel his self-confidence growing with every passing second that he stayed up. The boat continued to move further away from the dock, and this little boy was skiing for the first time. The joy on his face was not only shared by the ski instructor, his counselors, bunkmates, and yours truly, but we quickly shared this incredible news with his parents who were sobbing with joy.
Getting up on skis was a goal this camper had for years, but more importantly, it’s emblematic of the daily stress and anguish so many of us feel in our daily lives. I’ve always felt that some of our happiest moments are often first faced with anxiety and trepidation– walking into a classroom for the first day only to later meet your best friends, giving a speech at an event knowing the impact you made on those in the audience, walking down the aisle to exchange vows and now seeing the incredible family that one has created. At every stage of our lives, we are faced with moments when we just have to say yes and figure out how to do it. I’d like to think this happens often in camp and that it prepares children for facing greater challenges in the future. I know today it did for one little boy in camp.