It’s possible that we peaked today. It’s difficult to imagine that we could have a more exciting, exhilarating, or fulfilling day than the one we just experienced. The day began as the camp came together at the council ring for the Olympic song competition. Many of you may be familiar with color war at summer camps– when the entire camp is split down the middle and two teams compete for multiple days in all sports and skills. At Takajo, we have Olympics, which, while similar in concept, differentiates us because we run three separate Olympics for each division simultaneously.
The philosophy is that we want to compete by age division and not put an enormous amount of pressure on our youngest boys to win points for our oldest boys. Nevertheless, we come together as one camp for the song competition. It’s heartwarming to see our boys wearing green and grey tee-shirts arriving at our most sacred place in camp via single file, with some of our youngest campers standing shoulder to hip with our oldest boys. Needless to say, these little boys idolize our older campers and revel in this opportunity to participate in this event. Each group sang four camp songs, ironically in harmony, followed by an original song that was created by members of each team. The Grey Team’s original song was to the tune of Dancing Queen, while the Greens’ original song was to the tune of George Ezra’s Budapest. The lyrics spoke to their love of camp, the camp’s arch ideals, and their loyalty to one another. The Green Team won the song competition by a very narrow margin.
After lunch, the Warriors had their whacked-up relay, a relay race that runs through the entire camp when every boy participates in one event with the culmination being the pie-eating contest. This event takes days to organize but runs in an hour. Every camper sprints from event to event, cheering on their teammates and friends until we reach the finale. Dripping in sweat and exhausted, our Warriors had a blast participating in this relay.
Finally, this evening, we held our final banquet. Our boys showered and put on their finest clothing, for some that means clean, as we came to the dining room for a delicious chicken parmesan feast. There were speeches by campers and staff that were heartfelt and poignant. The final banquet is symbolic for many reasons. It is a joyous celebration honoring the hard work of our staff and the incredible achievements of our campers.