Tak Talk Blog- Camp Takajo – July 3, 2024

By July 3, 2024 Tak Talk

I had a phone conversation today with a terrific camp mom who wanted to understand more about her son’s experience living in his bunk. She’s received letters where he indicates he’s made a best friend followed by notes indicating that he’s annoyed with the boy sleeping next to him. I explained to the mother that we’re at that stage in the summer when everybody drops their guard, and their true personalities are on display.

As boys have settled into camp and have become very comfortable with their surroundings, familiarity has set in, sometimes creating attention-seeking behavior in the bunks. Some boys display this behavior because they seek positive reinforcement: they’re the first to help with cleanup or assist a counselor when asked. Other boys attract negative attention by focusing on their needs and wants, inadvertently creating unnecessary conflict in the bunk.

What’s unique about a residential camp is that this is one’s home for the summer. Therefore, campers must return to the bunk with the same boys they interacted with throughout the day. There’s no carpool at three o’clock removing a child from his environment so he gets to reset at home for the following day.

Camp creates an environment where one can’t hide from their indiscretions. I often think of what the parents of our campers would be like if we put them in an environment where they live in a bunk with beds one foot apart from each other, with virtually no privacy or opportunity to step away.

It’s difficult to live in a bunk. One of the greatest skills a child will learn at camp is how to “read the room,” to know when it’s appropriate to tell a joke or come out with a one-liner, and to recognize when someone else’s needs may be more important than his own. Developing this skill of social awareness will serve these boys well throughout their lives.