As always, camp is just flying by. The boys are having a great time here. As I said to a group of moms yesterday during a tour of Camp Kawaga, we are simply a HAPPY CAMP right now. 180 boys (after a dozen went home from Rookie Camp yesterday) that are being led by a group of counselors who GET IT and a bunch of young camping men that are here to have fun, make friends and play every day. It has been a pleasure for Dewey and I as Directors this summer, and in particular during a fabulous second session.
This was never more evident than a hysterical camp moment that happened the other day during lunch. As some of you may know, we started a bit of stir in the Mess Hall last summer when we introduced 2 new elements to our Mess Hall. Literally on opposite sides of the dining area, we added a large commercial toaster and a wooden rack for sauces (aptly name Sauce Rack). And of course, in true camp fashion, you have to like one more than the other. Well the other day, the Sauce Rack v. Toaster debate went to a whole new level as I watched the entire camp, EVERY member of staff included, rise up on two sides of the Mess Hall cheering for either Sauce Rack or Toaster at the top of their lungs. New cheers were created, funny ones at that, and there was no in between. You either are for us or against us, you either love the Sauce Rack with its choices of BBQ sauces, hot sauce and other condiments, or you simply appreciate warm toast and a bagel more than anything else in camp at that moment!!
The cheers were hysterical and full throated. And all of it had no meaning, it was just CAMP. Pure, unadulterated fun, 100% participation, and not a care in the world that it was silly or who was cheering for which side. Just smiles, laughter and fun as I sat there and shook my head with goose bumps running up my arms because I knew this was one of those moments I would remember, yet could not explain to anyone who was not there to see it. If you have never been to camp, it is truly inexplicable how these things happen or why, or just how much fun CAMP really is
for your children. Yet it does happen – ALL THE TIME. In big ways and in small.
For me, I just appreciate that our boys have come together this summer in such a big way, and that they could have so much fun together in a moment of madness and joy.
And the debate will continue – Sauce Rack or Toaster – which team are you on???
As most of you know, Kawaga is very proud of its traditions and heritage. One of our strongest traditions, something that makes us probably the most proud, is the love and continuing traditions of our multi-generational families. Recently, we received an email from one of our fathers whose son, Jonah, is joining us at camp for the first time this summer during 2nd session. Ian’s feelings and thoughts really hit home with Dewey and I, and we wanted to share it with our camp family. Here, unedited, is the email we received that we wanted to share:
I am a third generation Kawaga brave. My Uncle, Chuck Rubovits, was a camper at Kawaga for the first time in either the summer of 1915 or 1916. All manner of Rubovits, Brasch and Alexander men spent their formative summers on the shores of Lake Kawaguesaga. Yesterday, I dropped my son off at the bus for the beginning of what I hope is his first of many summers on the shores. Kawaga means a lot to me. I met my best friend (to this day) when we were ten year old campers at Kawaga. To say that I am beyond thrilled that my son is carrying on a family tradition is the understatement of my life.
Jonah never had a choice about where he would spend this summer. When he was hours old I read the Kawaga Ideal to him in his crib. He has always known that he would go to Kawaga because for me there was no other option. I am lucky that my wife has indulged me in what I consider an essential part of his childhood. I only hope that he is able to experience the joy and learn the lessons that I experienced as a camper at Kawaga. Thank you for your part in raising him so that his wishbone will not be where his backbone should be.
I had no idea how much his departure yesterday would affect me. As a former camper, I have some understanding of what life at Camp Kawaga is like. Together we watched videos online, went to father son camp and met with you during the off season. We did all of these things so that he would know what to expect when he was finally ready to become a camper. What I didn’t know or realize is how much his first summer at camp would affect me. When Jonah was four months old I had a near death experience. Thankfully, I am fine now. At that time, I prayed that I would live to see Jonah through certain milestones in his life. The first of which was becoming a Kawaga brave. Yesterday we met the milestone. I am so excited that he is up at camp and learning things about himself that I believe are essential to his development as a person. The “I have not lived my life in vain” part of the Ideal is becoming a reality. It is hard to express the emotions that I felt yesterday and continue to feel now.
For me, Kawaga is a part of my DNA. Learning to laugh at myself was one of the best lessons that I learned at camp. I am positive that Jonah is going to take great lessons away from this summer all of which will help make him into the kind of person that I know he will one day become. I am excited to see pictures of him, read letters and hear the stories of what life at camp is like for him. Thanks again for your part in building my son.