I have said it before and I will say it again… I just love camp!!! Everything about it makes me happy. Watching the campers and counselors be totally free in spirit is beyond amazing. You see it everywhere you look around camp, during the evening programs, activities, and, my personal favorite, Kawaga’s Mess Hall.
In our Mess Hall we sing, dance and cheer constantly…like all the time. From the time the whistle blows to start the meal, to the time it blows to end the meal, the Mess Hall is filled with beautiful noise. Fight songs from every college, Kawaga songs and cheers and “knit one, purl twos.” From “Jacob White, fight fight fight!!!” to “let me see your sprinkler,” campers and counselors are on their feet shouting and dancing along and no one cares what anyone else thinks.
I love this because no where else in the world will you see this. For instance, take “knit one, purl two…” for those of you who don’t know what that it is, it is a cheer for when one of the boys has a “crush” on a girl, or maybe even just receives a letter from a girl (girls camps do this too!) It goes like this… “Knit one, purl two, John Scott this one’s for you (at this point EVERYONE in the Mess Hall has their hands up waiting to hear the rest). “Where there is Jazz you’ll find bluesy, where there is John you’ll find Suzi!!” Everyone then cheers like crazy. It is at that point I think… can you imagine this happening in the dining hall on a college campus or the lunch room of a high school? It simply would not. Only camp gives your son this freedom.
As I sit and enjoy the show from the head table, I see 7-25 year old boys/men, literally and cheeringly “Go bananas, go go bananas!” or Dance in the spotlight and sing along to the Kawaga iPod shuffle. I have watched boys who arrive at camp week 1 quiet and reserved, but then standing on a bench and leading cheers by the end of the week!
Here they are free – no stress, no judgment – just themselves and happy. They are silly, laugh at themselves and with each other, and celebrate camp and life with each other. They cheer each other on and pick each other up. There is a quote from Mark Twain that can sum it all up:
“Sing like no one is listening. Dance like nobody is watching and live like it’s heaven on earth.”
For us, Kawaga IS heaven on earth.
Gotta run, it’s almost time to “go Bananas!!!”