As I watched the Evening Program (EP) tonight, I saw pure joy and happiness. It made my heart feel good. Tonight’s EP is a simple one – we call it Pros v. Joes – where the campers play the counselors in 15 different sport and non-sport events. As I looked across Diamond 1, the Omni and OD Courts, I witnessed 140 campers and 40 staff members in a frenzied state of fun, as for nearly 2 straight hours they just played. There was 3 on 3 basketball and football TD catches of course, but also trampball, doubles tennis, volleyball/newcomb, water chug, arm wrestling, tug o’ war (hysterical) trivia and ro sham bo, and we even threw in the nurse’s station ankle wrap (how fast can you wrap that ankle?).
Tug o war was my favorite to watch as 10 chips would tug against 2-3 counselors with all of their might and huge smiles on their faces. The end result was inevitable, 10 chips laying along the ground having conceded defeat. But the giggling and pure delight that accompanied “defeat” was for the ages.
And really that is what hit me, the boys tried their very hardest. They really wanted to beat their counselors and have that chest bumping moment in time, which all of them achieved at various points throughout the night. But win or lose, after giving it their all, there was nothing but hand shakes, fist bumps and smiles. “Proud and unbending in defeat” and “a touch of humility” as the Ideal says to all Kawaga braves.
I know we are not going to solve all of the world’s many problems here on the Shores in 4 or 8 week increments. But I am supremely confident that we are sending our boys out into the world more confident and prepared to handle the world around them. They can look their opponent in the eye, give it their best shot without flinching, without concern for failure, and go for it! They are learning to work in a team, overcome adversity, and put themselves out there. This will pay massive dividends for them all in the future and, I hope, they will also spread the Ideals of Kawaga to their friends and family as they return home.
All of that from one night of Pros v. Joes – cannot wait to see what the next 50 or so nights bring!!
More to come…