Camp Kawaga Blog

Kawaga 39, Menominee 26. For the 6th summer in a row, the Kawaga Braves were victorious over the boys from the East. Most importantly, all 187 campers participated and helped Kawaga make it happen. It was a battle, but there were a lot of highlights for our boys, and none more than the spirit, enthusiasm and sportsmanship they constantly showed no matter the adversity that faced them. As our campers broke up into three age groups (Jr – 11 and under, Intermediate 12-13 and Sr – 14 and up), they played basketball, football, volleyball/newcomb, softball, soccer, and tennis.

There were a lot of great games at all ages, and with 65 games being played, it is too hard to highlight all of them. But I will try to summarize the age groups a bit.

The Seniors showing a lot of heart and dominating competition – going a combined 13-4 and doing it in style. All the Seniors participated, some highlights were the basketball teams with Z. Fleisher and the Wellek brothers going beast mode and dominating the boards in the A game, while J Moroh, B Dorfman and J Vigran did the same in B. In Soccer, it was a wipe out in 2 games with the boys controlling the ball on the pitch in both games and holding CM to no goals and few shots. Then in softball, the B team put up a 14 run inning to cruise to a victory behind Z Cohen’s pitching and K Hayes’ hitting, while the A team showed great heart in coming back from an early 6-0 deficit to make a great run only to come up short in the end.

For Intermediates, it was back and forth all day and mainly even overall. What I think this group began to learn was how to step up their game as the competition went on. It was difficult to watch early on as in some of the games, the coaches had to try very hard to keep the boys’ enthusiasm/energy level up. By the end of the 2nd day though, the Intermediates were pumped and excited to play together.  T Fro came up huge in vball to carry the A team to a win, and M Pollack was the man in his vball game. The Menakers starred in a big soccer win, J Adams was huge in football at QB, the entire tennis team was dominant, and the big highlight was H Menaker scoring an impressive OT goal in floor hockey on a crazy backhand shot.

Juniors were great. The score was even overall, but with over 90 juniors for CK, all of our boys played in at least 2 sports and had a blast. J Williams and N Weitzman led a huge football win, M Razek pitched a stellar game and C Fox hit a homer in a B Softball win, Gerstein was a monster in B hoops, H Menaker ended a crazy A softball game with a strike out, and then a pick off at first by L Bear which also included B Bernstein having a multi-hit game and a G Schneider homerun. K Cadden and J Adams had huge pins in wrestling as well.

All that said, while the overall victory is great – especially with all the effort our boys and staff put in, what matters much more was how our boys conducted themselves for the two days. All 187 boys played, all of our staff coached and reffed. It was a total team effort. Sportsmanship was top notch, the spirit and enthusiasm for Kawaga was at an all time high, and our boys showed great heart. No matter what was thrown their way or what they saw/heard, they lived up to the Ideal and conducted themselves amazingly. I was very proud.

One great lesson from competition is sportsmanship. At Kawaga, we teach our campers that sportsmanship is not just being a good and fair sport during a game. But it is not to let the other team win or have their way. We teach our boys that great sportsmanship starts with playing the RIGHT way – no arguing with each other or talking to the refs at all, and always trying to be positive and encouraging to your team.  But we also teach them that sportsmanship is playing the game as hard and as well as they can, and then the moment the game ends, shake hands and look the other team’s players in the eyes and say great game. Then the game is over and you move on. And our boys did just that. It was terrific to see, and makes me feel very good about our Camp.

The boys were so excited to be part of Kawaga and they showed it.  It gave me the goose bumps that you get a few times each summer. Great job Kawaga!!

With that, we move into Week 7. Sadly, we sent our 2 week Rookie Campers home this morning. 9 Rookies elected to stay the 4 weeks, (another 3 extended 1 week to 2) which is all very exciting and tells us our Rookie program is very strong. We look forward to seeing all of our Rookies back as full session campers in 2015.

Until next time…