Thanks for reading my first “Lauren’s Letter” of 2019, Kawaga’s 105th summer. First, please know that your boys are absolutely amazing and that Ty and I are humbled and grateful every day to be taking care of them this summer. We thoroughly enjoy watching them grow, laugh, play, and learn.
We’re now three years into our directorship of Camp Kawaga. In that time, the growth we’ve seen in your boys has been amazing. Those who were Chips our first summer are now Mohawks, fully in the throes of their camp experience. Those who were Mohawks are now confident CITs, who left this week for the annual wilderness Boundary Waters trip, which is an experience they will never forget and always cherish. And, those who were CITs then are now second-year counselors, forming the core of our staff. That’s the Kawaga way.
I’ve proudly seen everyone develop. I’m personally seeing and living what Ty has always talked about before I ever set foot on camp’s grounds: Doc E’s vision of boys becoming men, in the very best sense of the word. Young men who are kind, compassionate, active and enthusiastic. My own relationship with our campers has deepened. I’m getting to know your boys better every day and every week, having now spent three summers as their “Camp Mom,” seeing them discover themselves and make lifelong friends at this special place.
As a mom of three, I can sense if a boy needs a shoulder to rest his head on, encouragement to do something he hasn’t done before, or a buddy to hang out with. Now that our daughter Shay is almost 5, I’m becoming more attuned to what the little ones need. I’ve learned that I can make a boy’s day better by asking about his clubs or cheering him on in activities. This past Sunday night, I attended the Chip council meeting. I witnessed one boy get nominated twice for honorary roles, but he didn’t win either time. I could tell he was so hoping to become a Chip officer. But, like a true Kawaga camper, he immediately congratulated the boys who did win. He was surprised when I found him Monday morning and told him, “I’m so proud of you for getting nominated not once, but twice. That shows how much the other Chips look up to you.” What a smile he gave me – so proud and pleased. That’s what “Be Kawaga” is all about.
Our own children feel even more a part of Kawaga this summer, and I have your boys to thank for that. This week, as Ty made his after-meal announcements in the packed Mess Hall holding up Shay, she somewhat shyly whispered in Ty’s ears: “Dane turns 1 in two days. Everyone has to sign a card for him.” She was thrilled when Ty repeated her words back verbatim to the whole camp, which of course resulted in thunderous cheering. Every camper signed Dane’s birthday card. To top it off, Dane started walking, which also got him a Mess Hall cheer from all the boys.
Your boys are loving the brand-new Chip Lodge! Wait until you see the building at Parents Weekend. Just like the Mess Hall, it fits perfectly into Kawaga. When you walk inside, you’re in awe of its space and beauty. We did discover one problem, however: it was built too well! When Ty and I do “rounds” each night after Taps (we walk to each cabin, shine a flashlight inside, and ask the boys if “Everybody’s in?” and “Everybody’s all right?” before saying “Good night”), we learned on the first night that we had to walk inside the doors to both Chip One and Chip Two for the boys to hear us!
Parents, magic happens every day for your boys here at Kawaga. Thank you for sharing your children with us and allowing us to witness these daily miracles.
Until next time,