Lauren’s Letter | “Thank You for What Your Boys Give All of Us”

Dear Parents,

Today is the last day of camp, and it’s beyond hard to believe how quickly the summer has flown by. When you’re in the throes of it all, the days seem full, but the weeks hurry by. Seeing the boys saying goodbye to each other gives you one more chance to see the relationships that have been built this summer. We are all part of the Kawaga family — every person at camp feels it and is fortunate for what we have here. The boys leave here with more than friends — it is a true brotherhood that is formed here.

Some take the role of the “little brother,” looking to the older campers to see how to act in certain situations — like being silent in the Mess Hall when Ty walks in until he blows his whistle. Last night during Banquet Night when our older campers were being honored, I could see the younger campers’ wide eyes imagining what it is going to feel like when they are in that position, hoping for the same recognition when they grow up. They look to the older campers to see their strong faces after losing a game as well as their humble faces after a win. They see kids standing up for what’s right, not always what is easy and learning that we can all make a difference in someone’s day.

Others are the “older brothers,” taking the time to teach new campers how to “Be Kawaga” like sharing the message last night of the impact that camp has had on their lives and who they’ve become. They take the time to be goofy and tell each other stories about when they were young campers. They help the younger boys improve their basketball shots or tweak their swim strokes for greater speed. The older guys encourage the younger ones to try experience new areas of camp and find activities that they didn’t know they liked!

Everyone gets to be a big brother to my three kids (Shay 4, Vaughn 3, Dane 1). Whether they are encouraging Shay to jump into the lake, picking up Vaughn to make a basket on the Omni, or playing peek-a-boo with Dane to keep him smiling, they are all playing a role in who my children are becoming, and I am so grateful for these relationships and the positive impact your boys are having on my children.

Thank you for sending your boys to Kawaga and giving them an opportunity to join this amazing family. We are all better for their being a part of it.

Be Kawaga,