I grew up, like so many, at Camp Kawaga. The friendships made and the lessons learned are exceeded only by the vivid memories from all my days on the Shores.
Walking into camp the first time as director, by myself, still months before the buses would roll down Kawaga Road bringing the campers, was magic. To say I was awestruck and enthusiastic about my new role — about my family’s new life — would be more than an understatement. To say I immediately felt the spirit of the place was piercingly accurate.
With the chill of spring hanging in the air, I walked up the hill and stopped. I gazed onto our new courts and toward our still-under-construction new Mess Hall that fit so perfectly and proudly into camp. I looked down. I realized I was standing where the Kawaga compass had sat for so many years, pointing not only west to where the sun sets in the evening, but also south to our row of cabins, east toward D2, and north to the bay. I took it all in, thinking about the meaning of the compass when one enters Kawaga.
I continued up the hill toward the Rec Hall, with its doors still sealed from the winter. As I made my way inside, my eyes were immediately drawn to an old Kawaga war canoe, which I later learned was from the 1930s. I noticed a compass painted on its side, which I had never before seen. Its paint was fading and cracking, revealing Kawaga’s age, while reminding me of the timelessness of what Kawaga stands for. Yes, another compass. But not just any compass. This one had, at its center, a CK emblem, which anchored the arrows pointing out in all four directions. My eyes rested on one arrow in particular. It pointed true north. That was the direction I was now entrusted to follow for Kawaga. And I trusted the compass would guide me well. This was Kawaga’s legacy and its future. A place founded, as Doc E said, for “fun, yes, but always with the thought of the final effect on the boy.”
Now, I had this CK compass to lead me into Kawaga’s second century. It points north, to which direction I next turned. I found myself facing Doc E’s ultimate direction: the Kawaga Ideal, which itself articulates our four cornerstone values of Enthusiasm, Fellowship, Sportsmanship, and Spirit. These values forever are inscribed in all of our hearts and also symbolically pointed to by the four arrows of the compass.
Yes, the compass. With Kawaga at its center. And pointing — directing us — to follow its values. I realized I didn’t just happen to stumble upon the compass as I entered camp as the “director.” I was directed to find it and to be led by it.
Where better — and how better — to find a new logo for Kawaga? One that comes from and pays homage to our glorious past, but also reaches strongly into the future.
What a gift our new logo is. Ponder it, enjoy it, be lifted by it. Wear it proudly. Be Kawaga.