Ty’s Take Week 1 – 2022

Dear Kawaga Family,

I’m beyond thrilled to be sending you the first “Ty’s Take” of 2022, Kawaga’s 108th season. And, if the first two days are any indication…what a summer your boys will have!

From pre-camp (staff training) to Father-Son Weekend, there’s been a deeper level of connectedness than I think we’ve ever experienced.

We were fortunate to be able to bring in renowned business, sports journalist, author and TEDTalker, John U. Bacon to speak to our staff the second night of precamp. His message struck home in a big way. He brought to life two simple “rules” that centered our preparation for this season: 1) Work hard; and 2) Support your teammates.

We’ve challenged our staff more than ever, and they have responded! They are a cohesive team of dedicated, caring counselors who will lead your boys this summer.

As you know, we also challenge your sons at Kawaga. We encourage and support them to challenge themselves. Although it may seem counterintuitive to our sensibilities, we believe it’s better when some things are difficult. It makes camp that much more meaningful. Like their counselors, campers will feel a deeper sense of accomplishment. Yes, pre-camp was challenging for our staff, but fun. That’s what a Kawaga summer is like for your sons. As our founder Doc E famously wrote: “The overarching mission of Kawaga is character building. Fun, yes, but always with the thought in mind of the final effect on the boy.”

Campers challenge themselves individually and in groups. Everybody has their own starting point and their own special journey. They’ll be striving to invent a new version of themselves. Is it hard? Yes, and we pride ourselves on that. But, the results will be so much more impactful. And the journey will be even more special, more memorable and for many, life-changing.

So, our best-ever pre-camp roared into an amazing Father/Son Weekend, then into a smooth travel day, and now into an amazing (and, yes, hot!) start to the summer. We’re doing so much to keep your boys cool, relaxed, and having the time of their lives. They’re now experiencing what they’ve been waiting for, and they’re ready for it — with so much enthusiasm and a greater sense of purpose.

We’ve only had a little bit of homesickness among our first-year boys. It’s hard being away for the first time. Think about how long four weeks is to a 9-year-old. For many, this will be their first challenge they face without Mom and Dad. As a Director, I almost welcome homesickness, which probably surprises you. It’s because our boys get over it quickly and then they’ve already accomplished something huge. That experience will catapult their belief in themselves. And, on top of that newfound confidence, we stack Swimming the Bay, Big and Little Brother Pizza Night, and introductions to so many storied Kawaga traditions. Your boys are off to the best summer of their lives.

One important caveat: We all want results, but patience reigns supreme.We celebrate effort and perseverance.

We already have 46 new bay swimmers this summer! Our little guys are just cruising. We’re seeing tons of smiling faces. I just walked past our big court in front of the Mess Hall and saw 40 campers playing Omni Dodgeball, led by counselors who were creating such a moment. I saw all ages playing in that game, from our youngest Chips to our oldest CITs. I don’t know if this happens at other camps but the meshing of age groups organically is a common occurrence here. Kawaga provides such an amazing sense of community.

So, parents, please know your boys are doing great. And although it’s only
Day 4, to them it feels like they’ve been here for weeks. They’re fitting in, figuring it out, and feeling happy, energetic, and excited for what’s to come.

Be Happy. Be Excited. Be Kawaga.