Ty’s Take | “Let ‘Em Play”


Before last night’s evening program, I paused for a moment up by the compass, which offers an expansive view of the main area of camp. I quietly observed our campers enjoying unstructured time. Our after-dinner “open areas” (when the boys get to choose what to do) has long been one of my favorite times of the day. The intensity of the sun calms while the Kawaga spirit comes alive.

As I stood overlooking D1 (our field in the heart of camp), I could view two knockout games, a game of 500, campers playing soccer, older boys hitting a 16-inch softball, a 3-on-3 basketball game, two guys casually hitting tennis balls, friends swinging on the picture bench, and others laying on the Omni hill just hanging out and taking in all the action. Just then, a bald eagle flies over the field. I’m certain I’m the only one to see it.

All this activity. And none of it was planned. How refreshing, exciting, and healthy for these guys. They made all this happen on their own, just wanting to play and be with each other. What I can’t shake from my head is how easy and natural all this is at camp, but how painfully different this all would be if the boys had their phones with them. Being untethered creates the space for kids to soak up the moment, doing what they choose in this peaceful, beautiful place.

Here at Kawaga, your boys’ attention is on the moment not the screen. They make choices and play without the pressures of a parent watching or a phone pointed at them for the next social-media post. They’re at camp. On the shores. With their friends. And, we’re gonna let them play!