And just like that, it’s over.
Camp is way too calm and quiet as I type this, as if the wind has been let out of our sails. There’s no laughter in the cabins, not a ball on the courts, and there’s a sudden stillness in the Mess Hall that just doesn’t feel right. There’s an emptiness that’s beginning to sink in and has us wishing we had just a few more days together.
But as I quickly look back on this summer, I’m energized by the countless friendships our campers forged and the lessons they learned. Lauren and I are so grateful to not only to have had the absolute privilege of taking care of your sons this this summer, but to also bear witness to their many accomplishments.
Each summer culminates in the final event of the camping season, Banquet Night, when achievement is on full display. As many of you know, trophies are awarded on Banquet Night that honor a few campers who, in the opinion of our staff, best personify our core values, including Spirit, Enthusiasm, Sportsmanship, and Fellowship, while other campers are given awards based on their success in various competitions. The extra points earned by these award winners helped several achieve Mawanda and Sachem last night, giving these boys a night they’ll never forget.
The effort our campers gave this summer continued until the last minute. Watching them work so hard and care so much was personally one of my proudest moments of the summer. Your boys — our campers — showed great heart all summer long. Last night was about recognition, celebration, and reflection.
I spoke to the campers and staff about the deeper meaning and lessons to be taken from either achieving or coming up short on a goal. There are lessons from both outcomes. And, we clearly believe that missing a goal, despite putting in the effort, should be taken as feedback not failure.
A camper’s first night back home is special, but it also will likely be bittersweet for them. Just like you, the boys are excited to be back — to see you, hug you, answer many of your questions, and tell stories about their favorite moments at camp. But, when they’re alone in their room for the first time, that’s when it usually hits them. They’re missing their cabinmates, their counselors, all the activity.
It takes some getting used to their being back home — for you, too. But, that’s when they realize it’s time to start the countdown to Kawaga 2019! Let that silence be their reminder to them about how much Kawaga means to them, how amazing their parents are for giving them the gift of camp, and that they’re so fortunate to be part of your family and ours.
So, that’s a wrap on Kawaga 2018. Lauren and I are so grateful to all of you parents for entrusting us with your sons and for allowing us to help create memories that will last a lifetime. We’re honored to be a part of your sons’ lives and yours. We only hope that all of our campers had as rewarding and as rich an experience this summer as we did.
“Everybody all right?”
“So long, fellas!”