June 6, 2011
It is almost 11:00 and your children are in bed and resting for another day at camp.
Camp is peaceful. A light breeze blows through the screens and the cabins are cool and quiet. I often take this time to share some thoughts with you.
Now I have a lot and I am not sure which ones to share, so I will toss out several.
It is serene now, but it was not so peaceful 2 hours ago. We had the entire camp gather at the Coliseum for our introductory Torchlight. Torchlight is a time each evening that we gather together, sing songs, make announcements, celebrate our community and have fun.
Tonight was an eventful one. We had fireworks. We introduced the leadership team and some key traditions. We sang the Torchlighter Song and “Golden Champions”. And we had “The Worlds Greatest Counselor Skits”. Let me assure you, that the name is misleading. The skits are silly and unevenly presented, but they are long-time favorites and the kids loved them.
Of course, I think you can interpret “Worlds Greatest Counselor Skits” to mean “skits of indeterminate quality presented by the world’s greatest counselors” and I think it might actually be accurate.
I am so pleased with our counselors this year. OK, I am pleased every year. We believe that counselors are the key to excellence in camp. We have the opportunity to provide role models (“counselor heroes”) who will make positive impressions on our campers. So we put as much effort into finding, training and retaining counselors as any camp in the nation.
Nevertheless, I am particularly happy with this crew. They are cohesive, positive and deeply motivated by our mission statement (“Our passion is to help every camper grow into the Champion God intends him or her to be”).
I watched as they got on eye level with your children when meeting them.
I saw them creating games of Simon Sez and Duck, Duck, Goose and Little Sally Walker for the 7-9 year olds during the occasional 10 minute down time. I love watching the campers leading the games while the counselors participate. It is a true joy to watch how absorbed they are as they play on the grass as the shadows lengthen after dinner.
Before dinner, counselors met with their cabins and had them establish their own cabin rules. We believe that allowing campers to form their own mini-communities helps them grow as well as make them more likely to comply with the cabin rules. The counselors act like facilitators and make sure that no major area is left out. For example, a counselor of 13 year-old girls might ask “what do we think about gossip”, but should then let the campers create the rules themselves.
I also loved getting a chance to see so many of you today. If you are new to Camp Champions, you should know that Susie Ma’am and I really admire your willingness to share your child with us. We know it is not an easy decision to separate from your child. We know it can be a big financial commitment. We also know that it must drive you crazy when your friends suggest that you are “sending your kids away”. This is not a convenience for you, but an investment in your child.
We want to create an environment that celebrates each child while providing real growth-inducing challenges. We want to encourage independence coupled with teamwork, fun paired with skills.
Thank you for being part of the Camp Champions family.
I also hope you enjoy the articles and the pictures!