July 17, 2016
During this session, I will be writing a fresh blog each day. We will also post 1-2 other articles that I have writing in the past that attempt to describe the power of summer camp.
But the fresh blog is created each day. Some days, it writes itself. Other days can be tricky. Perhaps I do not get a chance to even sit down until around midnight or I get minor cases of “write’s block”, but I will strive to share something each day.
The first day is perhaps the hardest day to write a blog. I can only report on half of a day and most of the day is highly scheduled, providing little room for interesting comments.
With this in mind, please let me simply thank you for having the faith in us to be part of your family. Susie Ma’am and I believe that being parents to our four children (twin boys 19, daughters 18 and 15) is the single greatest job we have ever had. We also believe that as camp directors, we get the opportunity to be “partners in the parenting process”. We think of this opportunity as a powerful calling that we take very seriously.
With this in mind, we strive to study the best practices in summer camp and to hire the best “counselor heroes” we can.
I am thrilled to report that the first 8 weeks of the summer have been great. I am so excited to have this team in place to serve your children.
In the words of one of our former directors, “I’m just EXCITED!”.
With that in mind, I will give you a report on the first day.
The keys to the first day and a half of camp are pretty simple:
By this standard, we have had a great start.
During our first night (Sunday), each division spent 45 minutes together after dinner. A division consists of 4-6 cabins of campers. During this meeting, the Division Leaders teach the campers their division’s “roll call” (a song or chant unique to them) and then have them play a game that gets them interacting.
After that, we had our first torchlight (the picture is from a torchlight ceremony). [Note: we have a camp dad that attended camp in the 1970’s. He credits camp for helping him hone his character and courage. He developed enough courage to move to Japan with no knowledge of Japanese, where he married a Japanese woman and became quite successful. He managed to horrify his Japanese in-laws when he told them that their then 7 year-old son would be flying to the Texas to attend Camp Champions. His sons are now in their 8th and 6th summers at camp. He is a part-time photographer and occasionally shares a fun photo. The Torchlight picture is one of his.]
During torchlight, we had a skit during which Susie Ma’am explained that one product can replace shampoo, deodorant, sunscreen, toothpaste and Gold Bond: mustard. Five different counselors approach her complaining that they forgot a particular toiletry, whereupon she assures them that she “has just what they need . . . Mustard!” It is a silly skit that always gets a great reception.
Torchlight ended with a short fireworks display whereupon the campers went back to their cabins for their first “nightly ritual”.
It was a great night.
PS In case you are wondering why we are “Susie Ma’am” and “Steve Sir”, here is the explanation. One of our “4 R’s” is “respect”. So everyone at camp has a camp name which is their normal name followed by “sir” or “ma’am”. Susie Ma’am, originally from Boston, found this terribly odd at first, but she now loves this tradition because it creates a verbal reminder that everyone matters.