July 8, 2016
Twice each week, Susie Ma’am and I invite the Senior Campers into our home for chats we call Baskin Talks (admittedly not the most original name). Each of the three age groups (finishing 9th, 10th and 11th grades) meets separately for an hour.
During these talks, we discuss a wide variety of subjects, including leadership techniques, living with intentionality, the importance of sleep, and choosing the right college. Today was the next to last such meeting for the 9th and 10th graders, but the last for the 11th graders.
This group is both large (32) and impressive. I would estimate that they have over 175 summers of camp between them. They have embraced the challenges of the program with great success and they are also unfailingly supportive of each other.
On Monday, they will board a bus for a 3-day retreat to the mountains of West Texas. They will hike, camp-out, share stories and (most importantly) write a mission statement that they will share with each other and the camp.
I am very excited to see what they come up with. I have noticed that few people lead intentional lives that stem from a central mission or belief. Most people seem to live more reactive existences, living from event to event: (e.g., relationship to relationship, test to test, project to project). I do not want to seem critical of this. It is absolutely the norm.
For that reason, I think that the fact that these Senior Campers will attempt to codify their values and their mission is quite extraordinary.
They typically do not name a profession, but they are very clear about the kind of friend, sibling, spouse, and parent they will be. Of course, they do not fully know what being a parent entails, but they still strive to commit to being the best that they can. I am delighted to report that they often say that they will be “a parent that puts the needs of my children ahead of my own, just like my parents.” Our teens rarely tell us that they appreciate our efforts, but please know that they tell us.
They will read their statements to us next Thursday at a banquet that we throw in their honor. These 2-3 hours become one of the absolute top moments of each session.
As they read their thoughts, I cannot help but see them as tiny first year campers. Several are in their 10th summer at camp, having arrived as 7 or 8 year-olds. When they read their mission statements, I cannot help but remember them as wide-eyed first-year campers.
As I look at the faces of all our campers, I wonder how many of them will sit in our home in 3 or 6 or 9 years and talk about the men and women they plan to be.
I hope we get to hear all of them!
PS The photo shows the SCATS (the oldest girl Senior Campers) dressed up to host Ms Champini.