June 28, 2020
A camper gave a gift to Susie Ma’am and me. It is not something we thought we wanted, but it turns out it was exactly what we needed.
It was a dragon made of rubber bands.
Actually, it is really very cool looking and totally original. Check it out.
But it is not the dragon alone that won our hearts. It was the accompanying note.
To start, it was handwritten. I had some reason to suspect that “handwritten” had gone the way of 8-track tapes and home phones. But I was wrong.
Not only could he write, he did so beautifully.
“Dear Steve Sir and Susie Ma’am,
Thank you so much for being the best camp directors I could ever imagine! I know this summer was hard for all of us, but now that we can come to this amazing camp, our summer got a whole lot better! Thanks to you, I have had the time of my life the past 4 summers, and I cannot wait because this is my 5th summer! As a thank you gift for everything, I made you a little dragon out of rubber bands with CC colors! It is very special for multiple reasons. It was my prototype/trail run for a new design mini-sized dragon that I made up, because I make a tutorial on YouTube for how to make my dragons! It is also special because I made a little mistake on the face, so I made a back-story! Back-story: the dragon was the only one of his friends that couldn’t fly. So he took a reasonable risk and jumped. He hurt his head, but learned to fly and now is the best flyer!” He then offers (on page 2) a series of potential names for the dragon, including Champion, Purple Peace, LBJ, Hondo and (my favorite) Screamer.
I am a little embarrassed how much this dragon touched me. Susie Ma’am loved it as well, but I am keeping ol’ Screamer on my desk.
To start, I just love the fact that this is a prototype. It (he) is not some mass-produced item, but a product of creativity and love.
Second, I adore the back story. If you read the blog about the Four Rs, you know that “Reasonable Risks” is one of them. To make an error into an asset – and to do so while espousing a core value of camp - is just plain clever.
Finally, there are days I feel a little like the dragon that is trying to fly and is unsure what to do. After being a camp director for 28 summers, this one has been the most unusual and unpredictable. I am never quite sure what the next challenge will be. I sometimes wonder if I will be able to fly.
But I, like Screamer, might have gotten a little banged up, but am flying now.
Of course, the wise and talented Susie Ma’am has been flying all the time – no facial scars there.
Meanwhile, I have a small reminder of kindness, creativity and perseverance sitting on my desk.