July 20, 2020
We miss the chance to talk with parents and adult friends. We miss some people in particular.
One of the oddities of this summer is the fact that we are a closed bubble. Counselors do not go into town for any reason. We cannot chat with parents on Openings and Closing. We have a no-visitor policy.
Before I go any further, I should recognize that not all of this is bad. Losing the ability to chat with parents on Opening Days is a bummer, but it is worth it. Having the campers leave your car and enter their cabin communities is truly superior to the alternative. We see happier campers and less homesickness. So that will continue.
Closing, however, will likely return to its normal structure next summer. We like being able to show you a little slice of camp and then allow time to talk with counselors and with us. These hours fill our hearts as well as help us understand what you are thinking.
But the one adjustment that snuck up on me was the lack of visitors. I know that seems odd, so let me explain. I, of course, understood we would have no visitors, but I did not fully understand something simple. That would mean not seeing Leah Ma’am and Robbie Sir.
For the first summer in over a decade, they will not be with us. Leah Mesches became a director with us in 2009. Soon thereafter, she would marry Robbie Messner and he would become inexorably intertwined with camp. Before long, he became our Activity Director. In 2013, they added Lucy Ma’am (a sweet dog that looks like a wolf). Daughter Lola Ma’am joined us in 2015 and quickly won our hearts. To this day, she arranges her stuffed animals for a regular Torchlight ceremony in their Austin home. In 2019, Wally Sir came along.
While pregnant with Wally Sir, Leah Ma’am gave us her 2 years notice. [Yes, you saw that correctly – 2 years. It was critical to Leah Ma’am that CC continue without missing a step.] During her time with us, she formed the Champions Education Foundation (CEF), our 501(c)(3) that helps sponsor children for Camp Champions and the Outdoor School. She also earned a Masters in Social Work and became a certified yoga instructor.
But with the addition of their second child, they wanted more family time. In addition to working here in the summer, Robbie Sir is one of the state’s best AP Calculus teachers and was a superior Lacrosse coach. But school + lacrosse + camp equaled no family time. So they have both taken a step back. He dropped lacrosse and camp and she got a “normal’ job.
Because they were so conscientious in their transition, we have been able to move forward without missing a beat. But we do miss them. A lot.
I had expected them to make some regular appearances during each session. I had pictured Leah Ma’am teaching the occasional yoga class while Robbie might judge “Mock Rock”.
I wanted to see how talkative Lola Ma’am is and how ambulatory Wally Sir is. [Note: I am told that the answer to both questions is “extremely”.]
We keep in touch. Leah Ma’am still chairs the CEF and is always willing to share her insight. Robbie Sir is happy to give us a hard time when we get on the phone with him.
But we will enjoy seeing them here next summer.