June 16, 2022
Today, we had the Lake Swim. Roughly 100 campers (boys and girls who just finished 6th, 7th and 8th grades) swam across the lake and back. While some campers opted out of the swim, almost 95% decided to take on the challenge.
Two days ago, I wrote a blog about embracing your inner warrior rather than your inner worrier. In the article, I shared a story about a camper named Richard whose determination made a huge impression on me. He was a very slow swimmer, but he swam nonetheless. I like to tell people that I do not know who had the faster time that day many years ago, but in my mind the Lake Swim winner was Richard’s warrior.
Today, we saw another example. We had a camper in our oldest cabin that I had thought might opt out of the swim. Swimming is not one of her strong suits. In fact, it is harder for her than her peers. She chose to swim anyway.
Two things stand out as I think about her adventure. First, she was focused and determined. She saw this as a personal challenge to embrace and did not worry about anyone else.
Second, her entire cabin returned to the dock with their new “Lake Swim” shirts to cheer her own for a full 20 minutes. We often hear that “girls can be mean” and that they often fall into cliques.
But they can also model love and unity. I heard them cheer even when their cabinmate was out of earshot. They sang camps songs. They were playful and positive.
Also, it was completely clear to me that they were not putting on any act. The swimmer was their cabinmate – she was one of them. There was no other place they would have wanted to be.
After their cabinmate completed her swim, they exploded with cheers and greeted her with high-fives and hugs once she was on the dock.
When I told the Maxi Division Leader (who had swan with the camper stroke-for-stroke the entire time) about the cabin’s unity, she eyes welled with tears. She quickly wiped them away, smiled and said, “I am so proud of them!”
It was a wonderful morning to be at camp.
PS On a separate note, the Lake Swim also features the additional antics from Dodger Ma’am – our loving, if not confused, Bassett Hound. Dodger Ma’am deeply believes she has a job at the Lake Swim. Yes, I know that yesterday I told you that she believes that only she can protect our landlocked home from boats on the lake. But she ALSO believes that she needs to keep the campers safe on the Lake Swim. She does this by racing up and down the dock while barking and baying as the campers enter the water. I always warn the campers that she will engage in this hyperactive display, so they just laugh (it even distracts them from their nervousness). But we do need to put a life jacket on her to assure that she is OK if she falls in the lake while performing her duties. This picture shows you an exhausted dog, but you would be forgiven if you think it is an oddly designed suitcase.