August 5, 2022
[This is the first of two blogs - a Point-Counter-Point (like 60 Minutes used to do). Here is the “Point”. Dodger Ma’am will submit her “Counter-Point”.]
It is good to feel safe.
One of our internal sayings is “three of our three favorite words are safety, safety, safety.”
We train counselors to focus on safe activities. For example, our waterfront and high ropes counselors undergo a 40 hour training course.
We also instruct our staff on emotional safety – recognizing when campers are homesick, anxious, nervous or struggling with relationships.
Our concern is not limited to our campers. We have regular check-ins with our counselors so that we know how they are doing.
We have 6 RNs and 4 student nurses here on property who partner with our 3 camp doctors who live within 15 minutes – so we want to be healthy as well as safe.
At our best, we help campers feel safe while we strive to foster growth and pride. We want to help them discover the best version of themselves.
But, you may wonder, what keeps Susie Ma’am and Steve Sir safe? How are we protected from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?
For those of you who are thus worried, please know that we have our protectors – our sentinels.
In this picture, you see our stalwart defenders. Yes, that is Dodger Ma’am (our camp Bassett Hound) and a stuffed tiger (already featured in the other blog today). They sit proudly, dare I say defiantly, scanning the camp for threats and challenges.
I can hear some of your say, “But Steve Sir, a stuffed animal is not sentient. It is – well – stuffed. How can it help?”
The answer is sadder than you might guess. The tiger IS stuffed. It does NOT provide any true safety.
But, importantly, it is slightly more useful than Dodger Ma’am. Dodger Ma’am is loved and loving. She, however, if not burdened with either intelligence or bravery. I have seen her shake uncontrollably at the sight of a squirrel. When we open the door to allow her to pursue the squirrel, she generally keeps shaking. The only squirrel she will actually engage with will be one that is firmly and safely ensconced in a tree. THAT squirrel reaps 10-15 minutes of baying and barking. Knowing that she will not actually encounter the squirrel makes that encounter comfortable.
Actually, I should mention one other item that evokes barks and bays from our Bassett bodyguard.
She protects us from boats.
Boats on the Lake.
The Lake that is 200 meters from our home.
But I guess if any of those boats were capable of driving ashore (like the Austin Duck Tours) and approach our home, then we would be forewarned.
Maybe she could scare the amphibious vehicle into the tree with the squirrel and solve both problems.
In the meantime, please know that we are separated from danger by these two questionable guards.
PS I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and thought you would enjoy it. In the interim, she managed to find a skunk at 4AM one morning and - what is the best way to say this - activated its “skunkness”. She brought the gift home at 4AM as a way to say “good morning!”