Swimming Strong, Losing Shoes, Gaining Confidence

Posted by Steve Baskin on Aug 9, 2018 4:14:50 PM
Steve Baskin

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Camp is winding down.

I am finding myself struggling with the idea of camp ending.

There are summers when Susie Ma’am and I are ready for the days of camp to end.

This is not one of those summers.

Simply put, this has been the most joyous summer we have enjoyed in over a decade. We have a great staff. The counselors have maintained energy and creativity even into the final days.

And the campers just seem extra into camp. For a full week I have had the older campers talking wistfully about the end of camp. I have been chiding them to enjoy the moments while they are coming and not to mourn the end prematurely, but I must admit that I am having similar feelings.

Before I cross over from “nostalgic” to “sappy”, please allow me to change the subject and share a couple of fun photos.

The first is from our Lake Swim this morning (it is the opening photo). The oldest campers (those who just finished 7thand 8th grade) swim across the lake and back. We line the lake with kayaks and lifeguards.

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Uncertain swimmers often opt for lifejackets, but we encourage all the campers to embrace this “Reasonable Risk”.

Prior to the start of the race, we place a few people on the far side of the lake, for a mid-swim check in. I have always stayed on the Champions dock (the start and end point), so I have never appreciated the sunrise over the lake in the morning. The sunrise photo is what the far-dock team saw about 15 minutes before we started.

When the Lake Swim starts, Dodger Ma'am (our ridiculous Basset Hound) likes to provide a goofy and enthusiastic send-off. We assure the campers that Dodger Ma'am will never touch anyone, but she likes to bark encouragement before they start. Here she is doing her job.

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And here she is resting after finishing.

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On the other end of the age continuum is our 7 year-olds. This afternoon, we had a special treat for our youngest campers. We used to have “Cookies for Rookies (and Minis)”, but the counselors all requested (on behalf of their charges) that we have a final slushy rather than cookies. Susie Ma’am and I happily complied. While I was serving two of the youngest boys, I looked down and saw this.

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2 campers, four types of shoes.

There is a temptation to become distressed at such a sight. After all, we strive to teach Responsibility, yet here are two campers that could not quite manage matching shoes. Were some missing? What led to this choice of footwear?

I, however, then took a step back and got some perspective. These boys were managing friendships, learning skills, navigating an unfamiliar world all without their parents. Compared to their peers, they are capable and resilient. Each day, they are gaining skills and confidence.

Of course, I wish no child ever lost anything, but I smile knowing that they are gaining much more than they lose.

Steve Sir