The Journey to Camp
Last evening, we had a little “Banquet” to mark the close of our staff training week. The wheels are in motion today for final arrangements, finishing touches and soon the travel crew will head of to Minneapolis to be ready to greet campers as they arrive tomorrow. The physical journey to Camp Mishawaka has always been a big part of the experience. When I talk with alumni who traveled to Camp by train in the 1940’s and 1950’s they recount memories of the trip, just as often as they do their Camp adventures.
Much of the joy of air travel has been eliminated and the as campers embarks on this journey to Camp, I hope there is a sense of excitement- along with what can only be describes as nervous anticipation. This is quite natural, and even healthy.
Our staff has been working hard all week to craft a gathering for children to learn, grow and thrive. They have come to understand the importance of connection- of getting to know each of their campers. They have come to understand not only the unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the life of a child, but also the incredibly responsibility that accompanies it.
Children have been packing off to go to summer camp for well over a century and recently the New York Times published a photo essay of some of the more memorable departures- along with some really sound advice for parents who are sending their children to camp. One veteran camp director says, in giving advice to parents before camp, “The most important thing you’re going to do is give your kids the message that you believe in them.”
Over the course of my time in the camping field, I have found children to be incredibly resilient. As a parent, I have often had to remind myself that our own children have exhibited independence and autonomy on a schedule that is sometime ahead of Julie’s and mine.
Whatever journey your child is making, I encourage you to deliver the message that you, too, believe in your child. Instilling that trust and sense of confidence and support speaks volumes and often just at a time when your child his listening intently to your every word!
We are so excited for the start of our 110th season and look forward to sharing it with children from across the globe- starting tomorrow!