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Sunday, July 5, 2009/by Chuck Mills/Go Back
It is Sunday morning, the first Sunday of the 86th summer at Kabeyun and the end of the first full week of camp. And what a full week it has been.
Families of the boys have been calling and e-mailing with concerns about the weather. But what is to be done, and how does that help anything? Opening Day was a near-perfect summery day with sun and warmth. The gray descended until late in the week, but the spirit of the place remained high throughout. What's weather? A detail in the lives of boys who are more focused on friendships, food, and fun in new activities. There wasn't an activity that was interrupted in a major way by gray and wet - even the rock climbing trips went out. If the rock is too wet, they hike, or swim, or just hang out together around the campsite enjoying one another's company and the adventure of being away from camp; away from home.
So, while the weather seemed to be the focus of people out there in the world, here at camp the focus has been, and comntinues to be... camp. We couldn't have been more pleased with the way our new plan for opening day played out. Our primary goal of getting kids into action more quickly was achieved with a smoothness that even we couldn't have anticipated. Last Sunday, then we were able to jump into the first full day of regular activities; Monday the trips program began - the first time we've ever seen a truly full first week of camp.
Tennis was delayed a bit here and there, but the new court surfaces have proved effective in getting us back in the swing much sooner than we used to after rains. The only thing that really keeps us out of and off of the water is thunder/lightning, and that has been in short supply.
Yesterday was the Fourth and we had a spectacular morning with the first big winds of the summer, dry air and sun. This place buzzed! In the afternoon the whole camp played Capture the Flag to begin our celebration of the holiday. In the evening we all gathered before two big fires in Big Cove, entertained by the staff with all manner of silliness and real talent. As I write this it is about 7:30, but no reveille today and the camp is still quiet for a bit more time. It feels more like an August day than an early July day, but we'll take it! The wind is up, the air dry and the forest floor is dappled with morning sun. After morning showers, buffet breakfast, infirmary checks, the boys will spend some time with their cabin groups before the all-camp photo and Pine Point. The theme today will be "Home", and we'll be led in our reflections by A couple of counselors who have been here for five and ten years. The afternoon brings sign-ups for trips, a Scavenger Hunt for everybody and we breeze into the new week.
In the dining hall yesterday at lunch we had our presentation of the Five-Year Club sweatshirts. It was impressive: 17 boys, including a few counselors are here for their fifth year. As a part of this little ceremony we line up everybody who has been here for six years or more. I counted quickly and came up with over fifty of us who have been coming to Kabeyun for five years or more. That's impressive! As the charcoal ceremony reveals, the core strength of the place lies in that hot bed of coals that are the returning people, providing a constancy of culture and care from season to season. But Kabeyun is also a place where newness is celebrated and appreciated. It is the most special part of my position, the opportunity to see these boys return year after year and grow, and grow. We are very lucky.
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