As you know I like to share some thoughts I had during the past week.
Last night the Club and Dorm and I returned from Dorney and were let off of the bus at the main baseball field.
As I walked up to Boys camp I heard the bouncing of basketballs that the Middie boys had brought back from Dorney. It sounded like the group was playing at the main basketball court with Phil and the basketball staff. But it was late, dark, and there were no lights to be playing under.
It led me to think about the sounds of camp. Close your eyes. What sounds come to mind? Is it the sound of the bugle at reveille, or at the flagpole or taps? Is it Mitch announcing the dress for the day or saying, “Don’t forget your … sunscreen? Maybe it is a less obvious one like the rumble of the chairs after the prayer when everyone is invited to sit.
We have been at camp for three full weeks. In that time the sounds coming from the bunks have even changed. The first couple of days the sounds were muted, very quiet as friendships began to be forged. As the days went on, the sounds got louder and louder as bunkmates played with each, helped each other and occasionally even disagreed with each other. Other sounds heard might be the sounds campers made when they even apologized for something they had done to a friend. I’m sure the counselors would agree that the sounds coming from the bunks at night have increased as they help you get ready for bed. They are all sounds of campers having a good time, sharing those times with their friends, learning from their experiences, and becoming successful.
There are the sounds from the ball fields as teams prepare and then play in competitions. Maybe it the sound of tennis ball being rallied back and forth over the net. It could have been the sounds of teammates calling to each other on the soccer field. Maybe it was the sound of a whistle announcing the start of a buddy call at the lake, or the ski boat pulling campers around the lake. It also could have been the sound of friends offering encouragement to their friends as they attempted to climb up the climbing wall or is it the sound a camper zipping down from the top of the climbing wall? I know that no matter where I am, when I hear “American Pie” I start to think about walking to the dining room for lunch. Yet another sound of camp.
So as I continued my walk back to boys’ camp I thought about those sounds and the many opportunities everyone has here at camp. When you think about it, everyone here has the opportunity to experience things that many other children never get the chance to. We are all very lucky and should feel very lucky to be able to spend the summer here at Towanda.
All these sounds allowed me to also think of the ways all of us at camp grow during the course of the summer and the things we learn to be successful as we grow.
We all learn self-respect. We learn to take pride in what we do. It might be climbing to the top of the climbing wall or stacking at the table or even becoming the last person standing at ghost.
We also learn to take responsibility for our actions. If a person is not being nice to a friend or bunkmate we learn to acknowledge the mistake and apologize. We learn from our mistakes and try never to make the same mistake again. We learn to set goals for ourselves and work toward accomplishing them. We learn not to blame other people if we do not succeed at something. The things that you have to work for end up giving us the greatest satisfaction when we achieve them. The sound of our bunkmates cheering us on puts a smile on our face.
We learn to believe in ourselves. We look forward to new situations and competition because it is an opportunity to grow. New things may make us a bit nervous but we try them with the help of our friends and counselors putting forth our best effort and trust in the results. Things have a way of working out. The sounds you might hear are the voices of your counselor saying “way to go”.
Here at camp we master the necessary skills for success. Success is like a staircase that is never ending – there are always challenges and room for improvement. A baseball player may strike out 10 times in a row, yet they continue to come to bat and eventually they hit a homerun.
True success? Making friends that will last you a lifetime and learning to be a success the rest of your lives.
And when you come back to camp to visit, maybe even with your children, remember to close your eyes for a second and think about the sounds of your camp life.
That is true success. It makes the summer a very rewarding experience for me and I hope for you.
I like the way that sounds!