A Camp Director’s Tale

There and Here and Between and Back again, A Camp Director’s Tale

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Looking out my office window here at a windswept but sunny Camp Birch Trail, it’s hard to believe that in just another month or so, first session will begin and the grounds will be teeming with the laughter of so many happy reunions. For now, it’s still pretty quiet around here. Last week, I drove up to camp steering a U-Haul the size of a humpback whale on Monday, flew down to Milwaukee on Wednesday to load up the rest of my family, and drove back up north again with the kids on Friday. Whew! That’s a lot of miles to log in one week! But when I think about all the times I’ve made the trip between Milwaukee and Minong over the course of my lifetime, I suppose this most recent round barely even factors in.

As a camp director who winters elsewhere (as most of us do) this back-and-forthing is a rather routine, part-of-the-gig occurrence. Sure, now that we’ve got two toddlers in tow with another on the way, packing and transporting the family and all of our gear has become a little trickier, but we truly look forward to our transition up to camp for the summer. Brooklyn the dog, for one, begins eagerly sniffing at the car’s vents at about the half-way point of the drive, somehow remembering the smells of the country air and excitedly watching out the window until we pull into the long driveway at camp.

Getting ourselves and our own kids ready for camp always makes me think about those of you at home who are preparing to get your daughters ready to head up to BT for the summer. Of course there are the forms to be filled out, the bags to be packed, and other logistical matters. But then there are the less tangible items—the emotional components, both for your daughter and for you. Your daughter may be experiencing a bevy of feelings as her departure date for camp approaches, but you might also be feeling a great variety of things right now. Even though my own children are still so young, I learn every day that sometimes, as parents, doing things that we know are good for our children can be really tough for us.

 

People often ask me how I balance being a father and being a camp director during the summer season. Though it sure isn’t easy and I definitely don’t get much sleep, I’m reminded of my father’s incredible example laid before me—his exuberance, his energy, and his love for camping that I feel so lucky to have inherited. I love my work here at camp with so much enthusiasm, so much passion and joy that I find, on just about every morning regardless of how much sleep I’ve had or what kind of day lies ahead of me, it is that same enthusiasm that keeps me young and keeps me going. Onward we go, my friends, into another fantastic summer!

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