Digging Deep

Miles

Just as we do at the beginning of every June, we’ve kicked off this month with an outstanding—and very busy—start. The weather has turned from snowy to balmy seemingly in a flash, and camp is quickly filling with the friendly faces of counselors, leadership team members, a few “old-timers” as we fondly refer to our favorite returning staffers, and our wilderness trip leaders, who officially began their “tripper training” program on Thursday.

Preparing the adults for the kids’ arrival has already begun, now that the trippers are here and hard at work, and soon the rest of the staff will begin our intensive orientation week. Getting the grounds of camp itself prepared for the campers is a mighty large job, too, though—and one we take very seriously. After a long, hard winter like the one we had this year, we make certain that each building is sturdy, clean, and ready to welcome the campers to their home-away-from-home. All across the roads and lawns, crews are raking leaves, mowing the vast green grass, painting cabins, setting up our beloved wooden chairs and swings, and so much more. Of course, Barbara is busy planting flowers and giving everything that perfect finishing touch, when she’s not chasing her grandchildren around, that is!

To help with some of our constant improvements to the property and facilities, we’ve had a few big trucks and tractors at camp the last few days. As a part of the Maple washhouse remodel project, we’re digging a new well to ensure better water pressure for the youngest campers. The bulldozer used to dig the well didn’t take long to attract the attention of my three kids and my nephew, Graham, all of whom have been enjoying the preseason hubbub. From the perspective of a parent (and favorite uncle), having the little ones around to see their favorite toys in real-life action has been a pretty cool thing to watch. My son, Miles, is particularly wild for trucks these days and he absolutely loved watching the big machine dig. Experiences like this made me feel so fortunate to be here, not only to expose my children to the cool opportunities camp allows us, but also for them to see how much hard work it takes to keep everything running smoothly.

Growing up in a family-business environment seems a rare thing as time marches on, and I know I speak for my siblings when I say that being part of a camp family shaped who we have each become. We were able to not only spend a lot of time together as a family, working toward a common goal, one we proudly still share today, but we also came to know and love so many incredible people over the years, many who came from cities and countries all over the world. Because of camp, we met people and enjoyed experiences we never could have otherwise had.

Sure, Miles might have been able to see a backhoe digging into the earth at a construction site someplace else, but he probably wouldn’t have been able to take pictures with the driver, and sit in the seat, or watch the project’s progress from his kitchen window as the days passed. Miles can always see a picture of his favorite vehicles on TV, an iPad, in books, etc., but this week he was able to see them in person. As a father and as a camp director, I know that a child’s life is richer and more full of meaning when filled with more opportunities like these. Modern technology makes it all too easy for us to show our kids the wonders of the world at the touch of a fingertip; I’ve been reminded how important it is for us, too, to dig deeply, and take every effort to get away from the screens and back to real-life interactions.

As I watch my own children soak up the hands-on learning available to them here at this special place, even in the nascent stages of this beautiful summer that stretches out before us, I can’t help but smile a big goofy grin. I smile because camp is a gift—the gift of experience, of joy, of friendship, of experiential education, and community. The smile on my face represents generations of happiness and spans the globe, from my family to yours. The work ahead of us over the next few weeks may be tough, but it’s the most worthwhile work there is.

 

2 thoughts on “Digging Deep”

  1. Couldn’t agree more! One of the best times of my life was spent as a counselor at BT over one wonderful summer. It certainly does bring smiles that span a globe.

    Nicole Carlaw (nee Macklan). Sydney, AUSTRALIA

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