July 14th will be a long day for your daughter! We’ll have about a 5:30 am wake-up bell and the buses will leave camp at about 7:00 am for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. Campers are heading to 20 different cities around the country. We sent you our flight schedule last week, so you should know when to pick her up.

If you are meeting your daughter at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, you should pick her up at the Transit Center between 11:30 am and noon. Your daughter and her luggage will be there.

If your daughter is flying on DL 3482 to St. Louis, DL 5682 to Chicago O’Hare or SW 200 to Chicago Midway she will be escorted by a Kamaji counselor. That means you probably won’t be able to meet your daughter at the gate, however, you can try to get Delta or Southwest to issue you a security pass. If you can’t get to the gate, the counselor will escort your daughter to baggage claim and remain with her until you arrive.

If your daughter is on a flight other than the ones mentioned above and is flying home as an “Unaccompanied Minor” you should be able to obtain a security pass from the airline which will allow you to meet your daughter at her arrival gate. Plan on arriving at the airport in plenty of time to obtain your security pass.

If you have any questions about travel, just ask.

Here are some final details about the end of your daughter’s stay at Kamaji:
1. If your daughter is missing clothing or equipment items, please notify us as soon as possible.
2. Your daughter’s store account refund or bill will be sent to you before September 1.
3. Information about Kamaji’s 2011 camping season will be sent to you in a few weeks.
4. We’ll be sending you an evaluation form from us in the next few weeks. We hope you’ll complete it. If you have a more immediate concern, feel free to contact us now.

(Ed. Note: This section of the letter may sound familiar to many of you. The concepts are not new, but we’ve freshened it up a bit.)

Be prepared! In a few days your daughter will be hanging out with you. The first session of Kamaji’s 97th season will be history. We want to warn you that your daughter may, at any time during her first few days at home, fall into the “Kamaji Zone”. You will immediately notice a change in her behavior. Don’t worry as these changes will only last a short time. Right after your daughter eats breakfast don’t, we repeat don’t, panic if your daughter suddenly jumps on the kitchen chair and sings at the top of her lungs. That’s what we do at meals. And after breakfast, YOU had better sit down. We don’t want you to faint if your daughter runs to her room to make her bed and straighten up her closet. Don’t worry. We are confident that THIS behavior won’t last more than a few days. If you are sitting at the dinner table and you would like her to get something from the kitchen, just tell her that it’s her turn to be “hopper”. And if you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant, please remind her NOT to put her chair on the table when you leave. And be prepared. Your daughter will expect you to have 4 or 5 different activities planned for her each day. (How about windsurfing, horseback riding, ceramics and sailing – just to start.) There may be certain words missing from her vocabulary – Words like “TV”, “texting”, “facebook”, “download” and even “hair dryer” – Don’t worry. Most girls will pick up these terms quickly. There are other behaviors – too numerous to mention, that you may observe during the first few days your daughter is home. If you cannot interpret any of them, feel free to call the “Kamaji Kommand and Kontrol”. Trained camp personnel will be on duty 24 hours a day to answer your call.

Another way to ease your daughter’s transition into the “other” world is to show her the “Smugmug” pictures. She hasn’t seen any of them and what a great way to re-live the past few weeks. We suggest that you go through the pictures with her. We don’t want you to miss the chuckles. Heck, you both can follow Kamaji’s second session through the posted pictures.

When parents and friends talk to us about camp, one of the questions often asked is, “How has camp changed over the past few years?”. Well, camp hasn’t changed much. Oh sure, when the campers arrived this summer they were pretty excited to see the brand new ski boat, but the magic of camp is that it’s pretty much the same as it was 20, 40 or 60 years ago. The biggest change over the past few years is not with Kamaji, but with Kamaji’s campers. They are more enthusiastic about camp than ever before. We believe one explanation for this change is that kids feel more disconnected from their school and neighborhoods than in the past. I-Pods, e-mail, cell phones, Facebook and unrealistic academic demands have made it possible for all of us to communicate with each other without any real human contact. It literally takes less energy to send an email message halfway around the world than it does to walk over and say “hello” to your next door neighbor. Contrast all this to life at camp. No matter what you do here at camp, you do it with other people who can hear, see and touch you. We eat together, sing together, learn how to do new things together. We know each other’s names. We laugh with each other, swim with “buddies”, sail with a crew, set tables with our tribe, clean cabins together, sort laundry with our porchmates. We have a shared language (Metigs, Za, Za 2, O’Naug, keylog, gooey rolls), a shared history (“We were here in ‘010, ‘010…”), our own rituals (Boy, oh boy, what a day it’s been!), and most of all, shared experiences (remember our canoe trip, Tribe Day, Adventure Day). In simple terms we are a “community” where each camper is connected to her porchmates, her counselors, her tribemates, her “Kami Sister”. We touch, see and hear each other a million times every day. Yup, Kamaji has changed over the years. We have more fun than ever before! Maybe campers have figured out that sleeping in a bed right below your best friend is a whole lot better than being a “friend” on Facebook.

The crazy economic news of the past two years have brought scary times for many private summer camps, including Kamaji. 2010 was a good recruiting year for us. The number of new campers this summer is up 135% over the summer of 2009. That’s thanks to the support of many of you. After all, referrals are really our only means of finding new campers. If you know families who might be interested in hearing about Kamaji, please let us know. Referrals can be friends of yours, friends of your daughter’s, relatives from another city or business contacts. We’re never get tired of talking about camp, so please send the names and contact information for anyone who may want to hear Kamaji’s story. Thanks in advance for your help.

This has been quite a session! Even though we’ve been camp directors for a long time, every session is brand new. There are a couple of things that stand out about the past few weeks.

First of all, on June 18th, we greeted 38 new campers. Some were as young as 7 years old and, for the first time in recent history, we had 2 new 15 year olds. It was AMAZING just how quickly all 38 of the new campers were swallowed into the Kamaji Kommunity. Not one “homesick” talk! Not even close to one “homesick” talk. That’s quite a tribute to the campers, their counselors and, yes, you, their parents. And, it seemed as if each new camper was greeted with open arms and a huge smile by the returning campers as well! If your daughter was a new camper this summer, we hope she now feels that Kamaji is her “home away from home.”

The second thing that stands out is just how much fun the campers seemed to have during the past few weeks. When we say “fun” what we mean is just how creative and silly the campers can be. Whether it’s dressing up for Alien Abduction Night or just playing with flashlights in the cabin, these campers know how to get a make fun out of almost any situation. It’s great to see.
Lastly, thanks to you for trusting us with your daughter. We know what a leap of faith putting your daughter on that plane represents. Our kids are 26 and 22, and we still worry every time they leave the house. We also know how excited you must be to get your daughter back home.

We sincerely wish you and your family the very best for the rest of the summer and the upcoming fall. We hope that your daughter enjoyed herself as much as we enjoyed having her here and that she will return for Kamaji’s 98th season. “Boy, Oh Boy, What a Month It’s Been!”

Mike, Kathy and Kat

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