Some of the best things at camp are those unscheduled events that just sort of happen.  You may remember the 4th of July Goofy Relays were postponed due to a pending thunderstorm.  Well, they were rescheduled as the 10th of July Goofy Relays.  Sure enough, after a hot and muggy day, the sky darkened just before dinner and by the end of dinner it was raining.  Oh no, the 10th of July Goofy Relays would have to be postponed again.  Yikes, we need a really fun program for 144 campers and about 60 counselors.  What should we do?  As Kat, Kathy and Mike were pondering the possibilities, the Kalie Hirt, a camper in Cabin 5 Porch just stood up in her chair a belted out the chorus to “It’s Raining Men” for no particular reason. That put everyone in the mood for a few songs and before you we knew what happened, all the campers and counselors were on their feet singing the wonderful “Singing in the Rain”.  Now that’s not the “Singing in the Rain” you know.  This “Singing in the Rain” has all kinds of silly motions.  (Ask your daughter to sing this one for you when she gets home.)  As voices filled the air, Ye Directors asked, Trina Miller, one of our Dance and Aerobic instructors, if the dance classes could perform the dancing they practiced earlier in the session.  Trina, of course, said, “Uh, sure.  We’ve never practiced them together, but give us 15 minutes to get organized and we’ll be fine.”  After a few more songs about the rain, Mike took the microphone and told the campers in the dance classes they would be performing in a few minutes.  He also announced to the camp the Nicola, the 3rd year Tripper from New Zealand, would be teaching everyone the traditional Maori Haka War Dance.  This was a surprise to Nic, but….   Sure enough, about 15 minutes later we rang the bell and everyone filed back into the lodge for Evening Program, Plan H.  To say the dance classes were entertaining would be quite an understatement.  To say Nic’s Maori Haka Dance was funny and fun for all would also be an understatement.  But that’s not what made the evening so wonderful.  What made the evening so enjoyable was the enthusiasm shown by the campers for everything that happened. After each dance class performance, the audience jumped to their feet to give the dancers a standing ovation.  When Nic asked everyone to get up and learn the Maori chant, not one person stayed seated.  The pure joy of the evening made our impromptu program a huge success, even as we now schedule 12th of July Goofy Relays (hoping ‘third time’s the charm!’).

More Kamaji News
Other than last night’s rain showers, the weather the last couple of days has been hot and muggy.  Today, the weather is marvelous.  Sunny, about 75 degrees, northwest wind, and low humidity, just about perfect for the 20 Kamaji campers who spent the afternoon at Camp Chippewa participating in a sailing, tennis and archery meet.  Tonight’s evening program is the last Council Fire of the session, where 12 Kamajians will receive their souvenir canoe paddles symbolizing their fifth summer at camp.  The next few days we’ll be busy.  We going to try the 12th of July Goofy Relays at some time tomorrow. Tomorrow’s evening will be the big Staff Show, a real camper favorite.  Wednesday morning is “Packing Time”.  Imagine packing 113 first session campers all at the same time.  Whew!  Anyway, Wednesday evening is the Big Porch Banquet and Candlelight O’Naug She Nodin.  Thursday is be another big day for everyone.  If your daughter is an 8 week camper it means “Bemidji, here we come!”  Waterslide, Keith’s Pizza, Movie, etc.  If your daughter is a first session camper, Thursday means “Homeward Bound!”

Note to parents of 8 week campers: Your daughter will be giving you a call sometime between Thursday evening and Friday evening.  We’ll try all your phone numbers, so made sure you have your cell phones with you.  Please don’t call us, because your daughter will be “out on the town” for much of the time between sessions.  Don’t worry, we’ll find you.

Travel Information for July 14, 2011
July 14th will be a long day for campers traveling home!  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.  We are putting campers on about 20 different flights around the country.  If you have any questions about your daughter’s travel home, just write or call.

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

If your daughter is flying on DL 860 to St. Louis or DL 1832 to Chicago O’Hare she will be escorted by a Kamaji counselor.  You should plan on meeting your daughter outside the secure area of the concourse where she arrives or at baggage claim. You may want to ask a Delta ticket agent if you can have a security pass so you can meet the flight at the gate, however, don’t be surprised if the ticket agent says, “No.”  The counselors will escort the campers out of the concourse and to baggage claim and remain with them until all parents 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.

Again, if you have any questions about travel, just ask.

End of Season Information
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 2012 camping season will be sent to you in a few weeks.
4.    We’ll be posting an on-line evaluation form in the next few weeks.  We hope you’ll complete it.  If you have a more immediate concern, feel free to contact us now.

Some Thoughts About The Session From Ye Directors
(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 98th 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 paddleboarding, horseback riding, Mad Science 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.

We’ve written over the past weeks how the campers seem to love and appreciate camp now more than ever.  First session seemed to zoom by thanks to the campers, who are better behaved and more enthusiastic than ever. Why?  Well, let’s think about life here at camp.  No matter what the campers do here, they do it with other people who can hear, see and touch them.  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 ‘2011, ‘2011…”), 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 campers seem to have more fun than ever before!  Maybe campers have figured out that sleeping in a bed right next to your best friend is a whole lot better than being a “friend” on Facebook.

One Last Favor . . .
We were thrilled to welcome 42 new Kamaji campers this session.  Wow!  That’s a lot.  Most new Kamaji families here about camp from friends or relatives so the large number of new campers is thanks to the support of many of you.  Looking ahead to 2012, 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.

Final Comments For Parents Of First Session Campers
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 27 and 23, and we still worry every time they leave the house.  We can only imagine how excited you are 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 99th camping season.  “Boy, Oh Boy, What a Month It’s Been!”

Mike, Kathy and Kat

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