waterfront at sunriseThe campers and counselors enjoyed an absolutely spectacular camp day. Bright sunshine, crystal clear skies, light breezes and temps in the upper 70’s. Kamaji looked like a movie set today. Cabin 4 Porch 2, Cabin on the Hill, Nutshell Porch 3 and Cabin 1 Porch 2 all left on their respective canoe trips. For those campers remaining at camp, it was Adventure Day.  Porch groups swam, skied, painted the huge propane tank to look like a Converse tennis shoe, put on fashion shows and played tennis. A wonderful Rainbow Burger BBQ was followed by more games on the archery field. What a day for campers and counselors alike!
fashion 3 For Ye Camp Directors, it was, well, just one of those days. It was one thing after another. Things got started at about 4:30 am when we received the first of about 5 computer generated phone calls. That’s when the phone rings and you pick it up and there is nothing but a beeping noise. (We eventually unplugged the phones in our house.) Later that morning came the realization that the huge propane tank (which supplies propane to the camp kitchen and would later be painted to look like a shoe) had basically ran out of propane because the propane company forgot to deliver propane. Next the brand new, really big commercial water heater (which supplies the camp kitchen) stopped heating water. At lunch, the Hubbard County Water Sheriff showed up to do his yearly inspection of all Kamaji’s boat registrations.  That’s a lot of boats: 24 canoes,  20 kayaks, 13 sailboats, 6 motor boats.  There were about 800 other things that conspired to keep Ye Directors firmly cemented in the office. Of course, it didn’t help that everyone who came into the office yesterday commented on what a beautiful day it was.

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Ye Camp Directors were actually planning on going out for dinner for the first time this summer, when one of the nursing called the office and said that SHE had a medical emergency. One of the other nursing staff rushed her to the ER.  The good news is that the emergency was a false alarm, however, it meant that Kathy needed to be at camp to help with Club Med. No going out to dinner. And so it went until the bell ending the evening program sounded. I headed outside to the office porch to schmooze with the campers as they headed back to their cabins to get ready for bed. That’s when the two camp worlds collided.

The campers and counselors from Nutshell Porch 2 walked by busily talking and laughing.  I stopped them to ask “How was your day?” I heard small tidbits of their Adventure Day tales.  I also heard about Isabella’s pending move from Ft. Collins to somewhere in Texas, Izzy’s excitement about her grandmother’s pending stay at Kamaji as the Camp Doctor, and Posey’s review of her parents’ recent visit to camp.  Understand when you ask a group of 10 year olds that question, they answer all at once, so these stories took about 90 seconds to tell. Then I heard one of the campers say the words, “night swim”.

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“What?” I asked and one of the campers said that it was such a nice day and she wondered if the cabin could go for late evening swim. I said “Sure. I’ll be the lifeguard. Go get changed. I’ll meet you at the swim area in 10 minutes.”

Ten minutes later as I walked down the steps toward the lake, I could barely take everything in. The lake looked like a picture postcard. The sun was still lighting up the far shoreline. The water reflected the deep, blue sky and few white clouds. A mother wood duck and her six ducklings were sunning themselves on one of the floating rafts. And the campers and counselors of Nutshell Porch 2 were sitting on steps ready to for their “night swim”. As soon as I said “Let’s go!” the eight campers and three counselors barefooted out on the dock. They lined up on he dock and someone said, “One, two, three.” While everyone jumped into Wolf Lake, the family of ducks jumped off the raft and headed for a quieter waters.

For the next 25 minutes I couldn’t believe the scene in front of me. The setting sun! Wolf Lake still except for the swimming Nutshellers and ducks. Even an eagle was soaring down the shoreline. And there was only one word to describe the sounds of campers and counselors — Joy.

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Nothing was really organized, but the campers and staff probably made up about 100 different games during the 25 minutes of their “night swim”.  And the air was filled with constant chatter and giggles.  I felt as if I was had landed in the middle of a movie meant to show summer camp as some sort of nirvana.

Only at Kamaji it was real.

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In the end, yesterday turned out to be was a terrific day for campers, counselors and, yes, even Ye Directors, too. Thanks Nutshell Porch 2 for making me forget about the hot water heater, the 4:30 am phone calls, the trip to the ER and the 800 other things that kept me in the office all day. Ain’t camp great??!!

Mike (and Kathy and Kat)

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