cabin-5-porch-2Recently someone not connected with camp asked me “Why did you choose a girls’ camp to own?”  Truth is, Mike and I did not intentionally choose a girls’ camp over a boys’ camp.  When we started out in 1978 to look for a summer camp to own and direct, we had no preference other than knowing that we did not want a coed camp (having had a year’s experience working for one).  Luckily, after looking at and rejecting many other camps, we chanced upon KamajiKamaji just happened to be a girls’ camp — a girls’ camp without electricity in the cabins, without bathrooms in the cabins (at that time there were only outhouses and cold-water washhouses!!), without fancy ski-boats (in fact, I don’t remember there even being a ski-boat) or gizmos like waterslides, computer programs {heck even Ye Directors didn’t have a computer!}, etc.


Not a whole lot has changed since 1980:  we still don’t have electricity in the cabins, we don’t have bathrooms in the cabins (although we now have hot-water washhouses with “flushies” and showers), we don’t have a fancy ski-boat or a waterslide . . . And, although Ye Directors do use computers in the Office, we avoid them as much as possible during the summer months.   Truth is, a lot of those  things that we don’t have at camp —  simply don’t matter — at least to Kamaji campers!


What we do have are GIRLS!  After nearly thirty summers at Kamaji, I’ve come to truly appreciate the fact that our campers are girls.  (No bias against boys or anything — after all I’m mom to two sons!)  However, I’ve found that camp can “teach” girls far more  things that the so-called real world does not — lessons that go beyond horseback riding, sailing, swimming, theater, etc.  I’ve even come away with a few lessons myself — lessons I didn’t knowingly go in search of.   What I’ve learned is that a girls’ camp allows girls the freedom to simply be themselves.  They are not judged by any standard —  not clothes, not appearance, not popularity, not athleticism, not talents, not where they come from, not what they own, not what their parents do for a living.  Instead they are judged simply by their own behavior — behavior that is positive, non-judgmental, non-critical . . . They don’t have to look a certain way, dress a certain way or worry about impressing anyone.  They don’t need to compete, to outdo, to be better than . . .


Instead Kamaji‘s campers (and staff too) are judged simply by how they act towards and treat others.  Kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and friendliness are adjectives that best describe what matters most at Kamaji! And while behaving in such a positive way, campers can also have fun, learn new things and develop heaps of life-long friendships.


Having learned that, it is my hope that the “real” lessons girls learn at camp are ones they can bring back to their off-season (real?) world.  Imagine the impact those kind of lessons could have on those not connected with camp!

One last bit of advice then to our Kamaji campers:  Be who you are, not what you think others think you should be!  The so-called real world would be such a better place if all its folks were really “real.”


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