Growing up in the Kenwood and Evergreen camp community was extremely powerful for me. Over each 7 week period I learned life skills that are skill an important part of my life to this day. It’s one of the reasons that more than 30 years after starting as a camper it is still the most important institution in my life. One aspect that meant the most to me was not just how many deep, enriching friendships I was able to make, but how many of these people I came to know and love weren’t exactly like me. My best friend was a dedicated athlete, even though I really had no love for team sports. And while I was happy to play guitar and throw on the potter’s wheel all day (two things he had no interest in) we realized in a matter of days into his first summer that our friendship was destined to stand the test of time (and it really has. He was a groomsmen in my wedding and I signed the ketubah at his).
If you are a current parent at our brother-sister summer camp you received an email yesterday about a charity we are associated with called Mickey’s Kids. For almost 15 years it has been dedicated to providing camp scholarships to children from economically disadvantaged families. For those new to our community you may be unfamiliar with the great work charity does, and the lasting impact it has on the lives of the children it serves. You may also be unfamiliar with how this wonderful organization came into existence.
Sometimes I forget how important it is to explain every facet of a situation to children. Recently, my kids made the switch from baths with baby liquid soap to showering with bar soap. When I asked him how he felt about this he remarked "I don't know...it's so dry and sticky. I'm just not sure that it's really doing anything". It turns out he did not figure out on his own that this product needed to be wet in order to function properly. 20+ years as a camp professional and it didn't occur to me that I would need explain to him how soap works. My bad!