It’s been the best swimming weather we can ever remember. Record numbers consistently have signed up for Splish Splash, Waterski and Boating Clinics. More kids swam across the lake for Polar Bear than ever before (76!). Tremendous improvements in swimming abilities are seen daily. The lake is consistently dotted with Skylemar sailboats, kayaks and canoes. There's so much action on the ski dock that the motor boats need to be filled with gas twice a day.
Never before in our 68-year history had we ever canceled so many afternoons, and instead headed to the waterfront. Super great for the campers, but it's meant extra long hours in the hot sun for those on the waterfront and ski staff.
But guess what? Not a single member of the Waterfront Staff has ever complained.
Instead they worked tirelessly, going above and beyond to inspire each boy with a love of the water. They encourage, instruct, supervise and cheer for each and every camper.
Take today, for example. Twenty-one campers aged 7-10 were at the lake at 7am for an early morning swim across the lake. To keep them safe, 15 lifeguards also woke up extra early, to insure that each boy was successful. We were proud of the boys, and equally so of the staff.
In a population of 200 boys, swimming abilities are varied. Many are competent and strong, and eager to improve. Others are beginners, who may be fearful, or perhaps have never swum before. After a quick observation, our wonderful Waterfront Director Peter assigns each boy a swimming instructor. From getting in the water with him to providing private lessons, the counselor does whatever it takes to bring out the best in his camper.
Another example is sailing, a sport that few can do at home. Thanks to Drew and Mary, each boy is at ease on a boat, and many become proficient sailors. When you know how to skipper your own boat it’s a feeling of strength, second to none.
Speaking of good feelings. We’re convinced that there’s no better confidence-builder than water skiing. Nick, Jason and their staff of counselors subscribe to this belief, and patiently figure out a path to success for each kid willing to try. Encourage, coax, coach, repeat. Encourage, coax, coach, repeat.
Why is getting up on skis so important in child development? First, the boy must trust the adults in the boat and on the dock, even if he’s scared. Then he must be willing to take a leap of faith, all by himself, to give it a try. He must listen to and follow directions. He must fail, and go through the experience of trying again and again and again.
Then he does it! Counselors and friends cheer wildly, and the skier is bursting with pride. Equally as proud are the counselors responsible for the camper’s success. Now that’s a good day at work! As a camper from Bunk 8 said, “Chad taught me how easy things are when I try".
So, to Peter and Joel, Drew and Nick; Jason, Mary, Trav, Chad, Conor, Lily and Boyer; Spicy, Jerry, Travis, Forbes, Ben and Tex, Ryan, AO, Luci and Mix; Conor, Max, Joe, Afink, Baker, Ginzy, Rosey, Ty, Fran, Jordy, Boss and JT: WE THANK YOU. See you in a few hours for the next Polar Bear Swim!