We have a special gift here. His name is Pap Pap.
Pap Pap is Shep’s father, and he’s grandfather to all at Camp Skylemar.
He’s 87 years-of-wisdom old, with mind and eyes as sharp as can be. If it were not for the crippling pain in his legs, he’d be waterskiing on Trickey Pond.
Pap Pap resides in the Garden Cabin, with the kids and counselors all around him. He thrives on their energy, and since he’s been at camp this summer, he seems at least five years younger. The noisy sounds of boys are his kind of music. What’s extra amazing is he never forgets a child’s face and remembers almost every name.
A tremendous athlete his entire life, he was an ice hockey official (as well as a lineman for the phone company) until not too long ago. He’s still entrenched in the hockey world and fascinates the staff with the bits of knowledge he shares. Then there’s snow skiing and water skiing, basketball and lots of other sports – he knows how to play, fix and build just about anything that comes his way.
In addition to his fantastic sense of humor, Pap Pap is a true gentleman. He demonstrates the finest of manners, and never complains. He’s accepting towards all and speaks up when someone is unkind or unfair. He’s soft-spoken and thoughtful, humble and wise.
He spent 50+ years of his life devoted to his wife Mary Ann, the love of his life. She passed away just after camp closed last summer. We’re confident that Skylemar is where she’d like Pap Pap to be.
Having Pap Pap at Skylemar is tremendous for the kids. Many go out of their way to visit him throughout the day. Others learn to not be afraid of someone so much older. They’re respectful, compassionate and fun towards Pap Pap. The kids invite him to join in games, and always offer to help his wonderful caregivers: Mary, Maddie and Eileen. In fact, everyone’s offered to help – the Senior/Non-Bunk staff created their own rotation to cover his care through the night.
Most interesting are the conversations had between counselor or camper and Pap Pap. He gives away his secrets (like if you keep your eyes on the back of the rim you’ll make the free throw ever time) and offers some tips (like the proper way to eat a banana - the same way a monkey does, bottom first). He shares the answers to questions you may never have thought about, like how to tell the difference between a college and NFL football. He passes on his knowledge about birds, trees and everything in and around the lake.
A counselor asked Pap Pap to give him some advice to pass on to his kids about handling themselves at that evening’s social with a nearby girls’ camp. Pap Pap thought for a minute, and then said, “Tell them to act fast, and talk to as many girls as they can. Don’t think too much and don’t be picky – just get out there and talk. The hour will fly by and if you spend too much time thinking about who you want to talk to then your ran out of time.”
Thank you, Pap Pap. If we listen, we will learn.
Heard this today…
“Hi, Pap Pap!”, again and again and again.
Only at Skylemar.