Less than half a percent of the people in our country have had the opportunity to try. It’s the activity that teaches perhaps more life skills than any other, probably far more than what can be transferred in a traditional classroom setting.
We’re talking about waterskiing, the most popular and intentionally taught activity at Camp Skylemar.
Director Nick Shep and his expertly trained staff of nine instructors do whatever it takes for each camper to succeed. In fact, if you’re willing to give it a try, they guarantee you’ll be prouder of yourself than ever before. They’re with you every step of the way – on the dock, in the water and on the boat.
The feeling of getting up is euphoric. The teacher on the boat cheering for you makes it all more exhilarating, and it turns into a moment you remember the rest of your life. Seeing and hearing the kids clapping and whistling as you come back to shore is absolutely unforgettable.
Within the process of getting up is where the life skills come in. Each camper learns to trust, to take safe risks, to be independent, to listen carefully, to follow directions, to practice, and to ask questions when unsure. They learn to never give up, how to be a role model for others and even practice good manners. Confidence is built at the waterski dock.
When asked what’s the “secret sauce” for motivating his teachers, Nick replies, “With great power comes great responsibility. We’ve been given exceptional resources (four motorboats), but our resources are only valuable when we match their power with an equal amount of enthusiasm.”
In other words, the waterski counselors, aka “The SkiDawgs”, rock. They’re fun and caring, patient and cool. They take tremendous pride in each person who gets behind a Skylemar boat, and the skier knows he can depend on them.
The boat driver is focused and appreciates the magnitude of his responsibility. The teacher on board is the direct line of communication, and he gives precise, specified step-by-step instructions. When you’re out in the lake, it’s just you and the two coaches who will patiently help you to "trrrrryyyyy" again....and again, and again.
The Dawgs on the dock are as important as those in the boat. Not only do they get the skis ready and help you setup, they’re also running the dock so there’s never a line. The music’s just right and there’s all kinds of games, like “Flinch Ball” and “Drop Catch”. But whatever you’re playing it comes to a halt when the skier comes in – there’s a friend in the water to cheer for!
Nick and his SkiDawgs know that when they’re excited, the kids are excited. Their joy is contagious and we’re glad that we’ve caught it. Here's to our Dawgs: Nick, Blake, Boss, Beags, Boxer, Maxanderson, AFink, King, Lucas and Gibby. You are the greatest.
Heard this today…
Luci’s “Sunsational Station” sits on the porch of the Shack. The guys stop by for sunscreen, a drink and a visit. We found an old prop from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” for her to use – it’s Lucy’s psychiatry booth. Like in the cartoon, the sign says “5¢”.
Today Terrance came down with a dollar and handed it to Luci. She explained that the sign was a joke, and that of course it didn’t ever cost money for him to speak with her. He replied, “That’s ok. Take the dollar anyway because maybe another kid won’t have the money to pay.”
Only at Skylemar.