SUMMER CAMP IS A BEACON OF LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL for all the children who have been stuck on their screens and indoors during the “2020 pause.”
Camp is an event that children look forward to each summer. It is a time to make new friends, explore the great outdoors, build resiliency, and confidence. It’s learning how to make decisions, handle conflict, and build independence. Whether it’s sitting around the campfire and singing silly songs and toasting marshmallows, watching hilarious campfire skits, or playing a game of Capture the Flag, it’s a time to be a kid.
My staff and I will make this summer the event of 2020. Children will remember their Camp Kahuna experience as a time of fun, adventures, new experiences, and friendship. We believe in the importance of camp and how it can positively change a person and lead them toward success and opportunity.
HOW CAMP CHANGED MY LIFE:
When I was eight years old, my parents sent me to camp. I was a timid boy, and camp was the last thing on my mind. I remember boarding the camp bus with tears in my eyes. I starred at my parents as they disappeared in the distance. I had no idea where I was going, but I knew it was going to be horrible! I didn’t know anyone and just hoped a bear wouldn’t eat me.
When I arrived at camp, I was greeted by a counselor named Buzz. What kind of parent names their child, Buzz! Standing beside Buzz was his sidekick Bubbles. He was about six foot five, had a bright pink wig covering his bald head, and a horn that he seemed to enjoy honking. What kind of place was this? Adults named Buzz and Bubbles!
Buzz and Bubbles led my fellow bunkmates and me to our cabin. And yes, it had a name too: The Mangy Moose. I wasn’t sure what the word mangy meant, but I didn’t like the sound of it. It sounded like an adjective for stinky. The cabin was very rustic. Bunkbeds were lining the walls, so I quickly grabbed a top bunk. Buzz and Bubbles gathered us together and began jumping around the room, chanting a funny camp song. I couldn’t help to laugh at their antics. A tall, gangly clown, chasing after a slightly rounded Buzz! I didn’t see that every day. We quickly got into a – “Get to Know You” game and introduced ourselves. There was something about our leaders that comforted me. I realized we were all in the same boat and whether it sank, or sailed off into the sunset, we were all in this together. My homesickness gradually left me and was replaced with a sense of interest and adventure.
The week was filled with fun activities, and belly laughs, adventures, and memories I still think back to fifty years later. I shared that week with some incredible boys, one of whom I shared a friendship for many years after camp. I still remember going on a Snipe Hunt in the dark, raiding the girl’s cabins, having a planned food fight on the beach, and losing every pair of socks I brought with me to camp.
I had tears in my eyes on the last day of camp, but these tears were different. They were happy tears to celebrate the best week of my life. I still find it hard to believe that the boy (ME) who didn’t want to go to camp became the director of a summer camp that has been running for over twenty years. I guess that week of camp, and my parents, who were able to push through their tears, changed my life forever.