“Be careful of the environment you choose, for it will shape you. Be careful of the words you speak, for they will define you. Be careful of the friends you make, for they will influence you”.
It is with sadness in my heart that I must first address the mass shooting in Highland Park, Il earlier today. We learnt of the tragedy as the squirt ‘gun’ fun was coming to a close this morning. Such an event, while seemingly commonplace these days, is still, nonetheless, a rare occurrence. But this had particular resonance, coming as it did in the north Chicago suburbs, a place that so many of us here at camp call home. That this sort of event happens anywhere is bad enough, but for it to happen to friends and family just 300 miles south of us was horribly painful. As far as I’m aware at this point, I don’t think anyone here has any direct connection to any of the victims of the shooting. For that we can be thankful, although our collective heart goes out to all those families who, this evening, are either mourning the death of someone close, or are tending to an injured relative or friend.
In the coming days, I’m sure the questions will be asked about why this happened, and why this is allowed to happen. I will not engage with that debate here except to say that I am as baffled as anyone can be as to why a country as great as America is can continue to arm its citizens in the way that it does, and then appear surprised and angry when something like this happens. Tonight, we are thinking of the good people of Highland Park as you begin to come to terms with what has happened there today. Our thoughts and best wishes to you all from Camp Menominee.
In light of what has happened, it almost makes me feel awkward to write about our day here. But, for the sake of the boys and the need to carry on, we completed the squirt ‘gun’ fight – which the Americans won by the way – before the rain came and spoilt the rest of the day. Indeed, the rain came during lunch, so we had to hurry back inside. The afternoon programme was modified somewhat as it continued to rain, but with no lightening, so we could go outside and play.
By way of a special treat this July 4th, the admin’ cooked and served dinner, before the boys climbed onto the buses and headed to Camp Marimeta across the other side of Eagle River. Tradition dictates that we party with the ladies from Meta on July 4th, and this was the first time we’ve done that since 2019. I’m writing this at almost 10.15 this evening as I await their safe return.
I want to say that all is well, so safely rest, but while that might be the case here this evening, I have to accept and understand that that is not always the case everywhere. So, wherever you are reading this tonight, let us be grateful and thankful that we are reading it, and that there, but for the grace of god go I.