Woody’s Word, Final Word, August 2021

Posted: August 19 2021

“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again”.  William Penn

There is something about the way that writers from the past put their words together in such a way that they will last hundreds of years and their meaning will not be lost. However, as much as I love the above quote, I am not suggesting that we, here at CM, will not be passing this way again, because we will; in 2022. The summer of ’21 is in the history books, and what a summer it was. A summer with a difference is perhaps the best way to describe it. The remnants of covid 19 were still apparent all around us, but not  in camp itself. Indeed, it was as if there was no pandemic. Once we had got over the initial screening and testing process, camp life resumed. We were able to do this by being sensible and observing a few strict rules. This meant (unfortunately) that we could not socialise with other camps, and we could not compete in sports with other camps, but it did mean that we could get on with life as near normal as possible here on the shores of Sand Lake. So it was camp with a difference, but it WAS camp, and we all needed that.

It goes without saying that we are eternally grateful for everyone in our camp community who ‘provided’ us with the boys, without whom there is no camp. I have said this many times before, and I will say it again; camp is the people who come here, and not the physical aspects of camp itself (as good as those are). We need campers to make camp: we need staff to make camp happen. Everything else is a bonus. It is for that reason that I want to thank you parents for sending your boys to CM this summer. Whether it was for first session or second session, or, indeed, for both sessions, it is the boys who provide the noise and the reason for our being here this year. We had a great group this year – including over 65 new campers – and the future looks bright indeed with this group. That you allowed us to take care of, and work with, the most precious people in your life(s) is, perhaps, the greatest compliment you can pay us. I’d like to think that we did our bit in making their summer a fun, enjoyable and productive experience. If I read the crowd correctly, then it would appear that everyone had a great time, and they are already looking forward to returning to camp in 2022. I know that my mind is already there as we plan for all the things – new and old – we want to do next summer. That should include socials and inter-camp competition and Town Day, although only a fool would like to predict what the world will look like 10 months from now. If the covid pandemic has taught us anything, then it should be that we take nothing for granted, and that the human race, for all its technological advances, is just a very small and vulnerable part of the universe.

All that said, they must have been saying the same things in the spring of 1919 as the ‘Spanish’ flu pandemic petered out. People soon forgot about that and life went back to normal, so much so that in just ten short years, America was at its most imperious and prosperous best. So I am optimistic about the future, both of the world at large and camp in particular. And don’t we all have a lot to be optimistic about. Working with young people allows us to be more optimistic than most, as we are watching the future develop before our very eyes. We believe that being at camp, growing at camp, developing at camp, maturing at camp, is the best place for tomorrow’s adults to be today. It is where they can learn to be adults (men in our case), where they can learn conflict resolution, learn how to win and lose in sports, learn how to build a campfire, learn how to waterski, learn how to make their bed and learn how to live with other people. So much learning takes place in such a short space of time, and it all takes place in and around beautiful Mother Nature.

We have already embarked upon our 95th summer by opening up the application process for 2022, so please feel free to visit the website or call Jason for more information on what next year is going to look like.

“Would we do all this if we didn’t care”, is something I often rhetorically ask. No; of course we wouldn’t. We do this because, like every other camp in the US, we care about the boys/girls/young people in our care. We care about the future. We care about sports and nature and all things camping. We are glad to be able offer you, the parents, a safe place for your boy to grow and learn and enjoy the summer. We want to be able to do that next year, the year after and for many years to come, and we’d love it if you all came along for the ride.

Thank you for letting me play my part and for making a small difference in the life of your boy. With our staff and your boys, you know that all will be well, so safely rest.

Goodnight everybody

As ever…WOODY!

Woody's Word,