Dear Campers and Parents,
Forgive me--I overslept--but what an evening. Our new campers arrived and the skies were blue and sunny and we were all smiles.....The idea was to try to get into program as soon as possible by having the new campers take their physicals as they got into camp, then their swimming tests, scuba and riding tests, if interested, and to sign up for activities on Saturday evening (the same day as they had gotten into camp), and be on full schedule by Sunday morning. We were sailing along, and the boys had eaten a fine dinner and were continuing with testing when in rolled ominous black and angry clouds--we all watched it and enjoyed the sudden rise in the wind and its cooling effect on us--and then in rolled a howling raging gust of wind and a sheet of rain and the lights went out and they stayed out for 5 1/2 hours, so it was quite a night.
Sunday morning appears to be a very pretty day, and the weather report is for clearing skies and hot weather. I keep avoiding the topic of the effect on all the staff and fellow campers of your boys and I can only say that there was an emotional letdown as each of you began to depart from camp. As I began saying goodbye to each of you, and as you left camp, I got a lump in my throat and I felt that my own son, Jimmy, was leaving me. I guess the difficulty of having a four-week offering is that the staff gets so intertwined with each of their boys and when the campers leave for home, its hard on our emotions. Still, there is a need for this type of camping and I know that for each of you campers, you loved every minute of your experience. I think that the rain also had a good effect on the cabins because it allowed each cabin group to talk to one another in the darkness and it enabled the old-timers to better get to know the new campers.
Last week was a busy one as your sons have already told you. We had a fine movie and on Tuesday it was U.N. Day---there were many meetings prior to the day itself and the campers who were the leaders and their staff members spent hours planning strategy and trying to place their men in events that would best help the team win the day. We split the program into (1) Songs and Cheers and advertising which was worth 5 points for the winner. Israel did a takeoff on Fiddler on the Roof and had a counselor tripping along with a harmonica in his mouth playing the Fiddler theme and their head leader gave a speech using the If I Were a Rich Man song theme and saying would it be such a wicked thing if Israel were to win We then lunged into a giant marathon in which all campers were involved and from then on the day was broken up into a series of three major periods. At the halfway mark, we had a staff relay race and that was followed by a camper relay race. At the halfway mark it was a very close race and three different countries was a dog race between the countries of Poland and England, with Poland holding a slim lead. It boiled down to the fact that Poland needed to take a second place in the Tug of War to win, and England had to come up with 10 points to have a chance. Israel had the pairing against Russia, and so they would have no effect on the final result. But Poland was paired against England, and the pressure was on. When Poland and England lined up on both sides of the rope, you could have cut the pressure with a knife--(it was so thick) and as I blew the whistle to start the event, every face began to move toward their goal, and now Poland tried to regroup--as England inched toward the line, sweat began to pour from the foreheads of the boys--their counselors were begging Poland to hold fast but it was of no use--for as England crossed their line, there was a mighty roar and the boys grabbed one another and screeched for joy. Still it wasnt over and England had to beat Israel to win the day. But they knew that they were going to win and it was almost anticlimactic as England won the last tug and eked out the day. I might add that we made an error of one point in our last series of events, and it was almost an hour before we discovered that England had actually won the day. We had thought that it was a tie between Poland and England, but the final official score was Poland 141 1/2 and England, 142 1/2 points.
Wednesday was our final Cruiser Day and the weather was gorgeous for the boys, Every counselor went all out to make the day a success and it really was a great day. Some of our boys visited Bonn Falls and swam under the waterfalls and other groups visited many other interesting places, Thursday was rainy and kept us under wraps but at night Camp Ohtangagon had a home-on-home social with us, and the boys had a great time. The young guys ran up to me the next morning and wanted to know if we could have a return social with Camp Ohtanogan (with one day left for the social) and I told them I didnt think there would be enough time left to set up a return social...(What do you think, parents?) Friday was packing day and the boys began to realize that camp was almost over. It was hot and rainy throughout the day, but we tried to carry on activities and to give the boys a chance for a last ski ride or scuba trip, or to do the things that they loved to do at camp. We gave out awards and jackets and emblems and all the other things after lunch, and made sure that the boys packed them in their footlockers. Friday night was our final Key Log Ceremony, and the boys spent a long time giving thanks for all that had happened to them at camp and suddenly beginning to realize that camp was over for them.
On Saturday morning we awoke our early departure group at 6:30 A.M. and from then on those boys going home were on their way. Each group got off on time and many of our boys went by plane home while others went by chartered Greyhound bus. The only hangup was that there was so much luggage to go home that the plane could not carry it all, and 6 pieces of luggage were held up and did not arrive until the next two flights went to Chicago. This week I am going to try to type up a special comment sheet in which Ill fill you in on the things your son did while at camp, and a special comment section on the type of experience that your boy had while at camp. I will also give you a special breakdown on the spending money account of your son and how it was utilized. Many parents do not realize the many things that go into the spending money account and I will try to clarify the situation.
So here we are, or rather I should say, Here I am---alone in the office with the camp rather quiet, and my thoughts on the wonderful four weeks that just flew by. It was a tremendous session, and I know that each of your boys had the best summer of their lives--and the funny thing is that they are going to first really realize it as the days pass by. When theyre ready to go skiing or riding, the facilities arent going to be there. And they are going to miss camp, and they are going to drive you crazy as the novelty of being home wears off, so be PREPARED parents. And to all of you, you will probably not hear from me after the next letter this week for quite a few days as I will be wrapped up in our second-half of the season, but as fall rolls around Ill be in your area to visit you and show you movies of camp. The boys will receive a birthday list in about 4 weeks, and each of you have one job to do for me. Talk to new boys and let them know about Timberlane, and I know that when I visit, youll be my best advertising for new campers.