A lot of great things have happened since the last blog post! We're at the tail end of a heat wave around these parts. Even though we don't have air conditioning, it's not hard to cool down since we get to go in the lake so often each day. In addition to morning dips, instructional swim, and free swim, we've also had a steady stream of evening dips and even "hippo wallowing" during free time in the afternoon, where campers could enjoy submersing themselves in Panther Pond's cool waters.
On Saturday night, we had our first cabin cookouts of the summer. Each cabin has their own spot to gather each week and make dinner over an open fire. You'll probably get 10 different answers for who has the best cookout spot, as everyone thinks it's theirs! It's hard to beat burgers with friends sitting out under the pine trees, except if you count the dessert afterward. As the weeks progress, campers will develop their skills in building fires and grilling burgers, and everyone learns to be helpful pitching in with cleaning up the cookout site so it's ready to go for the next time.
In addition to having Pineman give a great Chapel talk, we also had our first Council Fire, where the whole camp gathers each Sunday evening to reflect on the week that was (a short week, in this case). All campers pull together on a rope to help create the spark that starts the fire. It's a time to recognize campers for awards earned and good deeds done, and to bond together in a tradition that has been taking place in the same exact spot for over 100 years.
Another tradition restarted is the Twilight League, which is an informal intra-camp softball league played during many evenings throughout the summer. Every single camper is on a team, and each team has boys across all age groups. To announce the start of the season, each group of counselor-coaches puts on a creative and always-funny skit, to go along with team names like the "Pit Stop Pirates" and "In Loco Dentist". The only thing more fun than watching the team announcements is playing in the games themselves.
We are really into the swing of things now this summer, as the traditional flow has gone from acclimating to camp life to settling into a routine and signing up for activities each morning and afternoon. Familiar options like sailing, archery, riflery, soccer, woodshop are offered alongside newer activities like Ultimate Disc, which has continued to grow in popularity over the years and is now included in our series of land activity awards. Campers are trying new things, learning what they like, setting goals, building skills, and having sheer fun while they're doing it.
Welcome to our camp chapel. For those of you who are new to Timanous, this might seem a strange place for a chapel. Where is the church or the building housing the chapel? Where is the preacher or the priest? Our chapel is different. Sitting here underneath the tall pines and the one lone oak tree is our chapel. No building is necessary. And the preacher? Every Sunday during camp, one of the Head Counselors will stand here as I am today to share their thoughts, their advice, and their perspective on camp life, as well as life in general. While we will be here each Sunday during camp for chapel, I invite you to visit chapel whenever you have a free moment or two so that you can find a quiet moment alone to reflect on matters of importance to you, to gaze at the sky through the trees, to read a book, to write a letter, to listen to the various sounds of camp, or simply to listen to the wind blowing through the trees. Many of us have already done so throughout the years…and even this summer.
“If you can survive disappointment, nothing can beat you.” While I do not know to whom to credit this quote, all of us have endured significant disappointment and hardship during the last 18 months or longer. Covid has thrown each of us, and the world, a very challenging, and an almost un-hittable curveball. Covid caused us to modify our lives in an effort to maintain our health, as well as that of our friends, families, and everyone with whom we may have had contact. For the most part, students were unable to go to school. Friends were not able to hang out with each other. Parents were not allowed to go to work…many people lost their jobs. Weddings, funerals, family gatherings did not happen. No sports. No vacations. No trips. No movies. No dates with our girlfriends, boyfriends, significant others, wives and husbands. The lives of the world have been significantly impacted, and yet here we are today! Each of us, with the assistance of our parents, our friends, and our teachers, have persevered. It has been difficult, but we have been patient. Finally, after two years, we are back at Timanous. Hurray! We will need to remain very careful in our efforts to keep all of us Covid free. We must continue to wear our masks until Garth advises us that we no longer need to. We will continue to do activities in our cabin groups a little longer before we are hopefully able to sign up for activities as usual. It will not be hard to wait a few more days after having waited 2 years! Let’s work together to stay healthy and happy. Let’s work together to enjoy our summer at camp.
SONG -- Wooded Path
“There are only 7 days in the week. SOMEDAY is not one of them." -Shaquille O’Neal. All of us have already been to a number of activities during the orientation periods on Friday and Saturday. Perhaps some of you have already been able to sign up for an activity. As the returning campers know, camp offers a variety of activities. I hope each of you takes the opportunity to participate in as many activities as you can, or that you want! Sometimes we shy away from doing something because we do not think we would be good at it, or we might be nervous to try something new. That is exactly Shaq’s point. If you say you will try it SOMEDAY, unfortunately, I suspect that you may put off trying, and you may never get to it. That would be a shame. To that point, here is another quote. “You do not have to be great to start, but you have start to be great.” Try something new. Go for it. Experience something new. Guess what? Every single one of us in this chapel today has already done this at least once. We tried something new when we FIRST came to camp! How has that worked out for you? You have an awesome opportunity to catch that first fish, to build a fire, to shoot a .22 or pull back a bow string, or build a shop project. Most of us cannot do the activities of camp at home. Unfortunately, our time at camp is limited. This is why it is important for you to keep in mind all that would like to do this summer while at camp….and actually do them! Let’s take advantage of this opportunity away from Covid. Let’s share new experiences. Let’s become re-acquainted with old friends and make new ones. Let’s sail, swim, go camping, lie on our backs to gaze at the birds in the trees and the stars in the sky. Let’s catch that big old frog. Let’s watch and listen to the loons. No more remote learning or Zoom calls for this crowd this summer. Let’s do Timanous together!
SONG -- If I Had A Hammer
“We will be friends forever, won’t we Pooh?” asked Piglette. “Even longer,” answered Winnie the Pooh. I know all the campers are happy and excited to be back at camp. You know what? So are the counselors. Why do you think they are excited to be here? The most important reason is that they enjoy living and working with all of you! They know that there would be no camp if you guys were not here. And you know what else? Like you, they are excited to be back at camp with their camper and counselor friends. This is one of the most awesome aspects about camp. Not only do campers have camper friends, you have counselor friends. You have friends everywhere. In your cabin. In other cabins. And all of the counselors. I love it! I am going to make a prediction. Many of the friends here will be your friends for the rest of your lives. How do I know that? Because many of my best friends are sitting with you now. Look at the counselors sitting around you. Most of them were campers just like you are now. Many of them were friends while they were campers, just like many of you are. I remember Jimmy Poulin catching frogs in front of Eagles. I remember the day Javin arrived with his parents for his first time at camp. I remember Nurse Jess running around camp like Olivia and Amalia do now. I remember a very young Pat Hayes telling me how great a water skier he was….and still is! I will share with you that my two sons, Jake and Nick, will tell you that their very best friends are Timanous campers and counselors. These are only a very few examples of former campers becoming my friends, just as many of you have. The experience the counselors had while they were campers made it easy for them to decide to continue at camp as counselors. They wanted to share that wonderful experience, as well as how their friendship with their counselors had impacted their experience when they were campers. Their willingness to share their camp experience will provide you with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what camp has to offer, and as importantly, about friendship. If you will let them, you will learn from the true MASTERS of camp. Do not be afraid to talk to them about camp, school, your favorite sport team or whatever. They will listen. They will encourage you. They will help you. They will be your friend. I have a secret to share. There are tons of camps who are looking for counselors right now. Many camps hire people who have no clue about working at a camp, never mind knowing anything about the culture or the people of that particular camp. Throughout the years, this has not been an issue at Timanous because campers have enjoyed their time here with many growing into awesome counselors who then return year after year to work with you guys. Our counselors are ACES. That means they are quite simply the best. Timanous, and each of you, are indeed very fortunate that we have this group of counselors at camp. They are here because they love camp. They are also here because of you! My second prediction: you will include some of your counselors on that list of friends you will have for life.
SONG -- Lean on Me
As we are about to conclude the first chapel in the 2021 summer, and begin to enjoy all the activities that our time together will permit us to share, I want to share perhaps the most important piece of advice I received from my Dad. He simply said, “treat everyone as you would like to be treated.” Let’s do this all the time, my friends!
Look to this day. For it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence. The bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day. Such is the salutation of the dawn.
After our first full day on Friday, perhaps the most remarkable thing is just how similar camp feels to any other summer. Sure, we wear face masks at certain times and gather for post-meal announcements outside under the tent, but pretty much everything else is Timanous as usual, from waking up to the bell to a sunlit free evening up on the field with friends, and so much else in between.
At the end of this afternoon, each cabin will have gone to each of the orientations, where the head counselor gives an introduction for what their particular activity is all about, including important safety rules. Starting tomorrow all campers will be able to start signing up for the ones they want, whether to go for an award, make a project, or simply have fun doing what they love.
We've also started our daily personal and cabin inspections. Each morning, each cabin has one counselors come to make sure each camper's hands are clean, uniforms tidy, and teeth are getting brushed. After breakfast, cabin cleanup offers campers an opportunity to get their bed, trunk, and personal area in order, and team up with each other to sweep the floor. The real challenge then is how clean they are able to keep the cabin during the rest of the day, when it's so easy to rush out the door to your next activity and forget that the wet bathing suit and towel needs to be hung on the clothesline! The ever-competitive weekly and summer cabin inspection rankings will surely help everyone learn the basics before too long.
A much more popular tradition is Friday Candy, which we had for the first time this summer yesterday afternoon. Each camper gets one candy bar and one soda, and unsurprisingly the line gets pretty long pretty quickly. Even with all that waiting time to think it over, it always takes a few minutes to decide on the perfect candy/soda combo once you're presented with all the options. The best part, of course, is enjoying the treats while getting to sit with your friends and enjoy a beautiful Maine afternoon.
After dinner, we had our first free evening of the year, where campers could go where they wanted and try things we don't usually offer during the daily schedule, like canoeing around the cove, playing bocce ball, and getting in on a game of ultimate frisbee. After all that running around, lots of campers took an evening dip as a good cap on the day.
Tonight is cabin cookouts, where each cabin goes to their own designated area around camp (there are a lot of opinions as to who has the best one!) to enjoy a meal cooked over an open fire. Afterward, they'll get to do a fun activity with their own cabin, like disc golf, field games, tennis baseball, or beginners beach kickball (leave it to Timanous counselors to come up with such creative and fun activities).
It was a glorious sunny day, but the even better news is that campers are back at Timanous! After 687 days apart, returning campers and new ones were welcomed by the pine trees and friendly counselors who have been preparing all week to meet them. From as close as Raymond, Maine, from as far as Tokyo, Japan, and many places in between, boys and their families turned onto Plains Road and then into camp, starting what's sure to be an unforgettable summer.
With full vaccinations or negative PCR results in hand, it was a quick health check with our nurses, a family hug and goodbye, and then a trip down to the bunkline with a cabin counselor to settle into places like Mallards, Herons, Ravens, and for a handful of lucky older campers, a bunk in the Crows nest.
Each cabin was able to spend the afternoon together, including lots of fun activities around camp like swim, soccer, basketball, frisbee, and the ever-popular GaGa ball. Old friends got to reconnect and catch up on not one but two years of this past "offseason", and new campers got to meet so many new friends in a comforting and supportive environment.
Our first meal as a full community added a new special element -- dining al fresco at Timanous! The extra tent space allows us to spread out a bit more, and enjoying the breeze off the lake on a warm evening is a big silver lining.
The evening activity brought all the cabins together on the field for some ice breaker games to get to know each other better and have a ton of fun the first night of camp. Garth recognized all of the returning campers for keeping the spirit alive through our year off in 2020, and led a warm welcome for all of our new campers as they join the Timanous family.
As the temperature dropped and the sky turned dusky, campers and counselors alike filtered down the bunkline path for the first evening together in the cabins. With lanterns lit and everyone settled into their bunks, the loons started calling, a perfect end to a great first day back at Timanous.
The counselors have begun to arrive, and it’s been wonderful to see so many old friends reunite at Timanous. As one put it, "It brings me joy to be back at camp, because it feels like a return to how things are supposed to be. It's comforting and refreshing to discover camp was the one thing that hasn't changed."
The typical pre-season rituals are well underway - setting up the cabins, putting in the docks and, most importantly, learning and reinforcing how to be the best counseling staff possible!
An Important Note for Alumni
Having alumni visit camp is always a highlight, but unfortunately we won't be able to host visitors when camp is in session. Many of our campers will be unvaccinated, and this policy plays an important role in providing them a safe and healthy summer. Please reach out if you would like to stop by after camp closes on August 12th.
It is a particularly exciting time because we are coming back to camp after closing for the first time in our more than 100 year history. As mentioned in past communications, the financial impact of our off year was significant, and led us to energize our fundraising efforts under the banner of Rise, Camp Timanous to come back stronger than ever. We have seen tremendous progress to date, and are grateful for this incredible support.
The amount remaining to complete the Second Century Campaign will take a collective effort from our community, but we have exciting news to share that will help us reach our goals...
Major gift match announced
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