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.
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