Kamaji’s 98th Summer of Firsts
Kamaji’s is one old camp. As a matter of fact, we’ll be celebrating our 100th season in 2013. Given that history, you might assume that not much changes from year to year. Well, you’d be wrong — really wrong. You might even say that 2011 was the year of Kamaji “firsts”. Here’s a few of the things that made Kamaji 98th camping season “brand new”:
1. Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) was offered as a brand new activity. It proved to be incredibly popular with the campers of all ages and the staff too. No doubt we’ll be adding more SUP boards and paddles next summer. The possibilities are endless – think SUP trips on the Mississippi River ☺.
2. Mad Science was another popular addition to Kamaji’s instructional program. The brainchild of Rebecca Langsam, (a Kamaji Junior Counselor) attracted over 200 campers between first and second sessions. Whether they were making gloop or disappearing ink or nail polish or exploding volcanoes(!), every class was filled to capacity.
3. We added a brand new canoe trip to our Wilderness Trip Program. Campers going into the 7th grade spent three days canoeing the very beginnings of the Mississippi River. It’s a beautiful unspoiled part of the river. We hope the campers enjoyed their adventure.
4. The drama program was strengthened by the addition of “KamaGlee”. Each week campers had the opportunity to learn and perform a different song. From “What is this Feeling?” from Wicked to “True Colors” it was hard to know who enjoyed the performances more — the singers or the audience. Seriously, the campers were great.
5. The swim program offered a “junior” Lifeguarding class. Participating campers participated in a shortened version of the same course our counselors take to earn their Red Cross Lifeguard certification.
6. During second session, some of the Pine Manor campers asked if they could choreograph and then teach a dance routine in the regularly scheduled dance class. They did just that during the past week and will be performing their dance for the rest of camp on Wednesday.
7. Basketball was offered as an instructional activity. While this wasn’t exactly the first time basketball was taught, it was the first time this century. Welcome back!
8. Although not exactly a “first”, 2011 ranks number 1 in the percentage of cabin counselors who are former Kamaji campers: 41 out of 57. That’s over 70 percent! We are flattered that so many Kamaji alum have returned to “give back” to current campers. And if you throw in the counselors who weren’t campers, but who have worked here before, that percentage jumps to almost 80%.
Wow! Kamaji may be 98 years old, but every June it is reborn. Just wait until our 99th camping season.
More Kamaji News
Here are some program highlights of the past few days. Our regular instructional activities have been carrying on since the last Adventure Day and will continue through tomorrow afternoon. Last Thursday’s evening program was the 4th of August Kamaji Goofy Field Relays. The truth is that we usually have these races on the 4th of July, however, a thunderstorm that evening forced their cancellation. We have now proclaimed the 4th of August a new holiday at camp. (Look for pictures on Smugmug.) On Friday night, campers and counselors gathered in the Lodge to hear Mike give a Kamaji history lesson. The campers seemed to enjoy hearing about the “good ‘ol days” of no flush toilets and pine needle skiing. Saturday we were treated by the drama program to a wonderful performance of “The Wizard of Oz”. (Pictures on Smugmug.) Last night’s evening program was a real favorite — All-Camp Capture the Flag. (Pictures on Smugmug.) This afternoon we are hosted about 30 Camp Chippewa campers (they are boys) who are competing with Kamaji campers in tennis, archery, sailing and swimming meets. Tonight’s evening program is the last Council Fire of the session. Tomorrow’s evening program will be the big Staff Show, a real camper favorite. Wednesday morning is “Packing Time”. Remember the day before your daughter left for camp. Imagine packing 145 campers (and 14 CITs) all at the same time. Whew! Anyway, Wednesday afternoon will feature Kamaji’s Variety Show followed by Final Banquet and Candlelight O’Naug She Nodin. Thursday is the day you’ve had circled on your calendar since your daughter left for camp.
Travel Information for August 11, 2011
August 11th will be a long day for campers traveling home! We’ll have a 6:00 a.m. wake-up bell with the buses leaving camp bout 7:45 a.m. for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. We are sending campers to 20 different cities around the country. We’ve already sent you a travel schedule, but it would probably be a good idea to check with your daughter’s airline to see if there are any last minute changes. If you have any questions about your daughter’s travel home, just write or call.
If you are meeting your daughter at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, you should pick her up at the Transit Center of the Lindbergh Terminal between noon and 12:30 p.m. Your daughter and her luggage will be there.
If you are picking up your daughter at camp, you MUST be here at 8:00 am. Your daughter and her luggage will be waiting for you.
If your daughter is flying on DL 789 to St. Louis or DL 2207 to Chicago O’Hare she will be escorted by a Kamaji parent. You should plan on meeting your daughter outside the secure area of the concourse where she arrives or at baggage claim. You may want to ask a Delta ticket agent if you can have a security pass so you can meet the flight at the gate, however, don’t be surprised if the ticket agent says “No.” The parent escort will bring the campers out of the concourse and to baggage claim and remain with them until all parents arrive.
If your daughter is on a flight other than the ones mentioned above and is flying home as an “Unaccompanied Minor” you should be able to obtain a security pass from the airline which will allow you to meet your daughter at her arrival gate. Plan on arriving at the airport in plenty of time to obtain your security pass.
Again, if you have any questions about travel, just ask.
End of Season Information
Here are some final details about the end of your daughter’s stay at Kamaji:
1. If your daughter is missing clothing or equipment items, please notify us as soon as possible.
2. Your daughter’s store account refund or bill will be sent to you in the next two weeks.
3. Information about Kamaji’s 2012 camping season will be sent to you next week.
4. We’ll be sending a link to an on-line evaluation form in a few days. We hope you’ll take a couple of minutes and complete it. Thanks in advance.
Some Thoughts About The Session From Ye Directors
(Ed. Note: This section of the letter may sound familiar to many of you. The concepts are not new, but we’ve freshened it up a bit.)
Be prepared! In a few days your daughter will be hanging out with you. The second session of Kamaji’s 98th season will be history. We want to warn you that your daughter may, at any time during her first few days at home, fall into the “Kamaji Zone”. You will immediately notice a change in her behavior. Don’t worry as these changes will only last a short time. Right after your daughter eats breakfast don’t, we repeat don’t, panic if your daughter suddenly jumps on the kitchen chair and sings at the top of her lungs. That’s what we do at meals. And after breakfast, YOU had better sit down. We don’t want you to faint if your daughter runs to her room to make her bed and straighten up her closet. Don’t worry. We are confident that THIS behavior won’t last more than a few days. If you are sitting at the dinner table and you would like her to get something from the kitchen, just tell her that it’s her turn to be “hopper”. And if you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant, please remind her NOT to put her chair on the table when you leave. And be prepared. Your daughter will expect you to have 4 or 5 different activities planned for her each day. (How about paddleboarding, horseback riding, Mad Science and sailing — just to start.) There may be certain words missing from her vocabulary — words like “TV”, “texting”, “facebook”, “download” and even “hair dryer”. Don’t worry. Most girls will pick up these terms quickly. There are other behaviors — too numerous to mention — that you may observe during the first few days your daughter is home. If you cannot interpret any of them, feel free to call the “Kamaji Kommand and Kontro Center”. Trained camp personnel will be on duty 24 hours a day to answer your call.
Another way to ease your daughter’s transition into the “other” world is to show her the “Smugmug” pictures. She hasn’t seen any of them and what a great way to re-live the past few weeks. We suggest that you go through the pictures with her. We don’t want you to miss the chuckles.
We’ve written over the past weeks how enthusiastic the campers are about every aspect of camp. Some of the most memorable events of the past season seem to be times when the campers break out in spontaneous “joy”. (Just ask your daughter about “Little Sally Walker”.)
This season just zoomed by thanks to the campers. Why is camp better than ever? Well, just think about your daughter’s life here at camp. No matter what the campers do here, they do it with other people who can hear, see, and touch. We eat together, sing together, learn how to do new things together. We know each other’s names. We laugh together, swim with “buddies”, sail with a crew, set tables with our tribe, clean cabins together and sort laundry with our porchmates. We have a shared language (Metigs, Za, Za 2, O’Naug, keylog, gooey rolls), a shared history (“We were here in ‘2011, ‘2011…”), our own rituals (Boy, oh boy, what a day it’s been!), and most of all, shared experiences (remember our canoe trip, Tribe Day, Adventure Day). In simple terms we are a “community” where each camper is connected to her porchmates, her counselors, her tribemates, her “Kami Sister”. We touch, see and hear each other a million times every day. Yup, Kamaji campers seem to have more invested in camp than ever before! Maybe they have figured out that sleeping in a bed right next to your best friend is a whole lot better than being a “friend” on Facebook.
One Last Favor . . .
We were thrilled to welcome 71 new Kamaji campers this summer. Wow! That’s a lot. Most new Kamaji families hear about camp from friends or relatives so the large number of new campers is thanks to the support of many of you. Looking ahead to 2012, if you know families who might be interested in hearing about Kamaji, please let us know. Referrals can be friends of yours, friends of your daughter’s, relatives from another city or business contacts. We’re never get tired of talking about camp, so please send the names and contact information for anyone who may want to hear Kamaji’s story. Thanks in advance for your help.
A Final Note of THANKS
Lastly, thanks to you for trusting us with your daughter. We know what a leap of faith putting your daughter on that plane represents. We promised you that we would treat your daughter as if she were our own. We hoped we lived up to that promise.
We can only imagine how excited you will be to have your daughter back home. We wish your family the very best for the rest of the summer and the upcoming fall. We hope that your daughter enjoyed herself as much as we enjoyed having her here. We equally hope she’ll return for Kamaji’s 99th camping season. “Boy, Oh Boy, What a Summer It’s Been!”