My Favorite Camp Memory by Charlie Paige, Boys Camp Director
I recently spoke with a fellow camper from the late 80’s and early 90’s who had signed up his two sons for their first summer at Mishawaka. I had last seen him at the Camp Mishawaka Centennial celebration. His brother and sister were also campers with me for several years and it was great to catch up about our Mishawaka memories. I reached out to him in my current role as Boys Camp Director to talk about his sons’ upcoming first summer at Camp and to answer any questions he had as a parent. We talked about the program, which cabins his sons would be in, new buildings and camp improvements, and what trips we offered. At the end of our conversation, I said to him that Camp Mishawaka is pretty much the same as when we were campers thirty years ago.
Sometimes I am asked “What is your favorite Camp memory?” In talking with my friends and family about Mishawaka, I try and tell stories about my traditional camp experience to help them understand its importance to me and why I hope to be a part of it for the rest of my life. I often find myself starting with Lake Pokegama and the stunning setting of northern Minnesota. All of the canoeing and hiking trips I went on as a camper and led as a staff member are always right up there. And all of the friends I made from across the US and around the world come up when talking about my travels to and from Camp. But there isn’t one, single, favorite Camp memory that I have.
After my conversation with my Camp friend and new Mishawaka parent, it felt good to be able to tell him that nothing much has changed since we were campers. His sons would sleep in the same cabins we did, jump in the lake for Polar Bear, do mostly the same activities, go on the same trips, be served meals made by Ruth, and sing the same Camp songs. Our conversation also helped me realize what my favorite Camp memory is. My Camp friends and I have always referred to Mishawaka as “Camp”. In the end, everything we know and experienced is part of the Mishawaka experience that we love. Everything that is a part of the Camp Mishawaka community is our favorite memory. Of all the things parents are able to share with their children, the timeless value of a Camp experience is special. I look forward to meeting my friend’s two sons this summer and watching them experience their first of many favorite Camp memories to come.
I am looking forward to helping new and old Mishawaka Campers build memories, and so much more, this summer.