No Man is an Island

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Over a century ago Mark Twain was quoted as saying, “Those of you inclined to worry have the widest selection in history.” No one knows what he might say about our current selection, but it is clear where most of our collective worry is focused today. I am trying hard, in my daily speech, to avoid the use of the word “unprecedented,” but it is also clear that we are all facing circumstances never before known.

I have also avoided sending any unnecessary emails- given that I have heard from anyone who has my email address (from Starbucks to Jiffy Lube) about their response to the Corona virus. That said, I did want to share some thoughts from the shores of Pokegama and our plans for moving forward. There is still much to learn, and we continue to avail ourselves of all relevant information and guidance from authoritative sources. As of now, our plans are to conduct normal summer sessions.

But it seems only prudent to recognize the uncertainty. Whatever form it takes, whatever operations we are able to (or allowed to) conduct this summer, we will be guided by that motto of Safety, Health and Happiness that has stood the test of time for Camp Mishawaka.

It’s only natural to think of what has come before and how some of our predecessors dealt with the worries of their day. Camp Mishawaka survived the cataclysmic disruptions of the 1st World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, 9/11 and, in 1918, the Spanish Flu. It’s interesting to note that Mishawaka’s signature smaller cabins, built in the early 1920’s for Gould Camp, were designed to limit any contagion and allow as much light and fresh-air in as possible. As we approach the start of the 110th season, we do so with great respect for what has come before and great hope for what is yet to come.

I suspect we have been able to weather these storms because Camp Mishawaka has been able to not only respond to the needs of children and society but anticipate them. I anticipate the needs of this generation of kids will multiply with the unsettling circumstances we find ourselves in. I am guided by two things: first, that we owe these kids a “childhood” and that the curative discovery that a Camp experience offers in uniquely positioned to provide that, and, second, that given proper support, love and connection, kids are incredibly resilient. Our son, who is finishing his freshman year “online,” has come to call this time “C” term- for Corona term. I am both entertained and educated by the creative content some of our staff and campers are sharing. The virtual Camp Mishawaka community is doing wonderful work to connect and care for its members.

I wrote to our 2020 parents (many of whom are also alumni) recently, citing an article I read about how John Donne’s famous words take on new import: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main….” Camp Mishawaka, as a community, intends to be a ‘part of the main’, as we are all connected by this virus, just as we are connected by the joyous things of childhood. The author states, “Covid-19 gives us an opportunity to frame our fears not in the context of panic or overwhelming anxiety, but as care. Our interconnectedness is part of the very meaning of life.”

I hope this finds you safe, healthy, and seeking and finding all the happiness you can!

Steve and Everyone at Mishawaka

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