by Steve Purdum on November 15
And just like that, the ground at Camp is covered in snow. As is usual, the weather personalities get excited, the predicted amount of snow falls short of the forecast and for the first 24 hours, there is an overwhelming sense of serenity that pervades Mishawaka. It’s like the cabins, the trails, the trees, and equipment now get their own version of a “winter vacation”, without ever leaving home.
“You all buttoned up out at Camp?”, I get asked by townie friends. Invariably my reply is “almost.” Today, winter buttoned things up for us, and the reply is now a resounding, “Yep.” We got a lot done this fall; repaired an ailing dining hall foundation, started both a high ropes course and a bike skills park, along with all the regular stuff. Outdoor work continues, but there is a comforting surrender that comes when woods are blanketed in snow, and you give yourself permission to let that next project wait till spring.
The truth is the snow doesn’t come “just like that.” There has been plenty of warning and, after all, it is November in Minnesota! But just as the snow obscures the view from our office, it clarifies a lot of things, too. Options shrink, focus narrows and doing the next thing, next, becomes much simpler without the temptation to open one more outdoor project. Winter brings into focus what is just up ahead, spring, and then the glorious summer.
Our attention turns to filling the Camp, filling our staff roster, learning as much as we can about how to better serve the kids that make Camp Mishawaka their summer home. It is 215 days till our opening day and, as I have taken to saying, we will take every one of them.
One day this coming spring, temperatures will hit 50, the snow will melt, shorts and t-shirts will be the uniform and, again, everything will come into focus- albeit with a new set of eyes. We will be able to walk to places on campus that have only been accessible by snowmobile over the long winter, spring work will pick up and before we know it, just like that, summer will be here, and the campers will arrive.
But, as we all know, that things seldom happen “just like that.” An experience designed to give kids a unique opportunity to learn, and grow is too important to leave to chance. The trick, as I see it, is to make the Camp Mishawaka experience one that brings kids clarity, purpose and a deep sense of accomplishment as surely and naturally as the changing of the seasons.
Until that next season comes, we’re working during this one to make sure the 113th summer of Safety, Health and Happiness is just that, and more.