Circus Campfire!

Hello from the Rock and I hope all who read this are getting a chance to enjoy the absolutely spectacular weather this past week has provided. Today was an eventful day filled with a sailing regatta, a Board of Directors meeting, a building dedication, and Saturday skit nights. I can certainly assure you that, “a good time was had by all!”

Just before lunch the camp sailors loaded their boats onto a trailer and went down to the shores of adjacent lake Keoka for the Keoka Lake Regatta. There, multiple camps and civilians alike competed for some pretty shiny hardware -our boys returned with their fair share. Charlie T. crossed the finish line first in his races but based on the application of some dubious, home-town handicapping algorithm, race officials awarded him 2nd. Joey and Josh H. both finished an honest third in their racing events. 

After the sailing regatta returned and we ate a spectacular steak dinner, we again had Saturday Night Skits. Tonight’s theme was appropriately that the circus has come to town. Second rest was full of rehearsing boys and costume construction. From this blogger’s perspective, a real highlight of the evening was the CIT skit where they demonstrated their developing lifeguarding skill set. Even the Board of Director members got in on the fun, borrowing an epicly motivational speech from John Belushi to get the show back on the road.

One of the great traditions up here seems to be that leaders of past summers return and reconnect to the joy and fun that each summer brings. This week we saw the return of Dave Weeks, a head counselor and director from the 70’s and early 80’s. Dave has a wealth of tradition and stories to share and during his stay, he led tree talks, canoeing trips, zen nature walks, birch bark paper and envelope crafts, along with lots of history about the camp. Today was his last full day of camp and he picked “legacy” as the word for the day. It begs the question, what is the legacy for Birch Rock and these boys? To Dave, the BRC legacy will be the cultivation of self-confident, resilient, respectful and community-minded gentlemen. For the rest of the day this blogger considered the idea Dave so nobly advanced.  

One way our camp respects legacy is to honor those who have made a lasting impression on the ethic. Today we celebrated Pete Haas’s birthday with a steak dinner, Pete’s favorite black raspberry ice cream dessert, and some stories about the kind of camper and counselor Pete strove to be. Sadly Pete left us too soon when his helicopter crashed in Korea in 1982. As we heard in the stories, Pete’s legacy is one of making friends and recognizing one boy every day for being a super camper. Pete certainly left his mark. 

Today we also celebrated Charlie MacDonald, our camp’s maintenance man, driver, chef, and offseason caretaker by dedicating a building in his name. Seth Brewster, another former director of the camp and current BRC Board president said that if all our boys could work as hard as Charlie, he knows they’ll live successful lives. Charlie gives these boys a model to follow and now the camp has a building to commemorate Charlie’s legacy. 

Today the Board met for multiple hours to discuss the future of our camp. As they finished, I asked them what would they hope to find as BRC’s legacy fifty years from now. Some just smiled in answer to the implied question of what constitutes the best stuff the Rock has to offer. One summed things up quite well. He said that he hopes to see the camp continuing to provide kids the safe space to be kind to one another; where they can continue to find joy in the simplest of things: a well-earned badge, cookies for dessert, and celebrating the successes of friends. 

The legacy of the Rock comes in many forms and at many times throughout the summer and it’s easy to overlook its impact as the impact is being made. It is not so easy to overlook how it leaves our boys. I feel so lucky to have found such a joyful, kind, and unique spot. Goodnight and please know your kids are dreaming of another awesome day on Lake McWain. 

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