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We’re racing toward the final day of camp – a final day we did not expect to see in April.  A final day that we are so proud to be closing in on.  A final day that we Thank God we get to have!

So what did we learn?  So what do we know now that we didn’t know before this crazy pandemic summer of 2020 started.

We know that often, kids get a bad rap.  Not everyone expects much out of ’em.  Fewer even expect the best.  They certainly should!  For six weeks now, I have never heard whining or complaining about masks.  I have never heard whining or complaining about program changes.  I have never heard whining about special trips being missing or opening or closing being different.  Everything just happened.  Things often happened differently.  Our kids just accepted the new reality, for better or worse, as a 2020 part of camp and dealt with it.  The outside world could learn a thing or two.  Kids get it.  Kids are solid!

I know that kids can handle the school year, no matter what it looks like.  They need companionship.  They need play.  They need conversation.  They need laughter.  They need challenge.  They’ll handle whatever the school looks like, and they’ll handle it well.

I know that tradition has many looks.  It’s not how you do something that matters, it’s that you make an attempt to honor normal, and that you have a new version of normal regardless of the challenges.  Whether Black Eagles, Ranch Games, Rough Riders, or Closing Ceremonies, they have and will look different but we only got one chance to make them normal for 2020.  By God, traditions stayed important, regardless of what they ended up looking like.

I know that taking temperatures is fast and painless.  They happened every day.  The direct sunlight makes a difference.  Running, sweating and hats make a difference.  A few minutes helps make them normal.  We know, because we took over 10,000 temperatures this summer!  I know we’ll rest those thermometers for a while.

I know what primary exposures look like.  Thank goodness that the few primary exposures that we caught and tested were negative.  Our end of summer would’ve been earlier and looked different if that had not been the case.  Here’s to a lack of primary exposures in your world as school starts!

I know that masks are cooler that we thought.  In variety of color, design, shape and style, they can become a fashion statement.  I know if they hang around your neck, they are readily accessible for the whole day.  We tracked down water bottles and camp chairs, but we never lost masks!  Again, kudos to the men of La Junta.  The governor tossed us a challenge and our guys were up to it.  However, we hope on Friday, to have seen the last mask as part of a camp program.  We expect by 2021 they will be a fond, distant memory.

I know that 2020 was our most important summer ever.  I think often as the day winds down and we chuckle about the popsicle stick dog detectors, dining hall yells and wrangler antics that it would’ve been so sad if our guys had been locked down for the summer.  The smiles, the camaraderie, the independence, the running, jumping and falling, the swimming, the sounds (good and bad), the laughter and yes, the tears were overdue for these little guys.  Thanks for letting us share their release!

Good luck with the fall.  We’ll see you next summer.

Life is Good.  Camp is Better.  Boo Covid.

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