YMCA Camp Kitaki

What You Can't Take With You

What You Can't Take With You

Recently I was on a video call with some other camp directors discussing the ups and downs of running a facility as complicated as a summer camp.  A friend of mine (Jack from Camp Stomping Ground) asked a question that I really liked.  “What if you moved your camp to a new site, and you had all the same things you currently have (same number of beds, climbing tower, lake etc.), what would you lose?”

It’s a hard question, because it asks us to get to the heart of the intangibles that we know exist for camp, and that we find hard to describe to other people.   For the record I don’t think Camp Kitaki is going to be moving sites anytime ever, but at one point in time in history the Lincoln YMCA did just that.  Camp Strader (near Crete) flooded every year so they called it quits at Camp Strader and found the property for Camp Kitaki in 1953.

If we moved the camp program from here somewhere else, what would would we lose?  

There are so many small things that come to mind.  The particular way sunlight shines through the oak forest, and the trees themselves create impenetrable walls of greenery making each location feel like it’s own separate room.  On hot days when the breeze picks up and sends little tornados of dust blowing down Main Street.  Even things that aren't my favorite now, I would miss on some level (the walk to the lake).

At the end of the day, I think the thing that would be lost is memory.  Not of mine or yours, but a collective memory that is held in these hills.  Every camper and staff member that comes through the gates is asked to leave a bit of their magic here at camp, and Kitaki abounds with it.  As I walk the paths I feel the people who have come before, the memories they made, and their hopes for the future of this place.  The truth of what we can’t take with us is those generations of people whose memory can never be remade, but whose recollections power the experience of those who come after.  The impact made greater by building on the foundation of the good that came before.

Thank you for being part of the intangible power of Camp, and the foundation for what comes next.

It’s magic.

Jason

Staff Night Out: Home for the Holidays 4 - Staff Alumni Event at Round the Bend on December 26th

Indoor Campout at the Copple Family YMCA - Tuesday November 19th

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