Dear Liz and Mark,
S – – talked nonstop for three hours on the way back to Brooklyn from Maine—truly not an exaggeration—and intermittently for the next four hours as well. He told me about overcoming his fear and leaping from the high rock in Coos Canyon, the knots he learned to tie and what each is useful for, unsuccessful attempts at kayak rolls and face-plants attempting slalom skiing (“I’ll get it next year”), completing the Bass Rock swim, about his friends and counselors, card games in the lodge and sort of scary mountain bike trails, trivia questions and pranking the Mr. Clean inspection, polar bear swims, improving his range skills, the camp dogs, tetherball games, collecting points for the Maroons …
I loved hearing about every detail and especially loved how this summer especially he tried so many things without concern about whether he would be good at it, because camp is a place where it’s OK to enter a tennis tournament even though you’re a rank beginner and to lose in the first round, or to fall repeatedly trying to get up on one ski. I loved watching him walk around camp, tossing his arm around a friend as they sat on the bench—his whole demeanor was so relaxed and happy. I loved watching the boys celebrating one another’s accomplishments at the awards ceremony, with their cheers and hugs and high fives.
When we returned to our ordinary life back home—to youth baseball coaches yelling at umpires, to toxic political discord and the assault of bad news on so many things—I felt regret that S – – can’t hide away at Kawanhee for longer. But I am so grateful to you all for creating such a lovely “haven,” as S – – called it, and hopeful that he can keep a bit of that Kawanhee spirit inside him, to last until he can return for another dose next summer.