First Session, Day 2

Homily for the day: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Two of six cabin groups have adopted names.  Cabin 2 is on its way up as Crescendo and Cabin 4 is Aftershock and they “can’t be stopped.”  We hear another cabin name being considered is Rocky Road. 

Congratulations to Dominic (Aftershock), who is the first to hook a fish in this 50th summer of Mayhew!  In the afternoon, 13 more fish are caught – and released.  Could First Session see a record-breaking catch?  Stay tuned.

In the moments immediately following a bad loss in the morning soccer game between Cabin 4 and Cabin 5, Jonathon (Cabin 4) tries to bring some light and perspective to the gloom, “Look, guys, this is our first soccer game.  We’ll get better.”  There is conviction in his voice and though he doesn’t immediately turn on the sun for everyone else, you get the feeling this won’t be the last time he jumps in and tries to help pull his cabin group through a tough time.  That seems to be you, Jonathon and that is certainly the Mayhew way. After the afternoon quiet hour, Cabin 3 jumps into swimming, specifically flutter kick practice.  All seven boys place their hands on the dock and start the water churning and boiling on Swim Counselor Natalie Gutierrez’s signal.  After more practice with the whole group, Natalie shifts to some one-on-one instruction and swim testing as the rest of the group shifts to a game in the shallows.  Trip swims alongside Natalie, trying for two consecutive laps without stopping.  His reaction upon reaching the dock and completing his test?  He shouts excitedly, “Yes!” and turns to meet Natalie’s high five.  “I passed!  I am so tired!” 

Upon the end-of-lesson whistle, “Wade” grudgingly makes his way out of the water, straddling over the last swim line as he does – a Swim Cove no-no.  His cabin counselor Noah Kartha directs Wade to a nearby tree for a timeout.  Within ten seconds, Noah is standing by Wade’s side, asking him calmly if he knows why he was asked to take the timeout.  Wade owns up to stepping over the swim line and says he’ll swim under the lines in the future. They shake hands and Wade makes his way to the changing area.  Except…He then abruptly turns around and steps his feet back in the water.  After being asked by Natalie to come out of the water, Wade lingers, seemingly oblivious to her request.  Natalie asks one more time and when she gets the same non-response, she directs Wade to take a timeout.  Like Noah a few moments before, Natalie quickly and calmly approaches Wade, asking him if he knows why he was asked to take the timeout.  He replies that it was because he was in the water and didn’t step out when Natalie asked him to.  He states that he’ll stay out of the water and try to follow directions better next time.  Again, there’s the handshake between staff member and boy and then Wade jogs to the changing area.  Nothing like some responsibility practice to help Wade to some stronger “swimming.”

Just a short jog from the Swim Cove, the Cantor Yards soccer pitch is alive with Aftershock taking on Cabin 1 in the first game of the afternoon.  At the end of the game, Aftershock groups up to cheer on Cabin 1 and Isiah has just the right cheer: “Manners matter, kindness counts!”  That’s some fine second-year leadership, Isiah!

For the second period of the afternoon, Aftershock brings its “can’t be stopped” energy to Adventure and the Turning Over a New Leaf group initiative, in which the boys are tasked with standing atop a sheet and turning it completely over without anyone touching the surrounding floor.  “Malachi” remembers the activity from last summer but his penchant for goofing isn’t exactly helpful to the effort.  He chuckles and steps off the sheet on purpose, causing the group to restart.  After repeating this a few moments later, Malachi says, “This was my Challenge Day last year.  This was the hardest thing by far.”  Soon Malachi’s silliness gets others percolating and the activity begins to look like the hardest thing this year for Aftershock.  Impressively, Ryan Rollins is among a couple of boys continuing to work at turning over the sheet.  Though he will later allow himself to fall into silliness, too, his resolve and effort in this moment is forward moving.

During the afternoon Achievement period – when everyone can choose an activity/skill to learn more about in smaller groups, there’s a wide menu offered.  Just a few examples: In the Hockey Arena, there’s indoor soccer.  During the scrimmage portion, Anthony (Cabin 5) is playing in goal when a kicked ball bounces off his head and in the net.  He laughs off his accidental score on himself and keeps playing.  Talk about playing…Phillip (Cabin 5) has skill!  Period!  His footwork and dogged pursuit of the ball is outstanding and fun to watch…On the front porch of the Lodge, Cabin Counselor Giancarlo Negroni is leading a balloon shaping achievement.  Logan (Cabin 5): “I’m going to make a sword.”…In the Dining Hall, Natalie Gutierrez instructs four boys during the Spanish achievement, starting off with some numbers.  When Landinn learns how to say his age, el dice, “Guys, I’m ‘once’ years old.”  Allen (Aftershock) easily counts well beyond 20 and impresses Natalie with his pronunciation of each number…On North Beach, Cabin Counselor Noah Kartha peacefully instructs Kainen in some basic yoga poses.

Back from their “stretching” multiple day canoeing adventures on Newfound and Squam lakes, the summer’s first group of Links (the 12-16-year-olds in the program) join the younger boys in the Dining Hall for a filling meal.  Over forkfuls of good cooking, Eritier and Zach talk about their own good camp cooking, focusing on the tasty pancakes they made.  And we hear about the tent-pitching and rain fly-adjusting lesson that some pouring rain delivered to Eritier, Dylan and Domineaq.  Let’s just say there wasn’t a “dry eye in the house, er…tent” by the end of it.  Great to have you back, Links!  Congratulations on all the learning, fun and hard work. 

Here’s to more of the same for the boys on Island who we hope will follow in your footsteps and for the 7 more Link-Up groups to come this summer! 

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