Reflections Before Camp

As I sit here on the evening before the start of our first session this summer, it is hard to realize that 50 years ago Si and I were getting ready for our very first session at Camp Stewart to begin.

In 1967 I had no idea what to expect from life at camp: Si was the camper; I was his ‘support team.’ 

I do remember that one of the things I was doing 50 years ago was cleaning bathrooms and trying to make the front office look fresher and more welcoming. Manual labor seemed to be my primary calling in those days, with paying bills and correspondence a close second.

Times have changed.  Now it is hard to escape from technology; paying bills takes even more time and others do most of the correspondence. My manual labor is focused on landscaping rather than cleaning bathrooms (for which I am grateful). 

Si used to say “Every time I buy you a piece of equipment to save you time, you think of more things to do and spend even more time in the office.

It was true but it was his fault: he used to constantly challenge all: “I know you think you have done your best, but was it good enough for these kids?”

With the benefit of 50 years of experience,  I realize even more there will always be much more that could be done to make the camp experience the best experience of a child’s life and after 50 years of summer camp, I am more passionate about the need for the camp experience in a boy or girls’ life than ever.

2017 is going to be a simply super summer for the boys coming to Stewart, I feel, as the staff and the enthusiasm is simply superior. The energy and professionalism that has gone into the past two weeks of staff training has been impressive. Life is never perfect but I anticipate a summer as close to perfection as the senior staff – Jeeper and Meredith (Ragsdale), Conor and Meghan (Murray), George (Morgan), Mike (Busby), Cody (Weiss) and I – can make it! Not to mention the efforts of Chef Doan (Shockley) and his great food, Nurse Jane’s (Bull) wellness efforts and this entire staff -70% of which are returners!

We are all committed to doing our best – and to making our best good enough for each camper entrusted to us here at Stewart. We want to make Si proud.

About the Author

Kathy Ragsdale

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Kathy Ragsdale is the matriarch of Camp Stewart (and The Heart). This will be her 50th summer to be passionately involved on a daily basis (40 at Heart). She is convinced that if everyone had a summer camp experience the world would function better – especially politically! Kathy has played an integral role in making both camps into top tier summer experiences for children. There’s nothing she likes better than hugs from campers – especially visiting former campers!