Have you ever heard the song by John Prine called “Paradise?” It’s one that has been around campfires for decades, and the title has been used countless times over the years to describe a summer at Deerhorn. It’s our own paradise. We have staff like Matt Winter who come up here to work on vacation from their full time job. We have kids who describe Deerhorn as their second home. And when you watch the dogs play every day, you realize that they might even be the luckiest among us. I’ve heard it said many times that “When I die, I want to come back as a Deerhorn dog.” But truly, we all are just as lucky as these dogs. I hope that when your son returns home, he thanks you for giving him this experience. To be allowed to live in a place for a few weeks that is removed from the drama of every day life, cut off from cell phones and TV, and given time to just play and be kids…we are the lucky ones. I think one reason kids liken this place to “paradise” is because it is one of the few places kids can just be themselves and feel comfortable doing so. It’s also a place where real life seems suspended, and anything seems possible.
So when I sit down to write about the day, and I think how it was just another day at camp…it’s never “just” another day at camp. Amazing things happen here. Amazing things happened today, things that, as a parent, you wouldn’t believe were possible. Pioneers learned how to pack a backpack that would carry all of their food and gear for 6 days in the wilderness. Kids learned how to waterski for the first time. Older brothers checked in with younger brothers to make sure they were doing ok. Boys were so busy having fun that they didn’t stop to think about the fact that yesterday they were homesick. Campers played hockey who had never skated before. They tried the pulled pork for lunch and actually liked it. Teenagers cleaned up their koogee and got a 5 out of 5 on inspection. Your son might have even taken a shower. All in all, it was just another day in paradise.