Our boys went to a YMCA camp in the Berkshires starting at age 10. We chose Becket because it was not competitive. Rather, it focused on developing character. Although we prefer not to take credit or blame for the people out children are, we do thank Camp Becket for helping us.
Both boys attended for years. Seth was a village director, overseeing a group of counselors in 1991, and Jeremy took a summer leave from his job to lead a group of Becket campers to China in 1996. Since we are vacationing half an hour away, Jeremy arranged a visit to camp. After all, in six more years, his son could be going there.
Becket looked pretty much as it did 28 years ago when we dropped off Seth.
We, of course, are very different.
Our visit brought back the anxiety of leaving a first-born to someone else's care, of the worry when at 15, Seth went off to work with fellow campers in a tiny village in Kenya, and then Jeremy at 15 to Sweden and Russia.
So much was the same—the sailboats, the four-square courts, cabins with no electricity, no I-pods or email allowed. Just boys being boys.
The camp director set aside a table for us in the dining hall at lunch, and we were joined by a fellow camper of Seth's who is now the camp pediatrician, like his father-in-law was when our kids were there. It was very noisy, but very organized. During the after-lunch announcements, we were welcomed and introduced as heroes (well, the kids were the heroes). The campers erupted in cheers.
It was déjà vu all over again.