A Little Self Reflection: Five Days at Camp Makajawan


Who said you couldn’t have fun at a Boy Scout camp with 200 scouts in 55 degree weather in the rain? 😉

First of all, a little background: Camp Makajawan, or as the camp sign says “Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan”, is a Boy Scout camp in northern Wisconsin, about 300 miles north of Chicago, up in “God’s Country” (no, it isn’t all the way to Canada). My youngest son, Daniel, and I have had the opportunity to spend a week there with 200 other Boy Scouts the first week of August for the past four years.

Even though it rained several days, and the temperature was in the 50’s (yes I said 50’s in August! 😉 ), we had a fantastic time with our Wilmette Troop 5. It is a great time to bond with one another and truly enjoy nature: walks in the woods, participating in numerous merit badges, canoeing, and building fires. Daniel also went on a “wilderness survival night” in which the troop heads out into the woods with a knife and three matches and is expected to make it back to camp in the morning (Dad took a pass on this adventure and stayed at camp reading one of his world history books in the tent 😉 ). Daniel and the troop did make it back in one piece.

Some of the gang around one of our campfires

Even though I never had the opportunity to be a Boy Scout myself, I really admire the Boy Scout experience. Camp Makajawan is run by 50 Scout leaders, mostly young men between 16 and 22 years old. The process starts at 7:30am sharp with the raising of the American flag and an announcement to “prepare for prayer according to your custom”. All 200 Scouts, mostly between the ages of 12 and 17 are respectful, diligent, and pay close attention to the direction of the Scout leaders. The troops that are most attentive, dressed in their “Class A Outfits”, and lined up appropriately have the opportunity to eat first. Each day is filled with activities to obtain merit badges and enjoy nature activities. The day ends with the lowering of the flag, “prayers according to your custom,” and dinner, followed by camp fires.

In a world that often questions the next generation, you have to see what occurs with these young people to believe it. The boys helped one another through the exercises and merit badges, listened to one another as they shared experiences and learnings, all in a very respectful manner. I reflected on the fact that many of us adults could learn a lot about listening from these young men, taking the time to truly understand the perspectives of others rather than wasting so much time giving our opinions on what is right and wrong with the world. Spending these five days at Camp Makajawan gives me great hope for the next generation — and maybe some of them will run for office someday!

Here’s wishing you a great weekend!

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