The Latest News From Mayhew

2017 First Session, July 15, Day 25:


Homily for the day: Mayhew: More than a place.

Riley (2x7) arrives with his group at the Lodge, having lugged his gear from the cabin area: “Ehh, this bag hurts so much!  It’s full of shoes and clothes – and awards!”  Yes, Riley, you certainly are heading home with much more than you arrived with 25 days ago.

Jacob (2x7): “Colin [Lucas – Senior Staff member], are you coming back next year?” [Colin nods] “Then I’ll see you next year!”

Zach (Radioactive), showing off the cabin plaques to his family: “One Liners!  Ha! Ha! Ha!”  Great to see that cabin spirit and pride coming through, Zach, even when you’re talking about someone else’s cabin!

Dante returns to the boat with his family after giving them an Island tour.  A member of the staff asks a family member, “Did you get the full tour?”  She replies, noticeably winded (and relieved to be back at the boat): “Yes! We went all the way up some major mountain [the cabin hill]!”

The Mayhew staff looks forward to catching up with all the boys after the summer, to hear about what “mountains” they’ve climbed since departing the Island and to be there with and for them as they climb into and through the school year ahead!

Remember, Gentlemen, Mayhew is not only with you; it is you!


2017 First Session, July 14, Day 24:


Homily for the day: Personal pride is an award that never gathers dust.

Today is Awards Day.  But first…Some news from yesterday: Who were the champions of yesterday’s Challenge Day?  Well, from one perspective, all six cabin groups faced big hurdles throughout the day and, by day’s end, all six could find some shining individual and team moments to point to.  There was one group, however, which worked consistently to ensure the hurdles in the way were not of their own making, a group which pulled together time and time again to find their best.  Congratulations, 2x7!  You came together through the stress and the strain to “build” a day to remember!

Congratulations also goes out to Mayhew’s two Humannn Chess Game finalists, Joey (Bacon Bits) and Bohden (Radioactive), who, last night, took center stage in front of the whole community, directing the biggest chess match on Newfound Lake.  In the end, Bohden succeeded in placing Joey’s king in checkmate to earn the title of Humann Chess Game Champion.

During free time before breakfast this morning, there is another center stage: the Mayhew Room mantle, where all six cabin group plaques are displayed.  It is the first time the boys have seen them and the reviews come, by and large, with smiles.  Keith (Snack Attack) takes an immediate liking to his plaque and he also takes a mature, rather philosophical perspective on the fact that, unlike a few other cabin group plaques, Snack Attack’s does not list a championship.  He says, “We didn’t win anything.” [Pause] “Even though you don’t win anything, that doesn’t mean anything.”  Keith, we think you have indeed won something: wisdom.

Just before the group’s head in for breakfast, there is a special announcement.  The third member of the Outer Circle (Island honor society), Noah (Snack Attack), takes the top step of the North Porch and receives the coveted blue bandanna from former Outer Circle member and current Senior Staff member Naatalgaii Utter.  In announcing Noah’s induction, Naatalgaii shares a bit of last night’s conversation at the highest point on the Island, relaying that, true to form, Noah was humble, candid and thoughtful of others in his comments.  One of the things he said he needed to work on was “knowing my cabinmates better.”  This from a young man who spent a good part of the summer striving hard and well to be a good friend to each of his cabinmates.

Like every other Mayhew morning, this one is full of group activities and it culminates with another delicious lunch by the Kitchen Staff.  This meal, however, is extra special as the six cabin group tables become two, with three cabin groups sitting at each, enjoying the meal and an extra bit of togetherness, capped with ice cream for everyone.

The afternoon brings more special moments and togetherness with the Awards Day ceremony.  It begins with each cabin group’s two counselors individually recognizing highlight moments by each boy in the group.  Here’s a sampling:

The One Liners: Isiah is noted for his infectious smile and spirit – and his appreciation for sleep.  Caiden was consistently the first boy up in the morning and he became a peacemaker within the group during tense moments.   

Radioactive: Cabin Counselor Zach Alexander recognizes Jashawn many contributions to the group, noting that, “Jashawn is one of the most passionate people I know.”  Athletics Counselor Kyle Tuck calls up Kyle, remarking on his maturity and quick transition into Mayhew and how Kyle the older often found himself wondering about Kyle the younger: “Are you sure this is your first year here?!”

2x7: Jacob on the 72-foot-high Schwing Tree climb: “Whatever I say, don’t let me down [until I reach the top].”  The climb proved to be a mighty challenge but Jacob proved mightier.  Gary: “Carlos [Cabin Counselor], I’m not good at this [any number of activities] but I’m going to give it 100%.”  And, boy, did he ever!  Carlos Piedrasanta recounts how Gary never gave up trying to pass his swim test, finally succeeding on the last swim lesson.

Bacon Bits: Athletics Counselor Natalie Gutierrez shares how Liam outstanding effort in swimming frequently inspired her to stretch beyond her comfort zone in swimming, one of her least favorite activities.  Joey during a tough moment on the Schwing Tree climb: “I don’t know if I can do it.”  But he kept climbing through his fear to the top of the tree and into the biggest smile.

The Sunset Boys: Parker as a cheerleader at more than one climbing event: “Guys, you can do it, if you believe in yourself.”  Parker, it was terrific seeing your belief in them and in you throughout the session!  What was Ben’s favorite Mayhew activity?  What question did he ask more than once during the summer?  “Are we going to have a second work hour?”  No one loved work hour more than him.

Snack Attack: Gavin not only brought smiles and a creative flair to the group, he loved helping others, whenever and however he could.  Landon was another good friend to others, often cracking jokes but learning, as the session progressed, when being more serious was the way to go.

The Awards Ceremony crescendos with a special recognition for the three major award winners: Ashton (Radioactive) Trustees’ Award Winner (As the program’s most outstanding citizen), Noah (Snack Attack) Staff Award Winner (For taking the ideals of the program most earnestly to heart.) and Dante (Bacon Bits) Peter Ivy Lee Award Winner (For benefitting the most from his participation in the program). 

Congratulations to Ashton, Noah, Dante and all 39 of your Island compadres!  You all have achieved something unique and significant: you have made Mayhew – together!


2017 First Session, July 13, Day 23:


Homily for the day: Be like a duck.

Today is Challenge Day!  And it begins in fine fashion with the morning announcement of the first two members of the Outer Circle (the Island honor society): Ashton (Radioactive) and Jacob (2x7).  There could be no better way to launch into this special and rigorous day than to salute the accomplishments and continued dedication of these two fine leaders-by-example.  One of the staff catches Ashton shortly after the announcement to congratulate him and Ashton replies, “I’m proud of myself!”  As you should be, Sir! As you should be!

The Sunset Boys shined brightly last evening in the Night Owl Basketball Championship game against The One Liners, earning the title.  At halftime, One Liner Dante earned the P.I.G. Championship in an impressive game with Jashawn (Radioactive).

While the rain is steady throughout the morning, it is not allowed to “reign” on Mayhew Island. We simply shift to indoor Challenge Day initiatives.  Having the whole community in tighter quarters throughout the day adds to the challenge, certainly, but, then, that’s only fitting.

As the day progresses, every boy and every group finds out why this is called Challenge Day.  Many find that the challenges are not all external…In the Minefield initiative – where boys are blindfolded and dependent on their group to lead them in a defusing mission – there’s plenty to stumble over.  The Bacon Bits soon find that the biggest obstacle is their silliness and distractibility.  They fry up nearly a third of their allotted time before they finally organize a more serious attempt of the initiative. 

During the Pipeline initiative, in which the boys must work together to deliver marbles and golf balls of “oil” to a tank via several short pieces of PVC pipe, Snack Attack chomps on some early success but then has some group indigestion.  “Nelson” allows himself to become frustrated by someone else’s actions and he abruptly separates himself from the group, eventually taking a seat a few feet away on the Front Porch bench.  This causes an immediate halt to Snack Attack’s progress as Nelson’s participation is required – a fact he and the group know very well. The remaining six boys sit in an invisible pool of resignation and frustration.  And then…Quentin tries to engage Nelson in a conversation about why he’s upset and what can be done to resolve things.  While Nelson chooses not to engage with Quentin, it doesn’t make Quentin’s attempt any less important.  At least he was trying, which is all we can ask of ourselves: to keep trying.

At lunch, talk turns to the evening’s Humannn Chess Game between finalists Joey (Bacon Bits) and Bohden (Radioactive).  Joey recalls his game earlier in the session with Bohden, “He crushed me.”  May tonight’s game be more competitive!

A big “Thanks!” to Program Extenders Patrick and Brandon for making their Mayhew Island comebacks this rainy day and for being completely flexible and helpful in tackling some key projects for the program.  The younger boys have two fine role models to look up to in you, Gentlemen.

A full afternoon of group initiatives and Challenge Day itself is capped with the traditional All-Island Run.  Jacob (The One Liners) is looking forward to it; he remarks to a passing staff member, “I’m going to try to get 9th place [out of 42].  Last year, I got 12th.”  That’s a goal, going in the right direction, Jacob…As the Senior Staff send boys to the starting line, one group at a time, the Bacon Bits sprint over, except for Brendan, who slowly walks over, saying, “I’m saving my energy.”  When The Run begins, everyone is sprinting and expending lots of energy.  For most, their introduction to the art of pacing themselves is a hard lesson learned.  For others?  Well, the top two finishers, Martin (The Sunset Boys) and Graison (Radioactive), look like they could run for miles more. 


2017 First Session, July 12, Day 22:


Homily for the day: Embrace each moment.

Who won the Slapshot Hockey Championship last night?  It was Radioactive versus Bacon Bits and the action was sizzling (good thing this is floor hockey and not ice hockey – we’d all be in a puddle)!  As they did in soccer yesterday, Radioactive took the title.  Congratulations for harnessing your energy to reach your “goals” – once again, Gentlemen!

There was lots of positive energy harnessing and directing throughout this morning’s activities: In the first playoff basketball game, Kyle (Radioactive) put forth great effort in pursuing the puck and manning his position and Riley (2x7) was clearly disappointed with his team’s loss but he also successfully focused on the fun and excitement of the game and the competition. 

In the garbage row work hour, Nick (The One Liners) was in the coxswain’s seat for the first time but he looked like an old pro, guiding his cabin group to one of its fastest times across the channel to the mainland…While wood splitting, Keith (Snack Attack) put forth great effort for the entire period and seemed more than willing to work in concert with anyone he was paired with…In a different wood splitting team, Dante (The One Liners) somehow managed to get his fingers temporarily wedged in a particularly stubborn piece of wood but he laughed it off and kept right on splitting afterward…In more splitting news, 2x7 was in its natural element and the teamwork of Kaden, Logan and Jacob was productive poetry.  Those stumps simply had no chance!  There was more impressive teamwork with Radioactive, where Kyle and Allen paired very positively during the cleaning of the Mayhew restroom facilities…As has been his habit in nearly every prior work hour, Ben (The Sunset Boys) set the standard throughout the brush-moving work hour, putting in maximum effort and having lots of fun doing so.

Want some great reading?  Take a gander at the following list of members in the Society of Distinguished Readers (for those boys who have read at least 300 pages during the summer): Dante (The One Liners), Bohden (Radioactive), Ashton (Radioactive), Graison (Radioactive), Gavin (Snack Attack), Noah (Snack Attack) and Quentin (Snack Attack).

What’s the prevailing opinion on who will win tonight’s P.I.G. Championship between Dante (The One Liners) and Jashawn (Radioactive)?  An informal poll at The Sunset Boys’ lunch table has Jashawn as a slight favorite.  Can’t wait to see the game!


2017 First Session, July 11, Day 21:


Homily for the day: A Lego by itself is just a small thing.  Many Legos together can be whatever you make them.

Some news from yesterday…Cantor Yards was the Island’s soccer pitch all day.  Fittingly, the day ended with The Sunset Boys stepping into the championship game against the highly charged Radioactive cabin group.  By game’s end, Radioactive had earned the Kickin’ Crayfish Soccer championship with a 5-1 win.  From The Sunset Boys, Parker was recognized for his season long high spirit and professionalism on the pitch, earning the Soccer Sportsmanship Award.  Cabinmate Martin also earned one of the highest individual honors in soccer (and, speaking of honors, Martin earned an individual award for his excellent support and work in the hiking program). 

While enjoying lunch with The Sunset Boys today, we hear a bit more news: Parker has qualified for consideration as a candidate for the Outer Circle, the Island honor society. 

Today is both Slapshot Hockey Championship Day and the Regatta Championship Day, with all six cabin groups vying for each title.  For the Regatta, conditions are ideal: overcast, fairly cool and calm waters.  In the boats, there is no shortage of striving and excellence.  Joey (Bacon Bits) was a vocal and calming force, helping to hold his group together during some rough times.  Quin (The Sunset Boys) was conscientious and consistent about reaching back to help cabinmates any time they got an oar caught in the water.  Noah (Snack Attack) was a silent leader, focusing on doing his best to propel the boat and refusing to engage in some of the complaining bubbling up around him.  With one oarsman unable to compete, Dante (The One Liners) took on the challenge of manning two oars during the circumnavigation of the Island (nearly a mile).  How hard did The Sunset Boys pull on their oars throughout the race? Ben (The Sunset Boys): “It felt like we were pulled around the lake.”

At lunch announcements, Rowing Counselor Sarah Finley calls up the three boys earning individual honors for their rowing season.  They include the Most Improved Oarsman Keith (Snack Attack).  And after Keith returns to his seat with Newfound pride, Sarah is joined by Radioactive’s Cabin Counselor Zach Alexander for the suspense-filled announcement of the top three finishers in the Regatta (which is a time trial race).  Snack Attack was the third place finisher.  2x7 was second and, with a water-boiling finishing time of 24:37, the Bacon Bits will have their names added to the Dining Hall ceiling.  Congratulations to all six cabin groups for a fine season on the water!

How about the Slapshot Hockey playoffs?  Well, there’s plenty of fine action in the arena.  Including…When The One Liners fell behind in the score and began to allow their spirits to dip as well, Isiah did his best to raise them up: “C’mon, Guys!  We’re only here to have fun.”  And Landon (Snack Attack) gave his teammates plenty to munch on with a never-ending serving of cheers, “Let’s go, Snack Attack!”

As if all the championship action weren’t enough, the community is further boosted today with the presence and support of two Mayhew veterans.  Welcome back, Jacob!  It’s hard to believe you’re in your seventh Mayhew year – already!  Jacob joins Program Extension Coordinator Grayson Richey at the top of the Island, working to improve the Challenge Day course in preparation for two days hence. 

Someone who is no stranger at all to Challenge Day – and everything that comes before and after it, Mayhew program and Summer Staff alum Brandon Pierre makes his Mayhew comeback for a few days.  Back in NH on vacation from his job in Texas with Hewlett Packard, Brandon jumps back into a staff role, showing no signs of rust from his nearly two years away.  The boys and staff couldn’t have a finer role model than Brandon, who remembers well role models like Jon Eaton, who were so helpful to him in his years as a boy in the program (going back to 2004).  Thank you, Brandon, for coming back to give back!


2017 First Session, July 10, Day 20:


Homily for the day: In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but through persistence.

Some “catching” up on news from Friday and Saturday…Who won the big baseball game at the north end of the Lake on Friday, Mayhew or Pasquaney?  Pasquaney was the unequivocal winner on the scoreboard, 11-0.  But both teams acquitted themselves very well when it came to effort and all around sportsmanship.  Jacob (2x7) earned the Mayhew Coach’s Award for his steady play and role modeling.  And Dante (Bacon Bits), way to play behind the plate, where you were a settling influence for the pitching staff and where you helped lead the team from the first pitch to the last! Back at Cantor Yards on Saturday, Softball Saturday to be precise, congratulations to The One Liners, who earned the first athletic championship of the session, the Snake League Softball Championship! 

At lunch, it’s the last opportunity to sign up for a Monday Funday trip in the afternoon.  For the second year boys, it’s their last opportunity – ever.  This has Dante (The One Liners) a bit tense, as he has wanted a chance to visit the Squam Lakes Science Center ever since last year.  You can see the tension build in him as he notices that sign-ups are starting at the other end of the Dining Hall, meaning his cabin will be among the last.  When Senior Staff Mark Smedberg finally arrives at the table, Dante looks like he’s about to burst with worry and anticipation: Is there still an opening for the Science Center?  Will I be able to go?  When Mark turns to him to get his choice, Dante almost can’t say it fast enough: “Science Center!”  And…He’s in!  He’s going!  He looks down the table with relief: “That took the biggest weight off my back!” 

During lunch announcements, we hear about many boys who chose to put the weight of responsibility and achievement on their shoulders in work hour and activities…Radioactive’s garbage row work project was helped immensely by Zach’s cool head in the coxswain’s seat.  When tensions began to bubble up in the boat, Zach kept his focus on keeping a strong rowing cadence and encouraging others to follow suit…2x7’s gravel-moving work hour was strengthened by Riley’s utter flexibility; he happily filled any position/role that was needed…In the wood splitting work hour, Ben and Martin, both from The Sunset Boys, were far from “calling it a day.”  They teamed together with the wedge and sledge and had a big pile of wood to show for it by the period’s end.

In the climbing program, sometimes it’s not the climb that’s the challenge.  Both Gavin (Snack Attack) and Jacob (2x7) missed out on their chance to ascend the twenty-foot-high Bird’s Nest.  And with both boys there was disappointment.  But both also worked through it and distinguished themselves for the encouragement and support they shared with those who did get the opportunity to climb.  That’s class, maturity and strength, Gentlemen.

In the morning’s second Playoff Kickin’ Crayfish Soccer game, there were many more examples of class, maturity and strength among the players from the Bacon Bits and Radioactive.  The game went into overtime and then to goal kicks.  Athletics Counselor Natalie Gutierrez lauded the work of both goalies, Brendan (Bacon Bits) and Ashton (Radioactive).  Both players stood strong amid the constant and intensifying pressure. Talk about rising to the occasion! 



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