The Latest News From Mayhew

2018 First Session, July 10, Day 21:


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

We hear last evening’s Kickin’ Crayfish Soccer championship game was one for the ages.  It was Rocky Road and Aftershock and it could not be determined in regulation.  In the overtime period, Aftershock scored first and then, with very little time left and faced with a penalty kick in which the members of Aftershock lined in front of the goal, Keegan (Rocky Road) arced a beautiful kick over their heads and in to tie!  Then the game went to alternating goal kicks and Khadari (Rocky Road) scored the winner.  Wow!  It was a final where, yes, one champion was crowned, but there were absolutely two winning teams on the field! 

At the twenty-foot-high Bird’s Nest climb, Ethan (Nutty Buddies) puts in a winning attempt up high.  Standing atop the platform, staring out at the trapeze eight feet away and the ground twenty feet below, Ethan does some serious wrestling with his fear.  After more than a few minutes of trying to get himself to leap, he lets out some of his inner conversation, “I’ve done all the other climbs but I can’t do this!”  When one of his cabinmates reminds Ethan that he has ridden and jumped dirt bikes and, if he has done that, he should be able to make this leap, Ethan responds, “I know I ride dirt bikes and jump dirt bikes but I can’t jump a dirt bike up here…Why did I say I could do it [make the leap]?!  I want to go but I want to see someone else do it first…Why can’t you put this [the climb] lower?”  After struggling like this for several more minutes, Ethan reluctantly returns to the ground, somewhat deflated.  But after a few minutes and some support from the staff and his cabinmates, Ethan quietly declares, “I’ll try again [if there’s time].”  That’s showing heart and grit, Ethan.

This morning saw the culmination of the Rowing Program, the around-the-Island Regatta.  For Cattle Drive’s attempt, the group is down a crew mate, meaning one of the boys will have to row with two oars.  Who volunteers?  Logan, who may be the smallest boy in the group but he comes up big in this decisive moment. 

The Regatta results?  Rocky Road comes in third place with an around-the-Island time of 30:03. Sandwich Smashers comes in second place with a time of 28:36.  And just 14 seconds faster, with a time of 28:22, it’s Logan’s Cattle Drive, rowing to the title!  What a “we can” performance! 

Following the announcement of Cattle Drive’s win, Rowing Counselor Sarah Finley walks to the front of the Dining Hall and announces the session’s three major award winners in rowing.  Most Improved Oarsman is Ollie (Nutty Buddies).  Best Oarsman is Kyle (Cattle Drive) and Most Dedicated Oarsman is Anthony (Cattle Drive).  Congratulations to these award-winners and to every oarsman in the community (all 41 of them)! 

The Society of Distinguished Readers – those who have read at least 300 pages this summer – now has two members, as Allen (Aftershock) has been joined by Rhily (Nutty Buddies)…And the number of Raft Rats – members of the Swim Cove’s honor society – has multiplied, too.  The list now includes: Trip (Nutty Buddies), Alex (Crescendo), Anthony (Cattle Drive), Ethan (Crescendo), Jayme (Rocky Road), Zareth (Rocky Road), Parker (Aftershock), Kainan (Nutty Buddies) and Nick (Crescendo).

More honors and achievements are to come.  That is for certain.

2018 First Session, July 9, Day 20:


Homily for the day: Being a leader sometimes means taking a step back when the group moves forward.

Some news from the baseball and softball diamonds…On Friday, the Baseball Team more than showed up to play Mayhew’s friendly rival Camp Pasquaney.  While Mayhew came up short on the scoreboard, 4-2, we could go on at length about the level of effort and sportsmanship the team displayed.  Two familiar faces appeared on the Pasquaney team: Mayhew Links Domineaq and D.J., both of whom are attending Pasquaney for the first time, courtesy of Pasquaney scholarships.  Great to see you, Domineaq and D.J.!  And thank you, Pasquaney, for offering this opportunity to them and to so many Mayhew boys over these many years!...On Saturday, the diamond action was all on Island, as Cantor Yards played host to Softball Saturday, the playoffs for Snake League Softball.  Through all the games and striving and fun, Aftershock emerged with the championship by day’s end.

In work hour, Kainan (Nutty Buddies) emerged from carrying big crates of wood throughout the period without a complaint and with a positive attitude…Cattle Drive “steer”ed through a quality job cleaning the Boy Mines and then expressed eagerness about cleaning the Staff Mines.  That’s community-thinking, Gentlemen.

Today, the Kickin’ Crayfish Soccer playoffs take over Cantor Yards and it was terrific to see some great efforts in both the morning games, where Rocky Road and Cattle Drive took the pitch, followed by the Nutty Buddies and Aftershock.  In the first game, Matthew (Rocky Road) was a hustling force on defense.  And in the second game, Parker (Aftershock) had the hustle, too, along with some terrific composure during some difficult stretches.

Up on the twenty-foot-high Bird’s Nest climb, where the objective is to leap from a platform to a trapeze dangling in midair, there were more great efforts.  Two examples?  Mateo (Crescendo) was really focused and engaged throughout the period.  And Gabe (Sandwich Smashers)?  He was up on that platform for a long time, really pushing through his fear, genuinely trying to get his butterflies in formation for the leap to the trapeze – perhaps one of the most intimidating challenges of any Mayhew Island climb.  While Gabe didn’t find the leap within him this day, he did find success in really trying for it.  About a half hour afterward, in relaying the experience to a staff member on the North Porch, Gabe begins his tale with a half-smile and with this, “I just got scarred for life…”  We hope, Sir, that you turn that “scar” into one of those lifetime nicks that you look on every now and again for inspiration.  You handled yourself well, Gabe.  Remember that.


2018 First Session, July 6, Day 17:


Homily for the day: When life throws you a curve, relax and keep your eye on the ball.

This morning at work hour, the Nutty Buddies more than kept their eyes on the ball; they hit it out of the park, turning in their best work hour of the entire session.  Ollie was a prime example.  His cabin counselor noted that, from the start, it was very clear that Ollie simply decided to have a good work hour.

Way to go, Ethan and Julien (both of Crescendo)!  Throughout the wood splitting work hour, both teamed up to encourage their cabinmates to work with others that they didn’t always get along with.  Very good practice for Challenge Day (which is really every day)…In the other wood splitting work hour with Sandwich Smashers, Landinn was laser focused on group safety and on getting lots done…After finishing with moving brush from the cabin area, Logan (Cattle Drive) took the initiative to sweep the pine needles off the Chapel area benches, so they’d be ready for the Sunday Chapel service…In the Slapshot Hockey game between Rocky Road and Nutty Buddies, Matthew (Rocky Road) was hustling everywhere, from every position on the floor. 

Stretching themselves to help out on- and off-Island, Program Extenders Damien and Declan got caught in a driving rainstorm with Program Extension Coordinator Grayson Richey as they worked on clearing more of the Community Trail in downtown Bristol.  While they were sopping wet, the rain didn’t seem to dampen their spirits in any appreciable way.

Quickly becoming a master at the ring and hook activity on the North Porch, Ollie (Nutty Buddies) succeeds at getting another couple of “ringers” before the lunch bell…At lunch, Khadari (Rocky Road) chomps on something that Art Makechnie, Marcus Blodgett and the Kitchen Staff definitely didn’t serve: his tooth!  Is there a Mayhew Tooth Fairy?  Hmm…

This afternoon is the big baseball game with Camp Pasquaney and there is a big psyche up announcement emceed by Senior Staff Colin Lucas, in which every Baseball Team member is announced and called to the front of the Dining Hall to strong applause and table thumping by the whole community.  After dismissal, the energy is still bouncing around.  Austin (Sandwich Smashers) roars out to his cabin group meeting spot, “Mayhew, let’s go!”

Yeah, what Austin said…Mayhew, let’s go!


2018 First Session, July 5, Day 16:


Homily for the day: “A leader is a dealer in hope.”  - Napoleon

Dominic (Aftershock) nearly deals his cabin some instant hope when he darts in front of a lofted soccer kick, intercepts it with a header toward the goal and kicks a sharp shot that barely misses to the right.  What a play, Dominic!  Meanwhile, just out of earshot of Cantor Yards, Rhily builds on some hope of his own, twenty-five-feet in the air during a mildly tentative traverse of the Two-Line Bridge climb.  He briefly stalls out a couple of times, saying that he can’t reach the end tree, or doesn’t want to.  Amid some encouragement from below from Adventure Counselor Lizzie Knudsen, Cabin Counselor Ed Thompson and Rhily’s Nutty Buddy cabinmates, Rhily decides to keep sliding his way across the Bridge, eventually reaching the tree…

What’s that? A couple flashes of blue in the active sea of grey and green during free time?  Yes, indeed!  Congratulations to the first two Outer Circle members of 2018, this 50th summer of Mayhew: Ethan (Crescendo) and Anthony (Cattle Drive)!  You both wear the blue bandanna of the Island’s honor society very well, Gentlemen!  Ethan’s cabinmate, “Jace” remarks, “I want to make the Outer Circle…I’ve been qualified as long as Ethan.”  Jace, as you know, the space between wanting to make the Outer Circle and earning it is filled with time and challenge and hard work and team spirit.  You can do this filling, Jace, if you’re willing to apply yourself over the long haul.

As is always the case, the morning’s work hour projects saw some impressive efforts…In rowing the garbage off the Island to the mainland Dumpster, Nick (Crescendo) did a nifty job from the coxswain’s seat, steering the boat to shore amid lots of moored boats near the mainland.  What’s more, he took a very “nose to the grindstone” approach to getting done what needed to be done, which was an encouraging factor for the whole group…During the wood moving work hour, when his cabin group divided into two teams, Gabe (Sandwich Smashers) did well in being helpful to both and at the end of the period, he gladly carried two crates, when most others carried just one.

The Rowing program saw its second cabin group circumnavigate the Island.  Important practice for the upcoming Regatta!

Senior Staff Ed Thompson shares a bit during lunchtime announcements about yesterday’s Nutty Buddies Mount Cardigan hike…Kainan really pushed himself – physically and mentally – throughout the day…Trip said at one point, “I remember this being really hard last year and I feel like I’m really doing better this year.”  This was obvious to Ed, too, Trip.  Nice job in challenging yourself, Sir.

Two more players join the Baseball Team in time for tomorrow’s big game with friendly rival Camp Pasquaney: Quin (Crescendo) and Parker (Aftershock).  Congratulations!  They’ve joined many others who have also earned one of the highest honors in Mayhew Athletics.  Those teammates are: Jonathon (Sandwich Smashers), Nick (Crescendo), Anthony (Cattle Drive), Ethan (Crescendo), Isiah (Aftershock), Kyle (Cattle Drive), Jayme (Rocky Road), Jared (Aftershock), Kainan (Nutty Buddies), Josh (Rocky Road), Gary (Cattle Drive) and Dominic (Aftershock).


2018 First Session, July 4, Day 15:


Homily for the day: “Real strength has to do with helping others.” —Fred Rogers

Lunch free time finds Phillip (Cattle Drive) working the Rubik’s Cube with guidance from Rowing Counselor Sarah Finley…Senior Staff Mark Smedberg has an important bit of news to go over with Ben (Sandwich Smashers); Ben has recently qualified to be considered for the Island honor society, the Outer Circle.  The two sit down on the North Porch bench to talk about what this step means and what Ben will need to do (be a consistently positive leader by example, help others, work hard) to earn Outer Circle membership.  It’s a moment of pride and maybe a launching point, too.

A staff member passes by Josh (Rocky Road) and congratulates him, again, for earning membership on the Baseball Team.  Josh smiles, “I’m surprised.”…Over lunch with Sandwich Smashers, talk turns to favorite Island cookout sites with North Beach and the Swim Cove being the top two picks.  With Landinn, Austin, Jayshawn, Gabe, Jonathon, Ben and Lukus all voting for the grand champ, North Beach barely ekes out the win, 4-3.

Some highlights from the morning’s activities: When a cabinmate was having trouble with a pair of loppers during Rocky Road’s trail clearing work hour, Jayme was quick to switch out with him…Mateo (Crescendo) arrived late to the wood-splitting work hour but jumped right in with a helpful attitude and freely leant his wedge to help a couple of cabinmates who had theirs snagged in a piece of wood…In Art, Jayme (Rocky Road) came up with some outside-the-box ideas, pushing the whole group to some new horizons of creativity…In the morning basketball game between Crescendo and Cattle Drive, Alex (Crescendo) stayed upbeat even when he was wide open a few times and didn’t get the ball.  And Sam (Cattle Drive) was similarly persistent in his positivity, even after committing a couple of turnovers.

Alex’s and Sam’s “winning” games are reminiscent of the way Program Extender Aaron approached many of his Mayhew Island games way back when.  Today, Aaron is back on the Island bringing his winning approach right along with him.  After a morning of joining Program Extension Coordinator Grayson Richey in some clearing of some pesky knotweed at the trailhead of the Town of Bristol Community Trail, Aaron and Grayson relax with a bit of chess and conversation.  Aaron says his new football coach at high school, where Aaron will be a senior in the fall, is tough!  Among the many drills they’ve been doing, is the tire flip, with a 500lb tractor tire.  The way Aaron’s eyes pop when he mentions the weight of the tire seems to say that this is one of those drills Aaron both dreads and kind of looks forward to.  Funny how challenge has two sides like this. 

Here’s to more multifaceted challenges ahead – on Island and beyond! 


2018 First Session, July 3, Day 14:


Homily for the day: Success does not come from never falling; it comes from always rising each time we fall.

Program Extender Ezra, who began his Mayhew journey as a 10-year-old boy in 2012, arrives on Island with Program Extension Coordinator Grayson Richey after a very hot morning spent helping to clear a community trail for the Town of Bristol.  Though he is soaked with sweat from the work and the temps. Ezra is also clearly glad to be back on Mayhew Island and to be that person the younger boys can look up to.  Almost as soon as he appears on the North Porch during free time before lunch, Jovanni (Rocky Road) comes up to say “Hello” and to ask who he is.  Finding out that he is an Extender piques Jovanni’s interest and soon he has asked Ezra to join the Rocky Road table for lunch.  Throughout the meal, Jovanni is real interested in hearing from Ezra – and it seems mutual, as it does between Ezra and many other Rocky Road members.

After a dinner with lots of fixings, the Dining Hall fills up on hearing about noteworthy work from Achievements…During Baseball Team practice, Anthony (Cattle Drive) tried his hand at some pitching and impressed with his accuracy…In the Spanish Achievement, Josh (Rocky Road) stood out for how well he remembered some of the words and phrases from the last time and he even got into doing some teaching himself.  Muy bien, Josh!  Muy bien…In Frisbee, Lukus (Sandwich Smashers) was only too happy to help Anthony (Nutty Buddies) work on his throwing technique.  And not to be outdone in the teaching department, Khadari went from instructing some basic skills to a few boys in the Lacrosse Achievement – a requirement of the advanced ribbon he was striving for – to doing a great deal of the teaching for the remainder of the period.  Way to step up, Khadari! 

The Crescendo cabin group was off Island all day, hiking up Mt. Cardigan.  With the heat and the steep ascent, it wasn’t at all an easy day for anyone, including Nick, who struggled mightily at many points. Impressively, though, Nick never gave in, pushing through a lot of adversity and being a great role model.  That, Sir, is what hiking is all about.  What Mayhew is about.  What you, obviously, are about! 

The Baseball Team grows – again!  Congratulations, Gary (Cattle Drive) and Josh (Rocky Road)!  And you should have seen how excited Isiah (Aftershock) was when his cabinmate, Dominic, was announced as a ball team member!  Dominic was clearly happy and surprised with the honor but Isiah seemed genuinely thrilled! 

Dinner announcements were extra special this evening by virtue of a very special guest, NH Senator Maggie Hassan, who visited with her husband Tom Hassan.  Senator Hassan gave a brief primer on her job as a leader for the state and the country and then she focused on a very Mayhewesque message: ways the boys can work to be involved citizens and leaders within the state, too.  The Senator clearly made quite an impression, as immediately after announcements, she is surrounded by boys wanting to introduce themselves, wanting autographs and wanting to share their experiences on Island.  Afterward, the boys head out into activities, focused on acting on some of Senator Hassan’s words of inspiration around leadership.  And Senator Hassan and Tom Hassan and fellow Island visitors Drew and Peggy Litz, Meredith, and Scott Thompson head out and about to bear witness to some of striving.

When the visitors arrive at the twenty-five-foot-high Two-Line Bridge climb – where each boy from the Sandwich Smashers is faced with traversing a cable bridge, wayyy up there – Gabe asks, “Senator, have you ever done a climb like this?”  She replies and throws the focus back on the boys and how they will face what they have ahead of them.  When one of the boys expresses some understandable anxiety about climbing the rope ladder, a cabinmate, Austin, calmly repeats something he has heard a time or two over the last 14 days: “You control your fears; your fears don’t control you.”

You said it Austin.  Of course, the challenge – for each one of us – is to act on this.  Here we go… 



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