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2017 Second Session, August 12, Day 25:


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

Zander (Super Chickens) proudly wears his Basketball Sportsmanship Award as he serves his table as waiter for the last meal of the session…Breakfast is punctuated in the best way with the induction of the final member of Second Session’s Outer Circle, DJ.  Well, well earned, DJ! 

Following brief recognition ceremonies for each cabin group and the families on the mainland, many boys bring their families back to the Island for a tour.  Asher (Positive Palooza) strolls his family through the Lodge and the Dining Hall, stopping at his table: “This is the table where I ate for the last 25 days.”…Alex’s (High Koalaty) mom notes with one member of the staff how glad and grateful she is that she happened to be Mayhew Outreach Staff Steven Rossmeissl’s Uber driver during a trip he made back in May.  As their conversation during that ride turned to Mayhew and its mission, she found herself thinking what a great and needed experience it could be for Alex.  Three-and-a-half months later, she’s thinking she was right.

The reunion between Anthony (No Words Needed) and his mom is a mutually emotional and ecstatic one, where he leaps into her arms for a long and loving hug.  Looking on and feeling the love from across Mayhew’s dirt lot, Kainan (Funky Fresh) runs over to them with a smile, “Can I have hugs?!” 

On the boat ride to the Island, Kainan and Anthony bubble fairly regularly with tidbits to share with their families.  Anthony: “Mom, guess what?  I made the Baseball Team [one of the highest honors in the Athletics program]!” 

In the days to come, there will surely be lots more Mayhew tidbits being shared.  And in the weeks and months to come, the staff looks forward to joining the boys in making more Mayhew memories in their home communities throughout the state. 

Yup, it’s time for that “more than a place” work!  Here we go!


2017 Second Session, August 11, Day 24:


Homily for the day: I have been changed for the good.

A reach back “Congratulations!” to yesterday’s Challenge Day Champs…Funky Fresh!  It wasn’t always pretty – there are always stumbles for every Challenge Day Champion – but when things were at their most difficult, Funky Fresh kept on plugging away.  And frequently, they pulled together when they needed each other most.

The morning activities are spiced with a special visit from U.S. Senator and Former NH Governor Maggie Hassan.  When Senator Hassan stops briefly in on No Words Needed midway through their end-of-summer Mayhew survey, she asks if anyone has an idea of what a senator does.  Without much delay, Elias replies: “Speaks for the people.” 

After some pre-Awards Lunch words from Senator Hassan, everyone percolates into the Dining Hall for the last noontime meal of the session, followed by the final quiet hour and then the first and last Awards Ceremony of Second Session. 

While there are many, many awards to go around, perhaps the most special part of the ceremony is when each member of the community is individually recognized for what he has brought to his cabin group and to Mayhew Island this summer.  Here are a few snippets:

Hunter (Positive Palooza) was always a positive force on the hikes, where he served in the Scout role, looking out for his cabinmates and for ways of keeping everyone together.

Jaiden (Positive Palooza): Athletics Counselor Natalie Gutierrez tells of the soccer game where Jaiden was in goal and an opponent fell in front of him.  Although the ball and the play was rushing toward him, he instantly offered his help to this boy.  And when the other team scored because he was otherwise engaged, he shrugged it off, knowing he had made the right choice.

Eric (High Koalaty).  When Eric was pumped up – and that was a lot of the time – his energy usually spread in a positive way to his cabinmates.  He often made the staff and the other boys laugh, when it seemed to be needed (and sometimes when it wasn’t).  And he showed a lot of growth over the course of the session, growth we hope he continues to foster in the months and years to come.

Perhaps one of Logan’s (High Koalaty) most impressive moments came during his climb of the twenty-foot-high Climbing Wall, where he kept shouting down to his belayer, “Let me down!  Let me down!”  The odd and impressive thing, though, was that, as he was saying this, he kept climbing higher and higher, eventually reaching the top of the climb!

Anthony Words Needed)  had a very difficult beginning to the session, where he seemed to wrestle mightily with homesickness.  But he kept the door open to involving himself in the community and it wasn’t long before his thoughtfulness and quiet leadership skills began to percolate through.  During the last several group discussions in the cabin, it was not uncommon for Anthony to say things like, “Today is going to be such a good day.  I don’t want to leave this place.”

After a particularly tense argument with one of his cabinmates one time, Elias (No Words Needed) returned to the group with some blueberries he had picked for him.  His cabin counselors described him as a beacon of light for the group when things got tough. 

One of Jacob’s (Funky Fresh) many shining moments came during yesterday’s All-Island Run, when a cabinmate, Gaige, fell right in the thick of the pack.  Seeing this, Jacob immediately turned back, weaving his way around the racing bodies to get to Gaige to help him up and ensure he was Ok.

DJ (Funky Fresh) achieved a great deal this summer – for himself and for and with his cabin group.  He could be counted on to be a supportive and fun leader when it was most needed.

Mr. Energetic, a.k.a. Thaiyne (Tough Timers)…As Cabin Counselor Ron Callahan put it: “The Library and quiet hour were Thaiyne’s kryptonite.”  Being still and quiet for any period of time inevitably had him wanting to run laps around buildings and getting out and doing something.  What he did over the course of the session was learn and grow within the community and within himself.

Angel’s (Tough Timers) pleasant persistence, especially in pursuit of the Miler’s Club at the Swim Cove, was just one of many traits that made him a leader within and for his cabin group.  He gained entrance into the Miler’s Club on the very last day he had for qualifying.  In this and many other things, he was a role model for the whole community.

Especially in the beginning of the session, Justin (Super Chickens) preferred doing things on his own, being an individual, rather than considering himself more of a group member.  While this didn’t change 180 degrees over the course of the session, he certainly grew and contributed a good deal as a teammate.

Sam (Super Chickens) was a constant source of energy for the group.  He was not only often ready to join in the fun of the group but he often stepped up as a leader and in work hours, he partnered easily with many cabinmates and would often be heard singing as he worked.

Congratulations to the boys who earned a coveted spot on the end-of-summer Link-Up Preview Trip (for the Island’s outstanding leaders who are heading into Link-Up , the next stage of Mayhew, next summer): DJ (Funky Fresh), Adam (High Koalaty), Domineaq (No Words Needed), Elias (No Words Needed), Gavinn (Super Chickens), Angel (Tough Timers), Ahmad (No Words Needed) and Sam (Super Chickens).

And congratulations to the session’s three major award winners: Peter Ivy Lee Award Winner Elias (No Words Needed), Staff Award Winner DJ (Funky Fresh) and Trustees’ Award Winner Gavinn.

Congratulations to each and every boy for completing the Mayhew summer and for doing it as a key member of the community!


2017 Second Session, August 10, Day 23:


Homily for the day: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

This is Challenge Day, where the most difficult challenges can often be found between you and yourself and you and your group.  The day begins in stirring fashion with the induction of the session’s first members of the Outer Circle: Anthony (No Words Needed), Gavinn (Super Chickens) and Luke (Tough Timers). 

Asher (Positive Palooza) to his cabin counselor Cody Estes just before he attempts another swing on the Prouty’s Landing rope: “Cody, if I make it, 25 cents Mayhew Money.”  Ah, Asher, your smile says you know you’re just joking.  After a couple of failed swings, where he skids across the ground a few feet, Asher seems on the verge of giving up, saying, “I’ve done it [swung] two times already and I’ve hurt myself.”  His cabinmate Hunter chimes in on an encouraging note: “Third time is the charm.” 

At the Island Hopping initiative, No Words Needed encounters some real difficulty.  “Randal” sits defeated atop the first “island” platform: “This is too hard.  It’s too frustrating.”  At least two other boys seem to be in that same defeated mode.  Cabinmate Jovanni responds: “That’s why they call it Challenge Day.  Who wants to challenge ourselves?  Who’s with me?  Guys, we’re brothers.”  Regrettably, this doesn’t have much of an effect on Randal, who seems bound and determined to remain in his defeated mode.  As time slips away, the feeling of defeat continues to spread to others.  Impressively and suddenly, Nick, who had seemed ready to accept defeat just a few minutes before, shifts himself into rallying mode.  While Randal sticks with defeat: “I am not doing this,” Nick keeps on trying.  A few minutes later, Elias utters the following observation: “We beat everything [the group has won every sports and group title to date] and yet Challenge Day is what stopped us.”  But as Elias seems to know, even as he lets this statement into the air, and, certainly, as Nick and Jovanni and, yes, even Randal surely know…It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

During the height of frustration and “stuckness” at the initiative after Island Hopping, the Traffic Jam, Anthony clearly feels the disappointment of the moment.  Seeing this, Domineaq approaches him and says earnestly and in an I’m-with-you tone, “You know how to look like an Outer Circle member?  Look up and put a smile on.”  A bit later, during another moment when Domineaq steps forward to support, Elias declares, “Domnineaq, if you don’t make Outer Circle, that’s trash.” 

Per tradition, Challenge Day is capped with the All-Island Run, which is short of a mile but includes lots of, well, long stretches of challenge.  First across the finish line, looking barely winded is DJ (Funky Fresh).  He is followed by Adam (High Koalaty) and Gavinn (Super Chickens), who make it a close race for second.

The day wraps with a steep challenge for the mind, the Huuumannn Chess Championship, where DJ (Funky Fresh) and Asher (Positive Palooza) play on a regulation board (from the Groton School Camp days) and 32 of their fellow Mayhew Islanders stand on a life size board in the transformed Hockey Arena, ready for a BIG game of matched wits.  And a big and extended game it is, taking DJ and Asher – and everyone – close to heading-up-the-hill-for-the-night time.  Eventually, however, DJ emerges from the game the winner but Asher certainly has plenty to be proud of, too. 

Looking back on the day – and the session, and the many past summers on Mayhew Island – Nick (No Words Needed) seemed to sum it all up in two compact sentences earlier, during an especially difficult time, “Welcome to Mayhew!  Challenge yourself!” 


2017 Second Session, August 7, Day 20:


Homily for the day: Embrace every moment.

On Saturday, No Words Needed embraced every challenge they faced in the Hockey Arena and earned the session’s first championship.  Congratulations on your Slapshot Hockey title, Gentlemen!

Today is Zander’s (Super Chickens) 13th birthday.  Here’s to a great teen hood, Zander!...In work hour, everyone in Positive Palooza earned full pay during the garbage row and Asher did a particularly noteworthy job as coxswain, keeping a consistent rowing cadence and doing his best to direct his cabinmates toward well-coordinated strokes…Blueberry picking can be a real “plum” work hour but to earn full pay you have to take a “fruitful” approach and pick for the whole community rather than your own appetite.  Here’s to Elias and Anthony (both of No Words Needed) who had a “berry” good time picking for others rather than themselves.

At the twenty-foot-high Voyager’s Crossing, Justin (Positive Palooza) was the first to climb but he was even more impressive after his climb, as he set about the task of cheering on and guiding his cabinmates during their ascents.

The Island community was boosted by a special visit by a NH leader focused on helping others find and build on their strengths, U.S. Congresswoman Annie McLane Kuster, who spent the morning touring Mayhew, seeing the boys in action, joining them for lunch and sharing a few words of inspiration and appreciation to cap the announcement period.  Thank you, Congresswoman, for making the time to share some Island time with the boys!  And thank you to Jake Berry for helping to facilitate Congresswoman Kuster’s visit!  A little trivia: Jake recently completed a board training fellowship through the NH Center for Nonprofits.  Can anyone name the Mayhew legend and leader who was Jake’s mentor during the fellowship?  Hint: He has a certain field named after him on a certain NH island.


2017 Second Session, August 4, Day 17:


Homily for the day: If you want to see the sun shine, you have to weather the storm.

Domineaq (No Words Needed) has earned enough points in the Achievement program to be considered for the Outer Circle (Island honor society).  Now, Sir, it is up to you to continue leading by example, working hard and helping your cabinmates, whenever you can…Though they were both stung by wasps during the morning’s garbage row work project, Mathew and Jacob (Funky Fresh) gritted and shrugged through the pain and put in very strong efforts throughout the period…While work hour has never been high on Landinn’s (Tough Timers) list of Mayhew favorites – in fact, it has been easily at the bottom of the list – he chose to shift into a different perspective for this morning’s wood splitting project, working diligently throughout.  At one point, he remarked with delight and pride to his cabin counselor, “We’re really wrecking this wood pile!”…In fishing, Logan (High Koalaty) was a model of patience and persistence and cabinmate Trip netted a big fish, the first of his fishing career! 


2017 Second Session, August 3, Day 16:


Thaiyne’s (Tough Timers) idea for a wee change in the hiking program?  Take an airplane to the top of the mountain and then walk down.  Hmm, we don’t expect that to actually take “wing” any time soon but we’ll keep it in the future hopper, Sir.  On a completely realistic and more impressive note, Thaiyne shares that his goal is to earn his advanced ribbon in swimming during Achievements…In the Hackey-Sack Achievement, Logan (High Koalaty) made moves toward his advanced ribbon by doing a terrific job of teaching some basic skills to the beginners in the group…

Today was the big baseball game with our friends at Camp Pasquaney.  Playing at home, there were lots of impressive performances on the Mayhew team.  Domineaq (No Words Needed) pitched a fine game from the mound, earning the Coaches’ Award for his stellar play and sportsmanship…Domineaq’s cabinmate, Anthony, was also his battery mate, putting in a solid defensive game behind the plate…Angel (Tough Timers) started at third base, moved to left field for a bit and then returned to third base.  As for the game itself, it was unquestionably a defensive battle, ending in a 0-0 tie.  We thank the Pasquaney team – which included Mayhew Link Landon – for their great effort and sportsmanship!

At dinner, we hear about the Week 7 Link-Up canoeing trip.  It included a challenging 15-mile day, sightings of both a bald eagle and an osprey, some successful fishing and some cooling and and fun splash wars.  Damon did 600 strokes in a row at one point…Sylas arrived for the trip expecting it would be a biking expedition but he shifted into the canoeing without complaint and did a lot more than just “float” through the week…Brandon provided great energy…Noah encountered some personal roadblocks on last year’s trip but this year, during that 15-mile day, he was cracking jokes and helping everyone see the fun at the end of a hard and long day…Mayson got along well with everyone on the trip and, though he complained a bit about the early start one day (“I really need my sleep!”), he eventually shifted into a can-do mode…Xavier caught 2 fish over the course of the trip and was often there for others, offering to help them improve their paddling technique.                                                                                   



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