The Latest News From Mayhew

2016 Second Session, August 13, Day 25:


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

Last night proved to be an epic Session-ending Community Night performance by everyone on the Island.  We hear over breakfast that one of the many highlights was a dance-off “competition” between Squid Squad and Oh, Yeah!, which quickly morphed into both groups working together.  As Nicholas (Oh, Yeah!) noted, “That’s what Mayhew is all about.”  What did you think of Awards Day, Nicholas, “Horribly awesome!”  Nicholas then shares his plan to display all his ribbons and Mayhew awards on his bedroom wall at home and how he plans to keep coming back to Mayhew, eventually becoming a Kitchen Staff member and a counselor working with the boys in the program.  [After all that]  “I’m going to have a whole wall of Mayhew!” 

Are you looking forward to heading home, Nicholas?  “I’m excited to see my aunt but my sisters?  I need a little more Mayhew time [away from them].”

The boat bailers and dock sweepers finish their final chore time together with a loud and proud cheer: “Dock Squad, rock the docks!”…Cabin Counselor for The Rocketeers, Max Hickman, walks alongside Andre (Squid Squad) as they head out of the Dining Hall.  Max asks Andre, “How are you feeling?”  Andre: “I don’t want to leave.” 

Some other last day sentiments…Hayden (Cloud 9): “I’m going to miss you [Mayhew]!”…Jacob (W.O.W!), cradling his cabin trophy proudly: “This is my first trophy.”…Domineaq (The Ghostbusters): “I love this place.  It’s like a dream come true.”

This is about the time, Domineaq and Hayden and Andre (and all of us, really), that looking back and reflecting on this morning’s homily might be helpful.  Mayhew is you and me and all of us together, wherever we are, whenever we are.  Missing this time and place and all our friends is natural and unavoidable.  Bringing the best of this time and place and all our friends now that we return home is our challenge – together.

Be great!

2016 Second Session, August 12, Day 24:


Homily for the day: More of a story, really.  A man falls into a hole.  A doctor comes along and throws down a prescription for any pain he might be feeling.  A lawyer comes along and offers to file suit on his behalf against whoever dug the hole.  A priest comes along and offers up a prayer that he’ll find a way out of the hole.  Finally, a friend comes along, jumps in the hole with him and, together, they work their way out of it.

This is Awards Day.

Some belated “Congratulations!” from yesterday…Cloud 9, you expanded one another’s horizons, stretching beyond what you knew you could do in earning the Challenge Day Championship.  Way to “weather” the difficulties – together!  Also…Nice moves, Noah (Oh, Yeah!)!  You played a terrific final chess match to earn the title of “Humannn Chess Champion!” 

The morning begins with three Island leaders moving to the top step of the North Porch to accept the Outer Circle bandanna: Hayden (Cloud 9), Ashton (Squid Squad) and Gavin (Cloud 9).  And then Ashton returns to the top step to receive the final Climb High Award for his stretching willingness throughout the climbing program to point himself ever upward.

It’s the final chance to shop in the Mayhew Market, where the only currency that has value is the Mayhew Money the boys earn through the session’s work hours.  Adam (The Rocketeers) has saved more than $2.00 over the course of the summer. [Consider maximum pay is $.25 for any one work hour and this is an impressive sum.]

Happy Birthday, Assistant Cook Extraordinaire Marcus Blodgett!  Thank you for all you do, all summer, to keep all the boys and staff so well fed!

A final hail to the most outstanding participants in the swim program, the Raft Rats: Hayden (Cloud 9), Noah (Oh, Yeah!), D.J. (The Ghostbusters), Adam (The Rocketeers), Landon (W.O.W!), Jason (Squid Squad), Parker (Oh, Yeah!), Ashton (Squid Squad) and Domineaq (The Ghostbusters).

And we salute the Society of Distinguished Readers (with numbers of pages read): Damien – 1,501 (The Rocketeers), Sam – 1,406 (The Rocketeers), Xavier – 934 (Squid Squad), Hayden – 603 (Cloud 9), Jacob – 529 (The Ghostbusters), Blake – 416 (Oh, Yeah!), David – 404 (The Ghostbusters), Logan – 397 (The Rocketeers), and Angel – 301 (Cloud 9).

How does Andre (Squid Squad) like the look of his cabin plaque, on public display for the first time with all the other plaques?  “It was my idea [the design concept].”  Cabinmate Xavier opinion?  “It’s my favorite plaque.” 

While enjoying the special Awards Day lunch, Eritier (Oh, Yeah!) is asked: “What’s your favorite Mayhew meal?”  Eritier closes his eyes and lets the question sink in and try to find the answer in his mind.  He then opens his eyes, “All [of them].”

The Awards ceremony begins with individual recognitions of each boy on the Island from their cabin counselors.  Parker’s (Oh, Yeah!) counselor notes that if he had to describe Parker in a word or two, he would choose “fiery” or “intense.”  He talks about Parker’s resolute pursuit of the Miler’s Club in swimming…Nicholas (Oh, Yeah!) stood out for many characteristics, not the least of which was his ability to truly be forgiving of his cabinmates when there was a disagreement or argument…Paolo (The Ghostbusters) tackled nearly everything at Mayhew as though it was going to be his last time trying it…We hear about a bedtime discussion between Jordan (The Ghostbusters) and the group in which Jordan noted how much he liked Mayhew and wanted to come back to be a counselor or Lodgemaster someday…Dante developed a reputation as the stuntman in The Rocketeers, trying things like running straight up the eleven-foot-high Don’s Wall, even when success was very uncertain.  Dante also became known for his excellent work ethic, which had a very big and positive impact on motivating his cabinmates.

Congratulations to the outstanding Island citizens earning very special end-of-summer trips.  The Mayhew March (a challenging hike) will include: Noah (Oh, Yeah!) Landon (W.O.W!) and Hayden (Cloud 9).  The Canoe Trip (a challenging paddle) will include: David (The Ghostbusters), Xavier (Squid Squad), Cameron (W.O.W!) and Andre (Squid Squad). 

And last but certainly not least, we recognize the three major award winners for Second Session: The Peter Ivy Lee Award – for the boy who has benefited the most from his involvement in the first two years of the program – is earned by Andre (Squid Squad).  The Staff Award -  for the boy who has most earnestly taken the ideals of the program to heart – is earned by Landon (W.O.W!).  And the Trustees’ Award – for the most outstanding boy in the program – is earned by Noah (Oh, Yeah!). 

Congratulations to each and every one of Second Session’s 42 boys!  You have made this community better for all by more than being here!

2016 Second Session, August 11, Day 23:


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

This is Challenge Day (just like every other day on Mayhew Island – and beyond – we’ve just decided to assign a title to this one).  Today, each cabin group will see eight different initiatives and will have half an hour at each one to work cooperatively (or not) toward solving each one.  Completing an initiative earns the group a few points but it is teamwork that matters most – and where the majority of points are.  The group with the most points by day’s end win’s Challenge Day.

Already in a winning mode…Andre (Squid Squad) ascends the North Porch steps before breakfast, standing before the entire Island community to accept the Outer Circle (honor society) bandanna and the increased responsibility and scrutiny that comes with it.  His proud smile says everything about his readiness (and his summer so far).

After a full morning of challenges in the woods, most are more than ready for the respite and recharging that lunch brings.  Lunch with Oh, Yeah! brings plenty to chew on…Blake notes the extra kick the nachos seem to have: “They’re just trying to get us fired up for the rest of Challenge Day.”…We hear a retelling of last night’s P.I.G. championship during halftime of the Night Owl Basketball championship (which The Ghostbusters won).  It was Noah (Oh, Yeah!) against Martin (Squid Squad) and it was a competitive trading of shots for some time before Noah pulled ahead, Martin couldn’t quite avoid earning that final “G,” and both shook hands.  As a bit of added halftime frivolity, Senior Staff Jim O’Brien then challenged Noah to a game.  The results?  Let’s just say Martin is without question the second-best P.I.G. player on Mayhew Island this session.  Great job, Noah and Martin!  And Jim?  Don’t quit your day job!

More Oh, Yeah! morsels enjoyed over lunch…Parker earned the Swim Cove’s Most Dedicated Swimmer Award.  His pursuit of the Miler’s Club said a whole lot about his overall efforts in the swim program.  With only one free time period to reach the 53-lap minimum for Miler’s Club qualification and several laps still to complete, falling short wasn’t even a passing thought.  He jumped into the challenge with his usual zest, not only making the 53 laps but then swimming an additional 6!...Joining Parker in this especially dedicated club and in the challenge of swimming around the Island tomorrow afternoon during cookouts will be: Noah (Oh, Yeah!), Landon (W.O.W!), D.J. (The Ghostbusters) and Dustin (Cloud 9).

One more bit of proud lunchtime conversation…Eretier (Oh, Yeah!) earned the Most Dedicated award in Art and the Most Improved Player award in Kickin’ Crayfish Soccer.  That’s kickin’ creativity and achievement, Eretier!

Onto to the second half of Challenge Day…At Prouty’s Landing, where the boys must use a swing rope to traverse a stretch of ground in order to land on a small platform, Ashton (Squid Squad) doesn’t have a good feeling about the direction many of his cabinmates are heading.  In a calm, matter-of-fact tone of voice, he observes, “You guys are getting a little overconfident.”  While this doesn’t immediately appear to have an impact with the others, Ashton’s focus and seriousness about completing the initiative help serve as a sort of cairn on the trail toward success.

Passing through a web of rope without ringing any of the many attached bells is the task at the Spider’s Web.  The challenge for The Ghostbusters, though, is more about not getting caught up in their frustrations with one another.  “Kade” and “Nash” exemplify this challenge.  As Kade tries yet another pass through the web, Nash deliberately rings one of the bells, causing Kade to backtrack.  Kade exclaims, “I’m sick of this,” and stomps several feet away from the group.  Moments later, Nash tries making his way through the web and Kade does his own deliberate ringing of the bell.  Nash: “What the [heck]!  Why did you?!”  Kade: “Why did you?!”  While Kade and Nash are by no means the only ones getting themselves tangled in this way, they are certainly the most dramatic about it.  A few minutes later, after another bell-ringing attempt through the web, Nash stomps around in frustration, screaming, “Why?  Why, you guys?!”  He then bursts into tears and loud sobs at the head of the line as the group heads to its next event.

At the next event, Island Hopping, Nash swings widely and somewhat wildly between wanting to be at the center of the group effort to traverse from platform to platform and utter frustration whenever the group doesn’t immediately allow him to do what he wants when he wants.  There is clearly some testiness on both sides, some of it understandable and some of it simply over the top.  At one particularly heated moment, Nash exclaims, “You’re not being nice to me!”  And at least three boys respond in unison: “You’re not being nice to us!”  Nash then tries grabbing one of the Island Hopping boards from another boy “Lachlan” who is not pleased as he and Nash have now been especially edgy with one another for several minutes.  When Nash doesn’t get the board, he angrily declares, “Then you guys aren’t doing this,” stomping away from the group into the woods, knowing that his participation is required for the group to be allowed to continue. Within a few moments, Nash returns and Jordan suggests to he and Lachlan, “Guys, just take space from each other.”  A bit later, Nash again storms off into the woods.  One of his cabinmates quips, “He’s a lost boy.”  To which David immediately responds, “Stop.  Stop. Stop.  We can’t talk like that [to each other].” 

Later in the afternoon, at the Traffic Jam, The Ghostbusters again find themselves in a jam of their own making.  Two boys essentially boycott the remainder of the period and Nash vacillates between boycotts himself.  Demoralized but not resigned to failure, David once again steps up with a more positive, nudging message, “You know, this camp is a privilege.  This is the best camp.  They teach you to be respectful.”  David, we think you’re doing a whole lot of the teaching these days! 

As is always the case, Challenge Day is capped by the All-Island Run a self-explanatory race involving the whole community.  Kitchen Staff member Leo sets the pace for the boys to follow, wrapping his circumnavigation of the majority of the Island in a blistering 4 minutes and 34 seconds.  He is followed by Martin (Squid Squad) exactly a minute later and then by D.J. (The Ghostbusters) and by Camron (W.O.W!).

Tonight, one more community-wide challenge, the Humannn Chess Tournament, will end with the Humannn Chess Game, where many of the boys will be pieces in the game and the two finalists will vie for the championship.  It’s always a moving experience!

2016 Second Session, August 10, Day 22:


Homily for the day: Put your positive pants on.

Four champions have now emerged from Second Session.  As noted previously, Oh, Yeah! started this championship week by earning the Snake League Softball championship on Saturday.  Since then, Squid Squad has wrapped its tentacles tightly around the others that have been decided so far : the Kickin’ Crayfish Soccer championship, and yesterday’s Regatta Championship and Slapshot Hockey championship.  Squid Squad, it seems as though you might have some athletes who ought to be “inked” to long-term contracts!  Nice job!

Some more catching up on athletic excellence…Here are some of the individual award winners in each of the three sports that have wrapped to date:  Most Valuable Player (MVP) in softball – Landon (W.O.W!), Best Sportsmanship in softball – Gavin (Cloud 9), MVP in soccer – Hayden (Cloud 9), Best Sportsmanship in soccer – Xavier (Squid Squad), Most Improved Player (MIP) in soccer – Eretier (Oh, Yeah!), MVP in floor hockey – Ashton (Squid Squad), MIP in floor hockey – Andre (Squid Squad) and Best Sportsmanship —Camron (W.O.W!).  And earning the Coaches’ Award for his outstanding (and winning) performance on the mound throughout the baseball game against Camp Pasquaney: Noah (Oh, Yeah!).

Following dismissal from any meal, there’s usually a rush to head out to the group meeting spot and into the next activity.  It was no different this morning when Adam (The Rocketeers) was one of the first to hit the door.  Except, rather than hustling right away, he proceeded to hold the door for everyone else who followed.  Classy move, Sir!  Classy!

During free time before lunch, we catch up with Adam again, this time he’s hustling to make 40 hikes (juggling the basketball between one’s legs) before the bell rings…Also during free time, we bump into Landon (W.O.W!), who notes that he thinks he has earned enough Mayhew Money during work hours this session to buy a Mayhew sweatshirt – the most expensive item in the Market, by far.

During lunch, Taylor (Cloud 9), who is “serving” as waiter today for his group, approaches the waiter’s window of the Kitchen: “The grilled cheese is amazing!”  He then returns to his table with a fresh batch of “amazing” to deliver to his cabinmates.

Back at his table, “Indiana” (W.O.W!) serves up a bit of difficulty by steadfastly refusing to leave the table for a timeout after making a poor choice.  In typical Mayhew fashion, table head Morgan Ricapito, who is sitting about eight feet away from Indiana, calmly repeats her request for him to exit the Dining Hall for the timeout.  Meanwhile, she seamlessly carries on her conversation with the other boys at the table and ensures they’re all getting the second and third helpings they want.  It’s common for visitors at a table to not even be aware of a disciplinary situation happening just a couple of place settings away and watching Morgan at work, one can understand why.  Within a few moments, Morgan has succeeded in catching the attention of Program Director Colin Buckley, she whispers a quick explanation of the situation to him and Colin then whispers another request in Indiana’s ear that he accompany him out of the Dining Hall, which he begrudgingly does after a few moments of contemplation. And in this perhaps two minute snippet, one can see a lot of Mayhew at work: a poor choice confronted quietly but directly and the staff’s focus on engaging and encouraging those who are making good choices.

There was a lot of Mayhew to be seen last night in the aftermath of the Slapshot Hockey Championship game, when The Ghostbusters lost their third straight championship attempt.  While every one of their five cabinmates struggled mightily to handle the crushing disappointment of losing – and losing for the second time to the Squid Squad—D.J. and Domineaq not only kept their composure but tried just as mightily to be role models of sportsmanship.  That’s a championship effort and accomplishment, D.J. and Domineaq.  It really is!

At lunch announcements we hear of many other worthy accomplishments from the morning…During the garbage row work hour, Logan (The Rocketeers) took the coxswain’s seat and steered his group to an efficient lake crossing.  He then hauled more than his fair share of garbage…In wood splitting, Jesse (Cloud 9) and Gavin (Cloud 9) teamed up and took on the challenge of trying to split a piece that had at least four of five knots.  They approached it as though they would k”not” be denied…When he had finished his own bit of wood splitting with the Squid Squad, Ashton immediately asked his cabin counselor, “What can I do next?”  He then shifted into helping stack everyone else’s split wood.

Today, it’s Playoff Night Owl Basketball all day.  Tonight, a fourth sports champion will be crowned.  And on the road there?  Many championship-caliber performances.  Cameron (The Rocketeers) submits one such performance in the second playoff game of the morning, making several smart passing plays and being a source of encouragement – on and off the bench.
That’s al”wright,” Cameron! 

2016 Second Session, August 9, Day 21:


Homily for the day: Kites fly highest against the wind.

The Island honor society has gained two new members: Martin (Squid Squad) and Xavier (Squid Squad).  Congratulations, Gentlemen!  Your group-first thinking and hard work has not only earned you the blue bandannas around your necks, it has helped the Squid Squad become one fine group.

This morning is the around-the-Island rowing Regatta Championship, where each group rows a race against the clock, vying for the best circumnavigation time around the Island.  It is one of the more challenging group activities in the program and perhaps the most grueling.  For D.J. (The Ghostbusters), the Regatta starts with a startle.  Just as his cabin is ready to launch from the dock, an imposing wolf spider (harmless but large) makes an appearance in the boat.  Not a fan of spiders – at all – D.J. becomes quite upset and nervous.  In fact, for several moments, he claims he can’t continue as coxswain or with the race at all.  Rowing Counselor Sarah Finley immediately works to reassure D.J. as do his cabinmates, with a few vowing to kill the spider should it appear again.  While he doesn’t do an immediate 180, D.J. does leave room for his grit to work through his fear, for the support of those around him to percolate more readily through.  And within a few minutes, he and his Ghostbuster cabinmates navigate away from the docks and out onto the open lake. 

Half an hour later, D.J. is still in the coxswain’s seat as The Ghostbusters slowly make their way toward the finish.  The wolf spider is nearly forgotten.  Now, it’s fatigue and frustration and blisters and intra-cabin squabbling taking center stage.  Just 100 yards behind and gaining fast is W.O.W!, dealing with all the same challenges in the boat (save, perhaps, for the wolf spider) but also, clearly, dealing with them more successfully than The Ghostbusters, at least at this late stage of the race.

Just before lunch, Landon (W.O.W!) catches a member of the Senior Staff, “I’m just gonna say it…I think we won the Regatta.”  Hmm, W.O.W! was certainly looking strong at the finish line.  We’ll see, we’ll see…

2016 Second Session, August 8, Day 20:


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

Way to rise, Ashton (Squid Squad)!  Not only were you a constant source of encouragement for your wood splitting partner during work hour but your nose-to-the-grindstone focus proved to be a key factor in inspiring your group to split over 40 pieces of wood…Cleaning the Mines (the Island bathrooms) does not tend to inspire or delight many groups tasked with the job.  But, Damien (The Rocketeers), we salute your approach to the challenge.  You worked well with everyone with whom you were paired and you put forth your best.  Consequently, you left the Mines in a better state and your cabin group, too!

Dustin (Cloud 9) ensured that each of his cabinmates had a chance to man the sifter during the gravel-moving work hour and then he wrapped the period by volunteering to carry one more bucket of gravel than everyone was expected to tote…And following work hour, Dustin dove right into the swim lesson.  And during free time after the lesson, he got right to swimming more laps toward the Milers’ Club (53 laps by session’s end), tacking on enough to make a grand total of 55 laps!  Welcome 3rd member of the Milers’ Club…And way to go Adam (The Rocketeers)!  Your excellent effort and attitude throughout the swim lesson was the epitome of being a Raft Rat (a member of the Swim Cove’s honor society).

During the morning Playoff Kickin’ Crayfish Soccer game between Cloud 9 and Oh, Yeah!, Parker (Oh, Yeah!) was the epitome of a team player and leader.  When tempers flared and disagreements ensued between his teammates, Parker directed in a pleasant tone, “You guys, let’s stop arguing.” 

Landon (W.O.W!): “I got the MVP in softball!”  That’s striking news, Sir…Hunter (The Ghostbusters) invests some of his free time in getting the Rubik’s Cubes, all six of them, “facing” the same color…Also during free time, we hear from Adam (The Rocketeers) and Zander (W.O.W!) that they’re qualified for Outer Circle consideration, meaning they’ve both earned the required achievement ribbons.  That’s good news, Adam and Zander.  Here’s hoping you can transition this from “good” news to “great” news through being the kind of leaders-by-example and hard workers the Outer Circle welcomes in.

An interesting tidbit about Oh, Yeah’s Snake League Championship two days ago: they won with just four of seven players on the field!  To that, we say: Oh, Yeah!

And another, hearty “Oh, Yeah!”…Via his mom’s postcard, Blake (Oh, Yeah!) has learned that he is now a big brother, all over again, as his mom gave birth to a healthy baby boy recently.  Congratulations, Blake, Blake’s mom and family!

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