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2017 First Session, July 7, Day 17:


Homily for the day: Trees that do not bend in the wind – break.

After a staff member snaps a photo of Lukus (Snack Attack) and Keith (Snack Attack) playing a pick-up game of chess, Lukus says, “I tried not to grin but I can’t [not grin].”  We’re glad about this failing of yours Lukus; your grin is contagious.  Keith’s post-photo comment?  “All I need is one more intermediate ribbon and I qualify [to be considered] for the Outer Circle [the Island honor society].” 

While in assembly before lunch, Teo (The One Liners) storms up to the porch and stands at a post to serve a time out for a poor choice he made while in line.  When Relief Counselor Morgan Ricapito approaches him moments later and, while she uses the quiet and calm timeout voice, Teo is not quite ready to do the same, “What the heck?!  I’m telling [other boy] that he should stop telling me what to do, that he just should mind his own business!”  Morgan gives Teo another minute or so to try to calm himself but he’s still not ready upon her return and she delivers him to a member of the Senior Staff for an extended time out, meaning Teo will have to eat his lunch on the porch, away from the group.  Teo exclaims, “I want to eat in there [Dining Hall]! I don’t want to eat out here!” 

For someone just coming on the scene, someone who hasn’t had the benefit of the last 17 days on Mayhew Island, the above moment might seem a tad harsh.  Teo is upset.  He wants to eat with his group but the staff is requiring that he now eat away from his group.  And it all seems to be over a minor disagreement in line.  What would be the harm in allowing Teo just to go back to his group right now?  Wouldn’t that make him feel better?  Get him in a better mood?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Regardless, it wouldn’t be helping Teo – or his group – much at all over the long run (and that’s the timeframe Mayhew is most concerned with).  Teo knew he was expected to be quiet and still while in line, no matter what others might be doing around him.  He knew that reacting loudly and angrily to a cabinmate’s provocations – real or perceived – is on him, not his cabinmate.  He knew as soon as he was asked to take a timeout for his reaction that, if he could regain his calm, take responsibility for his part in the incident and talk about a more positive choice he could make in the future, he would be in the Dining Hall eating with his group.  Teo chose not to do those things, so now he knows – no matter how upset he is – that he has to eventually do those things before he can go back with his group.  The time out is not punishment; it’s simply a tool, a clear, well-defined opportunity for the boys to look at a poor choice from a more distanced and significantly more calm perspective.  It’s just another way to learn and develop the self-understanding and self-discipline we all need in facing those little and big challenges in life.

By the way, Teo ultimately got himself to where he needed to be – back with his group.  No matter how raucous or difficult a time out might start, it always ends in this same way.

Riley (2x7), your goal this work hour was to earn full pay.  So how did the brush moving/garden-weeding project go?  Goal and proud smile achieved!...During the wood splitting work hour, Beau (The Sunset Boys) was a teamwork machine, happily taking extra wood from Quin (The Sunset Boys) to lighten his load… Lukus (Snack Attack) during the gravel-moving project: “I really enjoy this work project!”  Lukus shared plenty of smiles, reached out to help a cabinmate carry a particularly heavy bucket and generally was a great force for his group throughout the work hour.

Impromptu poll for The Sunset Boys over lunch: Art Makechnie’s rolls or ice cream?  Out of 7 submitting votes, 4 vote for…Art’s rolls! 

Today is the big baseball game against our friends at Camp Pasquaney.  Mayhew’s Mary Jo Stephens, our intrepid reporter (and master of all that is at the office) sends this early game missive: “Noah (Snack Attack) was batting and after hitting a foul ball he was running back to the plate when the Pasquaney catcher said, ‘Boy, you run fast,’ to which Noah replied, ‘I’ve got an injury on my leg, but I’m still trying.’”  Thank you, Mary Jo, for this in-game account!  And thank you, Noah, for reminding us all about how we ought to be approaching every challenge!


2017 First Session, July 6, Day 16:


Homily for the day: A great army marches on its stomach.

A word or two more about that collective “stomach”…It takes a LOT to keep the Mayhew community well fed!  It starts with Head Cook Art Makechnie, who is a master at bringing delicious recipes to an even more delicious reality while keeping Mayhew’s food expense low.  Art is also, hands down, the hardest working individual on Mayhew Island.  Joining Art on the Kitchen Staff is Assistant Cook Marcus Blodgett, who has developed and served many of his own tasty dishes.  Marcus knows how important it is to be well fed for the rigors (and joys) of Mayhew Island.  He was once on the other side of the waiters’ window himself, doing his best to help his group and to test his personal limits.  Marcus is joined this summer by veteran Kitchen Staff members (and program alums) Keith and Junior, who have set the bar high for their fellow Kitchen Staff serving shorter stints behind the waiters’ window.

The community owes Art, Marcus, Keith, Junior and the whole Kitchen Staff – a lot – for all they do, day in and day out, to make sure this Mayhew army marches with gusto toward success – together!

A week ago, we shared that Gavin (Snack Attack) had taken to telling his cabinmates original stories at night to settle them into sleep (in other cabins the staff read from a book).  Many evenings, he would wrap his latest “chapter,” only to have the few boys still awake, urge him to continue. Well, now, we hear, Quentin has accepted the storytelling baton from Gavin and he’s carrying on the excellence. Nice job, Gentlemen!

When arguing percolated into The One Liners’ wood splitting work hour, Caiden applied some glue to the situation, “Don’t argue, Guys.  Just compromise.”…In Snake League Softball, Kaden (2x7) took well to some coaching, worked on lifting his arm while at bat and started swinging with authority…Thank you, Logan!  You made your first step into the Program Extension (for the 16-18-year-olds) a fine leap forward for everyone else by investing that patented work ethic of yours into making much needed improvements to the Challenge Day course (Yes, Challenge Day is but 7 days away!).

Talking about inspiring steps…The Bacon Bits took lots of ‘em on their hike of Mount Cardigan today.  Jeremiah earned special notice because of the special attention he paid to sprucing up the trail along the way, asking at one point, “Can I pick up these orange peels [some other hiker had left]?”  Eso es muy bien [That’s very good], as Allen (Radioactive) might say – at least on this day.  Allen enjoyed his Spanish Achievement period this afternoon, noting that he could already count to 40 in Spanish beforehand…Across the table, cabinmate Bohden shares that he counted his Art Achievement as enjoyable (he painted a small bead).

Welcome back from your big hike in the White Mountains, Links (the 12-16-year-olds in the program)!  Ashton arrived for the week expecting to go biking. But when he found out it was a hiking week instead, he shifted admirably into alright-I-can-do-that mode.  How was it? “It was hard, but I made it.”  Yes, Ashton, you certainly did!  Congratulations!  And the same goes for everyone else on the trip, which covered 18 miles, four peaks, three of them over 5,000 feet.  On the highest mileage day, Kyle served in the Scout role, where he was responsible for setting a pace everyone could both keep up with and be energized by.  It was unquestionably the hardest day of the trip but Kyle never uttered a complaint.

In what may have been a Link-Up first, Daniel volunteered to make a complete dinner for everyone while out on the trail.  Look out Art, Marcus and crew, Daniel plated a terrific tasting camp meal. 

Satisfying food for thought?  Seeing the high achieving individuals earning Baseball Team and Raft Rat honors is a feast for the eyes!

The Baseball Team is now complete.  It’s members are: Noah (Snack Attack), Ashton (Radioactive), Jacob (2x7), Parker (The Sunset Boys), Logan (2x7), Keith (Snack Attack), Shawn (Bacon Bits), Kyle (Radioactive), Quentin (Snack Attack), Martin (The Sunset Boys) and Dante (Bacon Bits). 

And the Swim Cove’s honor society, the Raft Rats, has grown, too.  The “raft” now includes: Ashton (Radioactive), Bohden (Radioactive), Dustin (2x7), Dante (The One Liners), Bryce (The Sunset Boys), Shawn (Bacon Bits), Dante (Bacon Bits) and Parker (The Sunset Boys).

Great work, Gentlemen!  Take pride in your accomplishments – and then keep striving for that next step!


2017 First Session, July 5, Day 15:


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

Ashton (Radioactive) and Dustin (2x7) meet on the front porch at the start of free time before lunch.  Ashton asks Dustin: “Want to go throw [skip] rocks [from the shore]?”  Dustin’s answer is a nod and quick step in that direction.

A big “Thank you!” to Noah (Snack Attack) who is asked, quite out-of-the-blue, if he would spend a few moments explaining to a passing group of Island guests how things work at the Swim Cove.  True to form, he happily does so.  He goes on to explain that, while his first year was “more exciting” than this year – noting that everything was so new to him then – this year has still been enjoyable for him.  Noah, the rest of the Island community is certainly gaining from and enjoying your return to Mayhew.

Just as he did during his first two years in the program, visiting Link Jon welcomes the call to tour the Island guests around the Lodge.  Back in the day, Jon frequently did the same, taking his free time (which is rare and precious for the Mayhew Islanders) to do so.  Jon, your volunteer spirit then was an inspiration and it sure is now, too.

Earlier this same morning, Jacob (The One Liners) was doing some inspiring of his own, jumping into the challenge of hauling two full of crates of wood in re-supplying the Island cookout sites with wood.  While it proved to be a struggle for him, Jacob’s cabinmates really seemed to appreciate his attempt…In rowing, Caiden (The One Liners) lives up to his name, falling right in with the stroke “caden”ce.  Keep on g”rowing,” Sir!


2017 First Session, July 4, Day 14:


Homily for the day: There is no such thing as great men, only average men who do great things.

Any potential Milers Club members bubbling to the surface of the Swim Cove (these are boys who have swum at least 53 laps during free time over the course of the session)?  Swim Counselor Julia Harte reports that Dustin (2x7) is currently in the Island lead with 20 laps.  Not far behind him is the dynamic duo of Dante and Nick (both of The One Liners), who have been egging each other on in a consistently positive way.

Quin (The Sunset Boys): “I have 105 cents [Mayhew Money].  I didn’t get full pay today, that’s why [he would have more Mayhew Money otherwise].”  Keep striving for that maximum effort, Sir, you’ll earn personal pride along with that maximum pay.

Some lunch conversation with the Bacon Bits…Joey: “Which would you choose?  [Head Cook] Art’s rolls or ice cream?  Hmm…That’s a tough one!  Both are delicious!...Bacon Bits, how is the cabin identity-building going?  Their cabin is the “Frying pan.”  The meeting spot is the “Pig Pit.”  Their assembly line is the “Bacon Strip.”

Graison and Jashawn (both of Radioactive) not only split a good deal of wood during work hour, they kept a constant eye out for anyone who needed help and were quick to offer their wedge to any team who needed one…In Kickin’ Crayfish Soccer, Jack (Bacon Bits) stood out for his great energy throughout the game and Martin (The Sunset Boys) always seemed to be cheering on his cabinmates, no matter the score.

A big “Thanks!” to Extender Aaron who accompanies Program Extension Coordinator Grayson Richey to the Island today with a “how can I help” attitude.  It’s exactly the sort of role modeling so important for the younger boys to see and to learn from.

Swim Counselors Julia Harte and Owen Ellerkamp call out to “Lake Newfound,” looking for more boys who have earned one of the highest honors in the Swim Program, the title of Raft Rat.  The newest Rats are: Dante (Bacon Bits), Parker (The Sunset Boys) and Shawn (Bacon Bits).  Congratulations, Gentlemen!

Ah, but there’s more!  The Mayhew Baseball Team grows and by two members.  Welcome to the team, Martin (The Sunset Boys) and Shawn (Bacon Bits)! 

Following lunch, everyone makes their way, as usual, to their group meeting spots.  Along the way, Shawn (Bacon Bits) approaches Program Director Colin Buckley with brand new and exciting news: “I made two things [the Raft Rats and the Baseball Team]!”  Colin smiles with the news; thinks for a moment and then calls Shawn back over.  He asks Shawn if he remembers last week, when he was wrestling – big time – with just wanting to give up on Mayhew, wanting to go home, saying at one point: “I know I made a commitment [to be here] but I just want to go home.”  Does Shawn remember that wrestling now?  He sure does.  And he sure seems glad that his choice to stick it out has now helped him get to a place of real achievement.  Shawn, that’s grit and courage and what it can lead to, Sir!


2017 First Session, July 3, Day 13:


Homily for the day: Shake your kaleidoscope.

Last evening, Simon Brooks, a storyteller from the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) enthralled the Island community with tales from various books.  CLiF then had enough books to give away two to every boy on Island!  Thank you, CLiF and thank you, Simon!

This morning was the launch of the Humannn Chess Tournament, where every boy has an opportunity to play and strategize his way to the Humannn Chess Game at the end of the session.  The two finalists will play on a regulation board while the other players from the tournament become life size chess pieces on a life size board set up in the Floor Hockey Arena.

Riley (2x7) what is your favorite Mayhew meal?  “The open-faced sandwich and the pizza sub.”  But that’s two.  If you had to choose one, which would it be?  “I can’t choose [they’re both great.]”…During the afternoon climb of the twenty-foot-high Hockey Climbing Wall, Parker (The Sunset Boys) is way up there, just a few feet shy of the top, and he’s kind of at a loss as to the next move to make.  Encouraging help comes from the Library window across the way, where Rhily (2x7) has been watching intently.  Rhily makes some move suggestions and Parker tries them, but can’t quite make that next step higher.  Still, Rhily stays positive and, more importantly, so does Parker, who keeps working on reaching the top.

The Free Time List board is getting populated with lots of achievers.  Here’s the latest:

Hikes (juggling a basketball between the legs at least 40 times): Martin (The Sunset Boys), Dante (Bacon Bits), Dante (The One Liners).

Pretzels (similar to Hikes but different technique): Martin (The Sunset Boys), Dante (The One Liners), Dante (Bacon Bits), Shawn (Bacon Bits).

Free Throws (make at least 5 in a row): Martin (The Sunset Boys), Dante (The One Liners), Shawn (Bacon Bits), Nick (The One Liners).

Pull-Ups (a.k.a. “Hanz ‘n Franz List”, 10 in a row): Kasper (Snack Attack), Isiah (The One Liners), Dante (Bacon Bits), Zach (Radioactive).

Raft Rats (the Swim Program honor society): Ashton (Radioactive), Bohden (Radioactive), Dustin (2x7), Dante (The One Liners), Bryce (The Sunset Boys).

Baseball Team (making the team is one of the highest honors in Athletics): Noah (Snack Attack) and Ashton (Radioactive). 

How was work hour Shawn (Bacon Bits)?  “Great!  I earned full pay!”

During the evening climb of the twenty-foot-high Two-Line Bridge, Quentin (Snack Attack) traverses the “bridge” with a blend of good humor and nerves.  At one point, Kasper shouts up some encouragement and advice to Quentin during a tough stretch.  Quentin responds with both a warm and self-doubting tone: “[I can’t do that;] I’m not a monkey like you!”


2017 First Session, June 30, Day 10:


Homily for the day: The more you give, the more you get.

The Island welcomes four very special guests: Alum Asa McGowan (2001) makes his Mayhew comeback, 22 years after first stepping on the Island.  And with him are his two daughters and his mother.  Thank you, Asa, for bringing your energy back! 

Remember two days ago, when Jashawn (Radioactive) beat Hoops Extraordinaire Junior (Kitchen Staff and Program Extender) in a friendly game of P.I.G.?  Well, today the two greet each other at the Dining Hall’s waiter’s window.  Also at the window is Senior Staff member Jim Nute.  Junior asks Jim in front of Jashawn, “Did you tell Jashawn [about blogging about his P.I.G. win]?”  When Jashawn hears his basketball achievement has been spread far and wide, he smiles widely and exuberantly hops up and down a few times.

The Program Extenders (16-18 year olds) are back on Island, ready to give back to the program and experience they’ve grown up with since they were 10-years-old.  Dutch, Abe and Patrick set about working on the Outer Circle (Island Honor Society) area at the top of the Island.  There’s a lot of rock hauling involved and, soon after getting into it, Dutch asks, “Hey, why work hard when we can work smart?”  He then proceeds to suggest some ideas for improving the group’s teamwork and efficiency.

Sticking with the work theme…In hauling the Island’s garbage to the mainland Dumpster, Isiah (The One Liners) did not hesitate one second in grabbing the heaviest and “most ripe” bag…Graison (Radioactive) enthusiastically jumped into any role he was asked to fill during the gardening work hour.  Kasper (Snack Attack) not only jumped right to work staining the water tank shed, he was a source of non-stop encouragement for his cabinmates, some of whom were clearly less enthusiastic about the project than he was…In rowing, Noah (Snack Attack) maintained an even keel and a contagious enthusiasm as his cabin group attempted to circumnavigate the Island…Athletics Counselor Natalie Gutierrez remarks during lunch time announcements that Allen (Radioactive) was such a consistent cheering force for his cabin group during the morning’s soccer game that she can still hear his cheering echoing in her memory.  Way to have a rippling influence, Allen!


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