August 16, 2022

Moving to The Point

Yesterday was special for me. OK, it’s true – every day at camp is special to me, and if it weren’t, being a camp director would have been a bad career choice. But yesterday was really special! Leon and I moved into our new cabin 4 days ago, and yesterday we christened it with the Point Small Cooking Class.

On more levels than I can count, it meant a lot to me. First and foremost – We live in The Point now! Had you told me in 1989 when Leon and I took over camp that we’d move into The Point in 2022, I’d have sent you to get your head read.

Back then, The Point (both campers and staff) would not have welcomed a female or  indeed two camp directors on their turf. In those days, The Point was a highly exclusive male-only enclave. Visitors who dared cross The Point Line were, as they called it, liquidated – meaning thrown in the lake. And they were not nice about it. Or friendly. The Point was also the locus and flag-bearer of toxic masculinity.

Fast forward 33 years. After three decades of very intentional work on culture change, The Point has become a much kinder gentler place. Of course it (and we!) remain imperfect, but great progress has been made. The proof of the pudding is our neighbourly relationship with the Point boys and staff.

So when the Point Smalls came to our new cabin for the annual Point Small Cooking Class, it felt like both a symbol and a benchmark of how much has changed. I do this cooking class every summer with the Curve Girls first month and the Point Smalls second month.

Same menu and same method every time. The kids do all the prep and cooking, from scratch. I don’t touch the food. The menu last night was the same as always: Pasta with pesto made from scratch with fresh basil etc. Greek salad with dressing they make. Shrimps cooked with a lot of garlic and lemon. And of course barbecued steaks. It was all yummy. The boys did a great job cooking.

The second aspect of my joy yesterday had to do with where geographically our new cabin is.

We talk a lot here at Planet Arowhon about supervision. We call it MBWA. Management By Walking Around. Listening to  campers and staff. Watching. Being present. With eyes, ears and heart open.

Until last week, we’ve never had a director living in The Point. Now that Mara lives in our former cabin (Versailles) she’s smack dab in the middle of girls camp. Max lives in the middle of Junior Boy/Salamander and Inter Boy/Loon land. And now we have two Senior Directors, Joanne and Leon, living in The Point. None of us close our windows at night – the better to hear what’s going on and go help if needed.

The third piece of my great joy is the cabin itself. It faces the lake; the sun comes up in our bedroom window. It’s not a big cabin, but big enough for camper soirees. Later this week we’re hosting a Point Large Tea Party, and probably a Senior Girl Tea Party. It’s a privilege and a gift to have a new home at Planet Arowhon, and to be able to share it with campers.

Joanne Kates

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