Heroes Don’t Always Wear Capes



Webster’s dictionary defines a hero as: “[a] mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.” Since March 2020, individuals in varying professions, occupations, organizations and communities, have united together to help humanity manage, navigate, survive and redefine life as we know it. In doing so, our modern-day interpretation of a “hero” has undeniably taken on a new form.

In May 2020, when my husband and I made the calculated decision to send our eleven-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son to overnight camp this summer, we did so armed with the knowledge that there would be risk. Like most parents, we deliberated over what could go wrong, but ultimately came to the conclusion that the benefits of our children being in Maine, surrounded by nature, spirit, friendship, love and laughter, far outweighed the risk that COVID-19 would be present at their respective single sex camps. In fact, we fully embraced the reality that someone at the camp would contract COVID-19 and children would either need to be isolated or the camp would shut down altogether. And yet, neither of those worst-case scenarios happened. Instead, with meticulous strategizing, multiple contingency plans, adaptation, preparation and faith, both camps ran successfully for four glorious, fun filled weeks.

It may have been brief, but for those four weeks where every day counted that much more, the magic and memories were even more spectacular. Naturally, there was color war, land sports, water skiing, tennis, cheering, theater, art, and evening activities to name a few. From reveille to nighttime snack, each day was filled with adventure, excitement and tradition. But perhaps the greatest gift of all this summer was simply the freedom to be a kid, an intangible that had been taken for granted before COVID-19 forever altered the landscape of our world.

The summer of 2020 will not be defined by the “what,” but by the “how.” How were these owners able to pull off a successful and enriched summer camp experience in the middle of a global pandemic? How would it feel like camp? Would the medical staff be able to diagnose properly? How would the kids acclimate to camp life, with a mask and multiple mitigation measures in place? The answers to these questions in May seemed riddled with complexities. Today, as we continue to listen to the individual stories and wonderful camp experiences shared by our daughter and son, the foresight that we lacked then, is now abundantly clear. Of course! Camp was a success because we were in the hands of heroes.

The owners, administrators, medical teams and staff at these camps demonstrated courage, fortitude, determination, and agility in adapting camp life to our new normal. They navigated the unknown with tenacity, diligence, resolve, bravery and perseverance. In doing so, they led by example, teaching our children invaluable lifelong lessons about overcoming adversity, embracing challenge, and being resilient.

In the end, there were no special powers, no red capes and no fancy suits. Our heroes were a group of t-shirt wearing, golf-cart driving, campfire connoisseurs, who blazed a triumphant path for all to follow. We remain grateful and appreciative to these camps for their unwavering commitment to our children. We are tremendously proud of you and even prouder to be a part of your camp family.