Meet our Camp Mascot - Whiffy le Pew
Hi, boys and girls! My name is Whiffy le Pew, but you can call me Whiffy. I've been at CYO Camp Lawrence since it opened in 1959, so if there is anybody who knows anything about Camp, it's me. I can't wait for summer out here in Valpo. The birds will be chirping, the trees and bushes will be full, and the flowers will be blooming and smelling sweet. Oh yes, we skunks do like to smell flowers. Or didn't you know we were well known for smelling?
Anyway, what I like most about summer is when the boys and girls come to spend a week with me here at Camp Lawrence. Those weeks from June to August are my favorite weeks of the year. There's so much singing and laughing and splashing and playing that I almost want to enroll for camp myself. But my friends tell me that I have too much sense (scents?) for all the children.
Camp starts in early June. That's when counselors arrive here for an orientation period. Those counselors have to be well prepared for all the responsibility they'll have this summer. Then comes the big day - Sunday. That's when all the kids arrive. Oh my gosh - all the commotion! After reporting to their counselors, the campers head for their cabins to prepare for a swim in my lake.
If you could only see the expressions on their faces! These youngsters come from different cities, different backgrounds, different nationalities, but their smiles, their excitement, their overflowing energy, are all one and the same. Are they ever happy to be here! After their first day here, these kids are really geared up for a week they'll long remember!
You know, I thought only skunks and bluejays were early risers. I sure was wrong! These campers are up each day at 7:15 in the morning. After such activities as flag-raising, eye-openers, and after a hardy breakfast, the campers then compete for cleanest-cabin-of-the-day. After the counselors are gone, I poke my nose in each cabin to make my own personal inspection. (After 52 years, I have become sort of an expert.)
By 9 a.m. the campers are ready for a full day of activities. I tried keeping up with the kids once, but I couldn't do it! Some of them play sports, some go swimming, some go on a nature study, and some work in arts and crafts. I think I like nature study the best. Of course I know the trails by heart, but I enjoy going along for the walk anyway. The counselors really know what they are talking about, and the campers are always thrilled at all the sights. I guess some of these city kids have never had the chance to discover the great outdoors - my back yard.
The campers also plan religious ceremonies here. Sometimes the Bishop, himself, comes to say the Mass. That's when I have to really be on my best behavior.
In the afternoon the campers spend a couple hours in waterfront activities. My gosh - all the splashing, all the laughing, all the kids having fun! While my cousins, the squirrels, and I are busy munching on gooseberries, the boys and girls are playing in the lake under the warm summer sun, having a ball. I sure wish I could learn to swim like they do!
Boy, can these kids eat! And do they ever eat well here at Camp! That aroma from the kitchen is enough for me. But there I go again, talking about smell . . .
When the Sun goes down at camp, the action just gets started. After supper the counselors and campers get ready for more fun and games. There are campfires, sing-alongs, talent shows, and night hikes. Those campfires are something - I always like hearing the story about Moss Moss and Gerty Gerty. You know, those Indians came to Camp Lawrence even before me!
By now, it's getting late, and the campers are bushed. Lights out is at 10 p.m. and after a day filled with a lifetime's worth of happiness, I think I'd better hit the sack myself. So I use my tail as a blanket and curl up into a ball, all set to dream about all the boys and girls I've met that day.
Well, it's Saturday morning, and "sniffle" the campers are leaving for home. I'm sure gonna miss 'em, but there's another group reporting to camp tomorrow, and believe me, I can't wait; new faces, new smiles, new friends - all for me to enjoy here at Camp. Won't you make my summer complete by being one of those faces? Betcha your smile is the prettiest one in the bunch. My camp has trees, and lakes, and good food, and a whole lot more, but it still needs one thing to make it a real camp of love - it needs YOU!
See you soon - at CYO Camp Lawrence.