My alarm goes off well before the first-morning bugle and while it may sound crazy, I actually look forward to waking up early knowing that I will soon be greeted by a bunk of fresh-faced “Juniors” who are anxious to learn the art of waterskiing.
It’s a Camp Mataponi tradition that our youngest age group at camp, the Juniors, wake up before the rest of the camp for “Morning Ski” and hot chocolate. The lake is perfectly calm and crystal clear- not a ripple to be found except perhaps for the family of Loons who is paddling past the docks in search of their breakfast. It’s the perfect time to teach the girls, who are all either new to the sport or just newly advancing to the next level.
Before I make my trek to the lake, I stop at the Mataponi Dining Room where I am greeted by Kasha, our head Breakfast Chef, to pick up a fresh batch of delicious hot chocolate. Each Junior has her own personally decorated mug that is waiting patiently for her on the ski dock shelf to be filled to the brim after a successful morning ski. It’s hard to beat seeing a chocolate mustache smile on a happy camper at 8:00 AM.
My coveted morning walk to the docks is nearly silent except for the sounds of little feet as they pitter-patter their way to the ski docks. They skip past the older girls’ cabins, trying not to wake them up as they banter with one another to be first in line. The gentle purr of the boat engine quiets the group as they wait with anticipation in bright-colored lifejackets for their turn.
I’m joined on the boat by two additional spotters; one of the three cabin counselors who’s equally as excited for “her” girls to ski. The other, our camp photographer, who is there to capture the moment in real-time. Just a few short hours later, the photos are shared online for the campers’ parents to bask in the glory of the morning.
Next, I bring the boom (the pole on the side of the boat that is used for beginners) right to the edge of the dock, my skier holds on and away we go. Sometimes, it takes a few tries but if there is a will, there’s always a way!
I may be biased but, clearly, I have the best job at our girls camp in Naples, Maine. The thrill of seeing a child’s confidence soar as she masters the “knees bent, arms straight” trick is priceless. I find magic in seeing worried faces melt away into full grins. Once the realization sets in that they are actually “doing it”, the cheers of the bunkmates back on the dock can be heard and only enhances my skier’s self-esteem.
Morning ski, the best hour of my day leads into “Morning Line Up” where the entire camp awaits my bragging rights “shout outs” to our new skiers of the day.
As I said… best job at our all-girls camp in Maine.