Summer Camp Blog

The Lake Swim

Camp Director

What a thrill to be on the beach this morning and watch 84 Agawak girls, their blue caps bobbing, swimming toward shore. It’s Lake Swim day, a tradition at Agawak for decades and one I always participated in during my own years as a camper throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.


Boats shuttle the girls to the other side of Blue Lake and then they swim their way back. The Lake Swim was

always challenging, whether the morning was chilly or warm. Yet, making it back unaided by a boat was an accomplishment that always was one of the best points of pride of the entire summer.


Completing the Lake Swim meant we pushed through exhaustion and moments of mental defeat and kept forging onward, driven by will power.


Though the Lake Swim is not a competition, many of our girls are on swim teams at home and do race through the water. Coming in First Place was Allyson Shapiro at 24 minutes, followed by Julia Soriana at 24-minutes-13 seconds and Frances Pope, who crossed the lake in a mere 32-three seconds.


As I watched dozens of other girls follow this terrific trio and swim under the ropes into the shallow end, raising their arms in victory signs, I was thrown back to more than a half century ago when we were young campers and felt that triumph.


The glory and intensity of Agawak’s Lake Swim is unchanged through time, another tradition that makes our camp the very unique summer home that it has always been.


One of Mary’s favorite word to describe the Agawak spirit is GRIT – the demonstration of strength and resilience to push through challenges. Grit was clearly and powerfully on display this morning as the girls plowed through the water, some in a fast crawl, others in a leisurely breast-stroke, still others floating on their backs.


Grit means you soldier on even when you feel you can’t move another inch in the water. Grit means the power within takes over and propels you onward. Completing the Lake Swim and other challenges the campers take on, such as climbing Tango Tower, provide a solid foundation for the character trait of perseverance that will follow them into adulthood.


When I was 10-years old I came home from camp and told my parents, “I swam across the lake! Now, I feel like I can do anything!”


What more could a parent want for a young child than for her to feel like she can do anything?  Camp does that for us; we start early on pushing ourselves through rough waters and to new heights. And in years to come you will watch your children grow into teens and adults who continue to show the Agawak GRIT.


By: Iris Krasnow