330 Smiling Faces and One Very Fun Day

Birch Trail summer of 2011 has officially begun! All of our campers have arrived safely at camp and we are so happy to have everyone together at long last. I’m sure that all of you back at home are experiencing some mixed feelings about sending your daughter away to camp. She might have been a little nervous before heading up to camp, which is completely normal. We want you to know that it’s okay for you to be a little nervous, too. After all, sending your daughter away for four or eight weeks is a pretty big deal; and we don’t take lightly the impact that has on our campers’ parents. We know that it’ll be a significant transition for both you and your daughter, and we are here to help in any way we can. If you have any questions in the next few days, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

So congratulations on getting through the hard part of saying goodbye; getting to see pictures of your happy little girl in the cabin pictures we posted from the first dinner usually helps! If you haven’t already done so, please do check out those happy photos of your daughter’s smiling face along with her new cabin mates and counselors here. We’ll be sure to get lots of new photos up again soon as we move through the traditions and introductions of the first few days.

After a fun bus ride up from Chicago, I got to experience one of the best parts of my job when I returned to camp: seeing old friends reunite as they stepped off the bus and onto the grounds of their collective home-away-from-home. Lots of sunshine and gorgeous weather welcomed the campers back to their summer home, and even with a few flight delays, the travel details went according to plan. We’ve all been incredibly busy making sure that all the campers and their luggage have arrived safely at camp, so if we don’t return your phone calls right away these first few days, please be patient. We’ve made sure email everyone letting you all know that everyone has arrived safely and that all is well.

The first night of camp is filled with meeting new friends and saying hi to old ones, unpacking, getting situated, and having a great time. The first dinner is a special time for the camp community to come together and take part in some time-honored BT traditions. Before we sat down to eat tonight, we read a special poem–one that reminds the campers to be mindful of their time together and of the friendships they will cultivate over the next four or eight weeks. After everyone enjoyed spaghetti and a special dessert, as well a ton (and I mean a TON) of very loud cheering and singing, I took a few minutes to remind everyone of some of the fun rules at camp so that everyone starts off on the same page. These rules cover the basics, including everything from how to make new friends to reminders not to leave trash on the ground.

After dinner, the campers got to enjoy the session’s first evening program, which is always a wild one! On the first night of each session, the staff puts on a counselor show, introducing themselves to the campers and doing a good bit of entertaining in the process (we’ll be sure to post pictures of the silly outfits and hilarious skits on the website shortly). Afterwards, while the campers and counselors get all the beds made and duffel bags unpacked, specialty staff members will make their way to each cabin, picking up valuables (to be kept in a safe in the office) and checking to make sure that all is well and that every camper has what she needs.

Once everyone gets settled into their cabins, the fun really begins! It’s been a very full and very happy day here, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have a camp full of bright, excited campers and staff. I can already tell that this is going to be one incredible summer here at Camp Birch Trail! We’re off to a great start, so stay tuned for more tales of adventure and fun. After all, we’ve got 330 (206 campers and 124 staff) smiling faces, one incredibly busy and successful day behind us, and four more weeks of memories to make.

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