It’s day 4 of first session and I am so pleased to see camp in full swing. Though all the activities are running and evening programs have been fantastic, there is one special development that always acts as a true signal of camp resuming its normal pace: the noise level. I can always tell the exact moment when things are really operating at full capacity–when the decibel level in the lodge reaches a pitch loud enough to send the dogs far away to some distant stretch of grass where they can doze in the sun far from all that cheering and singing.
Now that the campers have had a few days to settle into their surroundings, we’ve been so pleased to see old friendships growing stronger, and new friendships just starting out what could be lifelong relationships. This morning at breakfast, I watched two young Maple campers walk back to their table hand in hand, and I thought to myself that those two campers (who live in two different cities) might just end up attending college together, or keeping close as pen pals as they grow older, as so many of our former campers have done. The bond of camp friendships has a way of negating any gap in distance or time.
Helping to make each cabin unit come together more easily, last night’s evening program of “cabin night” was a huge success. Cabin counselors planned surprise activities in all parts of camp for their campers—activities that were designed to not only have a blast, but also to help unify the cabin groups as they move forward into the summer. I walked all around camp, watching the silliness that ensued, and was very happy to see that one cabin was even having a “Glee” sing-off! Our counselors sure do know how to let loose and have fun in ways that will be exciting and relevant to their campers.
Cabin M-1 invited me to their cabin at rest hour today for a singing show. Each camper participated and sang songs and it was incredible. They had a stage curtain (a blanket) a lighting director (a camper) and many lights (flashlights). They each invited their camp big sisters and the kids had a great time. This show is a perfect example of cabin bonding. The girls in M-1 each played an important part in the show and they were able to step outside their comfort zone, get up in front of other people and perform.
The first two cabin trips went out today, initiating the start of our wilderness trips program. Cabin L-6 left early this morning for their cabin trip, and some of the older campers left after lunch for the famed Isle Royal backpacking trip. Though we had a little bit of rain yesterday, we’ve got clear skies and gorgeous sunshine today, and the forecast looks like it’ll stay warm and pleasant while those two trips are out of camp for the next few days.
Here at camp, all the campers have been getting involved in their activities, learning and playing and getting an opportunity to make friends with campers in other age groups and from other parts of the country. Though it might not be the obvious favorite, I am thrilled to see that, yet again, the fishing class has been a huge hit so far! The fishing class has been catching more fish than ever, which is great fun for more than just one reason; when the fishing class catches a total of 15 fish, they get to throw the fishing class instructor in the lake! My sources say that there were a total of four Lake Pokegama plunges today and yesterday. Luckily for the staff, the lake is nice and warm this time of year!
The Arts and Crafts classes have also been busy, and the crafty geniuses have been making really cool name bracelets in our new leather works class, which has proven to be a giant success. Walking to the archery class this afternoon, I was thrilled to see that the craft classes are already filling the clotheslines with all kinds of tie-dyed wonders. This year, the campers have been really excited about making tie-dyed t-shirt with hearts in the middle. When you see these shirts at home, you’ll be amazed at how colorful and creative they are—just don’t forget to wash them separately for the first few washes, or the rest of your laundry will take on a similarly colorful and creative look that you may not want!
The videography class made their way through camp today—video cameras in hand—asking everyone who crossed their paths to say the word of the summer, “boomshackalacka” with funny faces and recording the results. I can’t wait to look over that footage later tonight—there’re sure to be some crack-ups there! The camp play this session is Seussical: the Musical, which is based on Dr. Seuss’s beloved characters, and everyone is buzzing in anticipation of the cast list, which should be posted any minute. We’ll have our first council fire of the season tonight, led by our seasoned camp veterans, the Junior Counselors.
Council fires are a special time for us here at Birch Trail, and we are proud to carry on the time-honored tradition of singing songs and telling stories as the fire crackles and glows in the center of the ring. This is a wonderful tradition—one that unites us all in our love for camping in these beautiful surroundings. We’ll take lots of photos tonight as everyone snuggles together with song books in hand, and you’ll get a pretty good feel for just how special council fires can be.
Wilderness trips, tie-dyed hearts, fishing class, Glee sing-offs, play casting and extremely loud cheering are all underway, and it is a gloriously busy day here at camp with much, much more soon to come.