A fantastic camp reunion in Beijing, ChinaOctober 31, 2016
As I wrote about in Friday’s blog, we have begun our fall season of amazing camp reunions. Two weeks ago more than 100 campers and counselors gathered for an evening of playing at the House of Sports in Ardsley, NY, and just last week a group of us held the third annual Camps Kenwood and Evergreen Reunion in Beijing, China.
Scott, David, Josh, Sean and I were all speaking at an international camp education conference in Beijing. Afterwards, we brought all of the local members of our camp family together for a traditional K&E campfire…inside an office building.
Gathered around a simulated campfire David created, we did many of the same things we do at our Opening and Closing campfires each summer: we played games, sang songs, talked about what Camp means to all of us, and just enjoyed a quiet evening together. Josh and Sean brought all of the campers up for a few rounds of Pukana, while David worked up a sweat running his rain storm simulation. I played guitar and was joined by Evergreen camper Dolly as we all sang “Country Roads” together. Scott talked about what our community is all about, why camp friendships are so powerful, and why K&E is such a fabulous environment for acquring 21st century skills. Some of our campers even stood up to talk about how being at Camp has changed their lives, and why being in our camp family is so important to them.
One veteran Kenwood camper said that his favorite moment of the summer was everytime his counselor made him laugh, as the counselor’s attempts at do so him feel like he was wanted and belonged in our Camp community. An Evergreen camper excited about returning for her third summer told everyone at the campfire “Camp has become my home. I cry every time I have to leave it. You just feel so comfortable and supported when you are at home, and Camp is now my home. I can totally be me when I’m Camp”. Every camper who spoke at the campfire shared how K&E had helped shape who they were and who they wanted to be.
After the campfire David and the counselors took the campers to play some of the fun and funny games we play each summer at camp. Everyone had such a great time and the laughter shook the walls of the office. You may notice longtime K&E camper and counselor Daniel Nathan in the photo below. Daniel has been studying in Hong Kong this semester, and hearing that we were in town for this event he flew over to join us. Former camper Wiley Baskin was also there to help out at the reunion. The level of caring and dedication of our camp community members, even years after they have graduated or stopped being counselors, never ceases to amaze me. Thank you to you both for being a part of the Beijing Camp Reunion!
It was wonderful to see so many of our camp friends and parents who live in Beijing on this trip. Earlier in the week we also had a chance to spend time with Clay and Kaleb, and the night after the campfire we had dinner with Alison, Alvin, their parents, and Henry and TingTing’s moms. They are all excited to be back for their third and fourth summers and send their best to everyone in the K&E camp world!
We have had so much fun at our first two fall camp reunions and can’t wait for the rest. Our next will be in Sharon, MA at Everwood Day Camp on Sunday, November 6th. For more information about this event, or about our reunions in December and January, please click on the link below.