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The top 10 bugle calls at our brother-sister summer camp in NH

As a camp director I visit every child who will be going to our brother-sister summer camp (either in person or virtually over Skype). It’s a chance to build a more complete understanding of who this child is, and how we can help him or her be as successful as possible as they enter our summer camp community. In advance of my visit I always ask that the camper and family write down as many questions for me as possible, and towards the end of my time with them we look at it together to make sure that I addressed everything that they were curious about.

RELATED: The Importance of Summer Camp Home Visits 

Well, last week I was visiting an 8-year old boy who will be coming to Kenwood, our summer camp for boys, for the first time and he asked me a question no camper had ever posed: how will I know what the bugle calls mean since I’m not familiar with them? I LOVE when campers come up with an idea or question that no other prospective camper has ever asked before, and this one really got me thinking. 

For those not familiar with them, these calls are short, 30 second tunes that we have borrowed from the US Military. Rather than having a bell like most schools have, we play these different tunes over our PA system throughout the day to help our campers and counselors understand what event is now starting, or what they actions they need to take. Every summer campers tell me that they love hearing these sounds throughout the day, and love that it allows them to leave their watches at home for the summer. With our brother-sister camp’s bugle calls you never have to worry about being late for anything!

So on my drive from this young man’s home visit it occurred to me that I should post the top 10 bugle calls at our brother-sister summer camp on this blog so that our new campers have a chance to listen to the before the summer. I placed the calls on our camp’s SoundCloud account, which also holds hundreds of songs from our annual rock concert called “Hollowpallooza”. I invite you to click on each of the link below to hear and grow familiar with these important camp sounds. AND NEW CAMPERS, PLEASE do not worry if you don’t remember them when you arrive. We will explain and re-explain them day after day until they become embedded in your brain. It usually takes 3-4 takes and then you remember them forever!

RELATED: A chance to be your best self, and be a total rock star at summer camp


The sound of Reveille wakes us up at 7:35am on weekdays and 8:35am on weekends. All campers and counselors should get up promptly, and get ready for a great camp day!

brother-sister summer camp

The start of a beautiful day at our brother-sister summer camp in NH

First Call

You are going to hear first call a couple of times each day. We play it at 7:45am to remind you that you really need to get up for breakfast (it’s kind of like Camp’s snooze alarm).

First call is also a reminder that it is time to go back to the bunks. We play this so that you remember to wash your hands before lunch and dinner, and so that you go back to the bunk at the end of Free Play to get ready for the night’s evening activity. 

Assembly Call

Our brother-sister summer camp comes together for two community assemblies each day: after junior camp has breakfast, and before the entire camp has dinner together.

Flag Raising

During each morning assembly we make announcements about the day, celebrate people’s birthdays, and raise the American flag. This is the bugle call for when we stand quietly and raise the flag. 

Activity Call

This is one of the best calls that we play, because when you hear it you know that you are about to have a huge amount of fun. There are 7 activity calls per day — 3 in the morning, 3 in the afternoon, and 1 for the start of evening activity. Click below if you’d like to see a sample schedule of a week at our brother-sister summer camps.

Take a look at our innovative Structured Choice schedule


What goes up must come down, and before we eat dinner each evening we quietly stand together and lower the American flag.


Quarters is similar to First Call in that it signals that it’s time for everyone to head back to the bunks. We only play it at night, at the end of evening activity. It’s a longer call than First Call, which helps more campers and counselors hear it (and say to themselves “ohhhh…right…I have to go back to my bunk now”.

Watch a short video where Courtney explains why

our evening activities and special events are so amazing


Every night at camp ends with Taps. It is a beautiful and simple tune, using only 4 notes. You will usually hear Taps over the PA system when you are in your bunk, getting ready to go to bed. When it plays we ask that all campers and counselors stop what they are doing and pause for a moment of silence. Many in our camp community like to use it as a time to think about the best moments of the day, and to give thanks for how fortunate we are to spend our summers together.

Meal Call

You may be asking yourself so if there’s an assembly call why is there also a meal call? Because not every meal has an assembly before it! This is the tune we play before lunch. 

Service Call

You will only hear Service Call once a week, right before our weekly Friday night services, and yet it is probably the call most of our campers like the most. Why do they love it so? Because we play it three times in a row, and there’s a dance routine that goes with it. I filmed it a few years ago.

Read some of our campers’ favorite
sermons from this past summer

Back in 1997 a group of long-time K&E counselors put the Service Call Dance together and the entire camp community loved it immediately. And we’ve been doing it ever since. 

Those are our Top 10 Most Played Bugle Calls and I hope that you enjoy them!

So what other aspects of our community should we be writing about? What fun, informative, or even arcane aspects of life at our brother/sister summer camp should we be highlighting? As always, I would love to read your thoughts.

Learn more about our summer camp