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Summer Camp for 21st Century Skills

Summer Camp for 21st Century Skills

After a fabulous, funny Counselor Show last night we awoke to a beautiful, humid, sunny Camp day. When I left my house at 7am Kenwood & Evergreen campers were already out of their beds, jumping with excitement on the front porches and lawns around their bunks. It appeared that everyone had slept well and seemed to be in a great mood. With a picturesque backdrop of a perfect blue sky we sang “Happy Birthday” to two campers during Assembly and then enjoyed a delicious breakfast of homemade waffles, fresh fruit and yogurt.

From breakfast I walked around as counselors in each bunk taught their campers how to make their beds, sweep their floors, and become more responsible for their own belongings. Happy music poured out of the bunk windows, and more than one counselor was spotted dancing with his or her campers. It is clear that this will be a summer of silly dance moves.

Summer Camp for 21st Century SkillsAt 9:15am the entire community moved out to morning activities. Our teachers and coaches stood in the doorways of their studios and on their ball fields, excited to welcome in their first groups of the summer. After brief introductions campers of all ages began taking tennis lessons, waterskiing, swimming, making ice candles in Arts & Crafts (a very cool project that I will explain in a future blog), and learning to throw on the wheel in Ceramics.  A group of Evergreen Juniors braved the Ropes Course and were the first campers to try out our new and longer Zip Line, while boys of the same age had their first Lacrosse practice. Evergreen Inters and Juniors became better archers while Kenwood Freshmen and Seniors jammed out in the music building. Our baseball instructor helped Kenwood Sophomores and Inters work on their catching and throwing while other campers from both camps were in the Video Studio writing scripts and shooting the first scenes for their movie projects. Evergreen Freshmen began to make wooden boats in our Wood Shop that they will sail in a regatta at the end of the summer. Groups of Kenwood & Evergreen Senior campers went out for scenic mountain biking rides. 

Summer Camp for 21st Century SkillsDuring Rest Period I watched a 3-on-3 basketball tournament organized by two Kenwood 3rd Year Seniors. They both served as referees while groups of their friends fielded different teams. The entire event was fascinating to watch. Everyone played their hardest, and yet they were polite, good sports, supporting everyone involved. At one point one of the refs made an incredibly hard judgment call, and both teams accepted his verdict immediately. They all trust each other implicitly. The whole event was a terrific display of the 21st Century Skills that we teach our kids here: Leadership, Grit, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and more!

Summer Camp for 21st Century SkillsAfter the game I walked back into the center of Camp. On my way through the dining hall basement a group of Evergreen Freshmen girls saw me and screamed “you have to come see what we are doing! The Cooking class is awesome!” Today was our first day ever offering Cooking as an activity. Campers of all ages had the opportunity to learn about Food Science, and also do some cooking and baking. Our Head of Cooking, Chef Rachel, taught our Evergreen Seniors about different types of sugars, and how proteins react when they are combined with different natural ingredients at various temperatures. When I arrived our girls had spent much of their time blending all sorts of fruits with dairy products in an attempt to make the best tasting smoothies possible. They proudly sampled each other’s experiments, and enjoyed reviewing them all. As you can see from their photo they had an absolute blast!

Around dinner time the clouds moved in and brought with them a large amount of rain, so we changed plans and moved our evening activities inside.  Our eldest Evergreen girls, whom we call Juniper, divided up into smaller groups and headed to each of our Evergreen Junior Camp lodges for makeshift pajama parties. The Juniper girls brought with them music and spirit and fun, and our younger campers loved getting to know these cool, kind elder campers. To help them feel even more welcome the Juniper Girls spent much of the evening teaching their favorite camp songs and silly dance routines. Again, like the basketball game I saw earlier in the day, the 21st Century Skills theme was there. After years in our community, even on the first day of a new summer, our oldest campers understand how to lead, how to teach, how to plan, how to work together, and they are happily modeling it for the younger members of our community.

Tonight In Kenwood I introduced a new activity to our Seniors. Borrowed from our English friends, it’s called a Pub Quiz. Dividing the boys into small groups, each team was presented with three rounds of challenges. The first was to try and name 20 faces of famous people…or come up with a creative answer if no one was sure who the person actually was (and a team can earn a whole lot of points for creativity). The second was to listen to 20 snippets of music, and correctly name both the artist/band and song title (or, again, come up with a creative alternate answer). The third round consisted of 20 ditloids. If you unfamiliar with ditloids, they are puzzles that require you to complete phrases using only initials and numbers. Here’s an example:

24 H i a D

If you were able to come up with 24 Hours in a Day then you understand how these puzzles work. If you’d like to take a crack at the 20 ditloids from tonight’s contest please click here, and please feel free to use the comment section of the blog to share what you thought of them!

Summer Camp for 21st Century SkillsAs with every other challenge, our Kenwood Seniors took this contest very seriously. They huddled together in their groups, sharing ideas and debating. In each group I saw campers take risks and volunteer their ideas, and everyone had something to contribute. One camper from Irvington, NY seemed to be a whiz at recognizing the faces, while two boys from the Boston area had this uncanny ability to work together at solving the ditloids. Another young man from Manhattan correctly guessed 7 songs and artists in a row. By the fourth song everyone in the room was focused on him, wondering just how many obscure classic rock and pop tunes he could possibly know. They cheered with every answer he got correct. Yet again, I saw another example of how our Kenwood & Evergreen kids live and breath these skills every day of the summer, and do it with remarkable kindness and caring for one another.

Throughout the day I kept hearing adults and children make the same remark over and over again: what an amazing first day of Camp! I couldn’t agree more. What an amazing first day of Camp, and we are all so happy to be back here yet again.


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