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There’s gold in them thar hills!

It was Saturday morning so we let our campers and counselors sleep late and recharge their batteries. After a delicious meal of breakfast burritos, home fries, and 6 different types of fresh berries everyone headed back to their bunks for cleanup. Then both camps had another round of their intramural leagues. Then we all made our way to the dining hall lunch.

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In the middle of the meal there was a sudden commotion at the boys’ end of the dining hall. Three counselors dressed up in their best rural attire walked in screaming that they had found gold somewhere on campus. The campers and counselors began screaming right away, as this meant that one of our favorite annual special events was happening today: Gold Rush. Then a group of villains came in and pretended to steal the gold or lock them up and take them to the balcony of the dining hall. Along the way there was fake scuffle, a pratfall in the middle of the dining hall floor, and some very silly play acting. The actors were very committed to their roles and the kids all laughed and cheered. 

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After lunch, while campers were in their cabins, our maintenance crew scattered gold colored rocks all over the campus. When milk and cookies concluded Jacki Mitchell brought our junior campers together for instructions on how Gold Rush would work. Essentially, they would run as fast as they could around the property collective gold. By bringing it to the bank in the center of camp they could redeem the gold for Camp money, which they could then use at a Casino tonight (run by our senior campers), and then at an auction later in the evening. Our Junior Boys and Girls would serve as bandits and sheriffs, working to either disrupt the collection of the gold, or help it safely reach the bank.



Gold Rush is a ton of fun, but it’s also an event with a bit of a twist to it. Rather than having individual campers spend their money, they have to work together with their entire bunk to figure out which prize or experience to bid on. It requires them to use so many of the skills that we work on here: collaboration, adaptability, effective communication, and leadership. And yet like all of these teachable moments here our campers just seemed to experience it as nothing but fun. Multiple new campers in both camps told me that Gold Rush was now their favorite part of Camp, which is due, in large part, to the incredible planning and execution of the event’s planners Jacki and Bob Mitchell.  

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An event like Gold Rush is also successful because of the participation of our campers. All afternoon our Senior Boys and Girls were in arts and crafts working on creating the booths and games for the Casino. Right after dinner they were in the theater setting up, and you could see how determined they were to make it fun and exciting for their younger friends. Everywhere I looked tonight our Junior campers were having an absolute blast at whichever game they were playing, and that because of the efforts of our Seniors. They all deserve a massive Cha-Hee, Cha-Hah for their leadership, creativity, and hard work today!

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The prizes at tonight’s auction were all experiences and adventures designed to bring each bunk a little closer together, rather than tangible items. The auction block included a day of using the admin golf carts to ride around campus, a chance for a bunk to wear and use walky-talkies, the Camp Admin helping the kids haul and sort their laundry, having breakfast in bed, an afternoon on the waterski boat for copious amounts of tubing, fishing and dinner with Adventure Dave, an extra night camping out, and so much more! The kids were so excited about the prizes and we can’t wait to see them experiencing them!

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Today was yet another day where everyone in our community contributed, and not surprisingly, it lead to everyone having yet another incredible day here at our overnight camp. Tomorrow will be another surprise event, but only after we bring back yet another camp tradition that hasn’t been seen at K&E for almost two decades! More on this in tomorrow’s blog…

Did you see the highlight videos from week #1 and week #2 of the summer yet? 

Watch a short video where Courtney explains why

our evening activities and special events are so amazing