A fun day of playing, exploring, and learning at our summer campJuly 24, 2015
As you might have noticed I didn’t publish a blog this morning. That’s because I had the pleasure of hanging out with the Kenwood Freshmen boys on their mountain climb and overnight camping trip. This photo below is an indication of the fun we all had together. It’s hard to tell but this was them trying to dance to “Gangham Style”.
After reaching the mountain in the midst of a storm that sent the rain sideways, our intrepid explorers made it off of the summit and to their camp site. While some of them played catch or went to collect wood others hung out with the counselors and learned how to cook over an open fire.
The boys ate quite well last night. For dinner they had hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie paddies, marinated steak, and stir fried vegetables. Everything was delicious, and totally peanut and tree nut free. Our friends who needed meals even more allergen free had a separate cooler, cutting board, knives and pans so that they could safely have gluten free, mustard free, egg free and soy free hot dogs and hamburgers, too. One of the boys took me aside after eating and said “it’s really nice knowing that you guys always cook safe meals for me”. I gave him a huge hug for being such a sweet person.
For dessert our counselors taught the boys how to bake over an open fire. Together they learned how to slice their own banans, fill them with peanut free chocolate, marshmallows, and/or soy nut butter, and them seal them up safely in tinfoil. Then they placed them into the hot coals to roast for a few minutes. After pulling them out and letting them cool they each were able to enjoy a warm, gooey, amazing desser that they had made themselves!
But the fun and excitement of the camping trip was not yet over! The other night I wrote about our Senior Camper event called Rope Burning, which is a part of Big Weekend and Color War. Well, our goal is for our campers to be expert rope burners by the time they reach the end of their camper careers, so last night the Freshmen Boys got to try this activity for the first time.
After a brief lesson they spent much of the afternoon collecting and piling up sticks. Then, after dessert, each bunk met to formulate their strategy. Some decided to build teepees and wood boxes, while others went for the more “throw it all on the pile” approach. Then they circled up and did some cheering, and the event began!
Our counselors briefed them all on the important rules that they needed to observe, and all of them did a fantastic job keeping this event safe. Some fires caught quickly, and one team burned their rope in about 80 seconds. Others took longer, but in true Kenwood and Evergreen fashion everyone pitched in so that in the end every bunk was able to successfully burn their rope.
Working together, safely building a fire and burning a rope suspended 3 feet in the area, it was a pretty magical and memorable moment for our boys. A number of them remarked that this was something that they’d never have the chance to do at home, which only made it seem cooler to them. I loved that it was yet another opportunity for them to work on these 21st century skills that are so important…and that they had the time of their lives doing it!
The entire outdoor adventure trip ended up being one enormous bonding experience for all!
But our Kenwood boys weren’t the only ones on an outdoor adventure doing some bonding. The Evergreen Freshmen and Sophomore girls spent yesterday with my wife Deena at Weirs Beach.
It was a gorgeous day, and the girls spent it swimming, building sand castles, playing frisbee on the beach, burying each other in the sand, and pretty much having a perfect day out of Camp.
As you can see below, they were in a really silly mood all day long. I love that about our Evergreen girls: they let themselves get really silly during their summers at our overnight camp. Our counselors and older campers model for them that this is a place to be a goofball, and that’s part of what makes being a part of our summer camp so amazing. When you feel free to be this goofy around your friends it also means that you’ll feel comfortable taking healthy risks back at Camp. It means that you can try all of the sports and arts that we offer each week without worrying about if you are good enough. Thankfully, our kids get the necessary message… of course you are!!
While our girls were having a great time at the beach our Kenwood Inters and Juniors were having their own fabulous day of outdoor adventure. They spent the day exploring Sculptured Rock, which is a local natural attraction of massive rocks that together form a breathtakingly beautiful natural swimming pool. It also has two locations where you can safely jump from.
A number of campers were hesitant at first to jump, but with kind coaching from the counselors — and unwaveringly positive support from their peers – all of the boys did it, and they all came back so proud of what they had done.
And we can’t wait for our parents to arrive on Sunday and see how much their kids have grown. While many of our campers have grown in terms of height, we can’t wait for them to see how much they’ve grown as photographers, basketball players, film makers, pitchers, catchers, rock climbers and more!
So were all getting excited and prepared for the parents, younger siblings and even grandparents to arrive on Sunday!
Being back at Camp, today, I spent some time at tennis lessons with our Evergreen Juniors. As you can see they were having a ton of fun with their coach, Heidi, as they were working on their forehands and backhands.
Just a few yards away, in the Hollow, Caleb was running a football clinic with our Junior boys. As part of the lesson he was teaching them the fundamentals of throwing a proper spiral, along with how to properly punt the ball.
On the other side of the Hollow Nikki was running a great CrossFit period with the Inter boys. Recently, she had Mike, our woodshop counselor, create a set of moveable, scaleable walls. At this period she was teaching our boys how to climb over it as part of their fitness routine.
From there I walked up to the theater. Tomorrow night our Senior boys and girls will be putting on their big musical of the summer. This year’s play is called “Back to the 80’s”, and it’s a musical review of classic 80’s songs. Our kids have been having a blast working on this, and from what I saw this afternoon, it’s going to be fantastic!
While many Seniors were in the tent others were on the Evergreen ball field working on their pitching, hitting and fielding with Coach Steve.
In the Hollow Soccer Tom was running a really great period. As a way to help teach out girls how to dribble the ball with greater control, he had them kick across the field and around cones…and then when he yelled “DANCE!” they all had to stop where they were and do the silliest dance moves that they could come up with. While they were certainly improving their soccer skills they were also having a hysterically fun time!
While in the Hollow I heard laughing coming from the Volleyball court just up the hill. I got there in time to see these girls practicing diving into the sand, trying to hit the ball. I think it’s pretty clear how much fun they were having while working on their skills.
I’m not exactly sure what these guys were up to but they were happy to be on the golf cart with Athletic Director Bob, and that was certainly good enough for me!
All in all, it was just a great day at our brother-sister overnight camp. Campers and counselors were just having such a fun time working, playing, teaching and learning together!