Greetings from the North Woods!
I just returned from the Rec Hall and breakfast announcements. Now admittedly, sometimes announcements can be a bit of a chore. During the first few days of camp while we are all still getting to know each other, the announcements have to be presented in a straightforward way so that our brand new campers can get comfortable with how it works. The announcements can sometimes take too long, and the lion taming exercise that is maintaining the attention of 200 boys and 130 staff members can get to be frustrating. Not today though. Today, it was just fun. It was a fun borne out of the community comraderie that is developing. You see, after a few days, you start to really get to know the personalities of the folks that are consistently up at the microphone, and that beautiful thing that happens at camp better than anywhere else is born….the inside joke. Whether it be particular chants that erupt when certain people approach the microphone, or funny reference points from previous announcements, or inventive camp lingo, we are starting to shift into that groove that makes being at camp such a unique experience….the world of “you had to be there.” Unfortunately, it makes writing these updates a bit challenging since….well….none of you are here. But, trust me, if you had been here listening to me tell the “I have to go to the dentist at 2:30” joke five times in five meals, you would think it was a riot, JUST like the entire camp family does. And speaking of inventive camp lingo, there is a new one this summer that I am discovering. I will share it with you. If you tell a joke and the entire camp family groans, rolls their eyes and begs you to stop, it means that they think it is the absolute pinnacle of hilarity….it’s the vernacular of the millennial. At least that is what I am told. And I am proud to say that I get that exact laudatory response each and every time I tell the “I have to go to the dentist at 2:30” joke…..Take that Henny Youngman!
Yesterday was our first Cruiser Day of the summer. Cruiser Days are unlike any other day at camp. Our normal project periods, that are a part of the daily routine and full of instructional time for the kids in our various programs, are cancelled. Instead, a day is planned that involves either a series of activities done in cabin groups, or a series of activities done in village groups. And yesterday was a great one….
Our Swampers saved camp by joining the Day Push in his epic battle against the Night Push. Yeah…..this is one of those that you at home cannot see the charm in. The short of it is that each morning when I announce the Day Push (the camper designated that day to ring our massive train bell to denote the different periods of the day and keep us on schedule), the Rec Hall erupts into a chant about the Day Push and his eternal battle against the Night Push. So…the clever and creative counselors that inhabit the Swamper village created an entire day to bring this chant to life. You will all be relieved to know that through a series of challenges (like skee ball, scavenger hunts, and a memory game, among other things), the evil Night Push was finally defeated in a water pushball game (it was hot yesterday) and camp was saved! Whew!!!!!
Our Loggers faced down the villainous Thanos from the Avengers. (Their village director, painted his entire head purple to approximate the Avengers antagonist. Though I thought he approximated Barney the dinosaur just as closely…..another antagonist I was eager to see defeated!) They were aided by their counselors dressed up as different Avengers including the 5’4” 120 pound junior counselor of Logger 5 in full green body paint dressed as the Incredible Hulk…..hilarious. Luckily for the world, the evil Barney Thanos was bested through the boys engaging in trivia contests, izzy dizzy bat relays, archery, riddle solving and other Avenger-y type events!
Our Axemen engaged in a massive Tournament Day which included a basketball tournament, a Euchre tournament, a ping pong tournament, and a(nother) water pushball game (it was hot yesterday!!!). Teams were selected at random so we had that wonderful combination of healthy competition, getting to know new people, and just plain fun.
Finally, the Lumberjacks participated in an epic Fortnite Day. This was a camp appropriate approximation of that unbelievably annoying game that your boys have played WAY TOO MUCH OF on their video game devices during this past school year. It amounted to rounds of a massive bombardment game that spanned the entire geography of camp complete with the magic battle bus, treasure chests, and homemade defensive forts to defend. And, guess what? It wrapped up with a Fortnite Day game of water pushball. (Did I mention that it was hot yesterday?)
In the afternoon, all of the villages headed to town for a Dairy Queen treat. I will write about that experience another week.
Cruiser days are great punctuation marks for the boys’ summer. They are totally unique days that shake up the routine and create a ton of fun. As a camp director, it is really fun to see our counselors in action on Cruiser Days. Their incredible creativity, energy, buy in, and spirit make these fanciful days, magic. These are the kinds of days the kids will remember for a long time.
It was a great day.
All is well in the North Woods….