We spend a lot of time trying to capture exactly how fun, exciting and meaningful our off-season events are for our community members. On Sunday, one of our camp parents shared her thoughts after her daughter returned home from our annual Winter Weekend up in NH, and frankly, she did a better job than we could have ever imagined!
It's the start of our 18th annual, totally amazing Senior Camper Winter Weekend at our summer camp In NH!
At 11am this morning the journey began, and it always feels to me like a trip on the Hogwarts express (minus the owls and chocolate frogs, of course). About 40 Kenwood and Evergreen campers and counselors and I boarded a private Amtrak train car at New York's Penn Station and headed north. Every year on this trip I love watching how it literally takes seconds for our kids and staff to get back into "camp mode". Campers and counselors were hugging and laughing and kind to each other, and it felt like Kenwood and Evergreen even though we were standing in the middle of an NYC train station.
Our campers are involved in some pretty amazing projects, including a number of charitable efforts. In December of 2016 longtime Kenwood camper Ryan Levine was named by the City of Cleveland as its "Person of the Month" after creating an event called the Kids Film It Festival. His festival was a chance for young auteurs to get some exposure for their movies, and at the same time it raised over $30,000 to help find a cure for Parkinsons Disease.
Throughout the fall and winter months camp alumni regularly reach out via text or email with a similar story: I was somewhere and randomly heard this song that was used for a Color War alma materand it immediately took me back to a favorite time of my life. And I always know what they mean, having been at K&E for over 30 summers and associating dozens and dozens of tunes with some of my best camp memories.
International Wear Your Summer Camp T-Shirt Day is TOMORROW and we in the Camp Office are really excited. Wouldn't it be fun to take part in this in a big way?! All around the world, campers, staff, alumni and even parents can participate in this big event to share their K&E spirit! Here's all you need to do:
Our Camp Office team spends a lot of time reading the latest studies and ideas about child and human development. A few days ago, Scott found this interesting article "Why parents need to be patient with their school-age kids" on BostonGlobe.com. It offers an important reminder of the many pressures and conditions we may unconsciously place on our kids while they actually "grow and develop interests at their own pace, and we need to let them be themselves, not mini versions of us."
While events of mass violence have occurred with greater frequency in recent years, we know that the terrible attack against congregants at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg might resonate differently and feel a bit closer to home for some of our campers and their families.
Topics: winter weekend
As an overnight camp we have many, many traditions. Some take place during the summer, like our ceremonial campfires, fabulous music festival, and Color War. Others take place during the 10 months out of the year when we are all away from our favorite place. One of those traditions is the annual ""Where Your Camp Shirt", in which we
Topics: where your camp shirt
Most of our campers returned to school today or last week, and we've been hearing from so many about how much they miss Camp and their Camp friends. With that in mind we wanted to share the photo slideshows from both the Kenwood and Evergreen closing banquets. We invite you to click on them, crank up the volume, and relive some of our favorite moments from this past summer!
Every summer our campers have the opportunity to put on elaborate Broadway-style musical theater productions. They spend weeks working together as a theater company rehearsing their lines, blocking scenes, practicing the choreography, making costumes, painting the sets and scenery, and learning lighting and sound design. This year our two productions were "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" and "13", and we are proud to present to you each show!
Day #3 of our 2018 Color War was incredible! Soccer, hockey, a swim meet, all-camp relays, and rope burnings! Make sure to check it all out in the video.
Day #2 of Color War 2018 is in the books, and what a day it was! We invite you to watch some of the highlights of this fantastic special event!
At the end of every week we post a wrap up video for our camp parents to see some of the fun and amazing things we did at camp during the last 7 days. Well, today our talented staff film maker Emily Shaw not only has that to share, but also a second video that is a look at some of the sports our campers played during the first day of Color War. We hope that you enjoy them both and want to thank Emily for going above and beyond today for our Camp parents!
Tonight was the 6th Anything Can Happen Thursday of the summer, and BOY did we have a lot planned. Our campers walked into the dining hall wondering if Kenwood or Evergreen's color war would be breaking out tonight. In the end both did, but not at the same time, and in very different ways.
Our campers have been on some exciting trips this week. Currently, the Evergreen 2nd Year Seniors are white water canoeing on the Androscogin River, and yesterday Scott took boys of the same age group to Maine for a day of surfing and eating lobster. In the lead up to Hollowpallooza our Athletic Directors Jacki and Bob Mitchell took our oldest Evergreen campers on an adventure in Montreal, Canada, and currently my wife Deena and I are doing the same with our Kenwood Hut 6 campers. It's a 2 night/3 day trip of sight seeing, cultural experiences, amazing meals, and some fantastic bonding. For some of the boys on this trip this is their first time in a foreign country, and we are honored to be their guides. This is a trip we both went on as campers, and it means a great deal to us that we get to lead it this many years later.
For a lot of our campers and counselors the 6th weekend of the summer is best weekend of the entire year. It started Friday night with the arrival of last summer's graduates and our drive-in movie. On Saturday it included our annual music festival Hollowpallooza, and was capped off on Sunday with our Carnival celebration. It's a couple of days of non-stop fun and excitement with camp friends.
Our overnight camp has some pretty amazing traditions -- our Big and Little Siblings program, solemn ceremonial campfires, Jell-O Wrestling, our incredible Color War breakouts. They're all pretty special and important. At the top of the list of the most beloved, and most fun, has to be Hollowpallooza, our annual music festival.
Thursday night was our 5th Anything Can Happen Thursday of the summer, and we decided to pull out all the stops. When we were all gathered at Assembly I announced that it was going to be a very special evening. It was going to be Jacki Mitchell's Bat Mitzvah!
This morning I was made aware of an interesting piece on Kveller.com titled "When Your Kids Are At Camp, Do This If You Can". It was written by Diana Zicklin Berrent, one of our long-time K&E camp parents. Diana is a professional photographer and an avid traveler, and as she writes:
At breakfast assembly we celebrated an important K&E tradition. We asked every camper who had recommended our overnight camp to a friend or relative for this summer to step forward and be thanked by the community. After everyone cheered we presented them with a much coveted super soft K&E sweatshirt blanket.
Today may have been the prettiest weather day of the entire summer. From noon until sunset the temperature was in the mid 80's with low humidity, very few clouds in the sky, and a light breeze coming off of the lake. It was a spectacular day to be doing fun activities with camp friends.
It was the morning after a wonderful Visiting Day and everyone seemed to be in a good and silly mood. Like this guy who decided to wear an octopus on his head to breakfast.
Tonight was the fourth Anything Can Happen Thursday of the summer, and we decided to go all out with this meal. Our Chef team spent all week learning new recipes while Diego and the Support Staff came up with fun new ways to decorate the dining hall.
There are certain moments here that help define a summer. They're moments involving most or all of the community, and make such an indelible impression that people talk about them years or even decades later. Often it's a funny skit during the Opening Counselor Show, a buzzer beater shot during Color War, or a band's unexpectedly amazing performance during Hollowpallooza. Tonight, all of Camp Kenwood experienced one of those unforgettable Camp moments during our annual Lip Sync Contest, and it wasn't just one act, but rather an entire evening of performances that we will all remember.
Topics: lip sync contest
Today at Camp we celebrated a new holiday: Camp Kindness Day. Created by our friends at the American Camp Association, this was a new event designed to highlight "the practice of intentional kindness that happens every day at American camps".
Topics: jell-o wrestling
Topics: big weekend
Part of the experience here at our 7 week overnight camp is trying activities that you probably can't do anywhere else in your life. Like wrestling in 1,000 lbs of Jell-O, leaping off of 40 foot cliffs into natural pools of water, or jamming in a rock band on a stage in front of 500 people. Today we went hunting dinosaurs and zombies.
When Camp is at its best, it's a blend of fun, friendship, adventure, and learning cool new things. That seemed to be on display wherever you looked today.
Today was just a gorgeous NH summer day. While the sun was out, and there were almost no clouds in the sky, the temperature was in the mid 80's with very little humidity. What a perfect day for our Kenwood Freshmen and Sophomores to head to Weirs Beach!
Topics: Weirs Beach
One of the best things about our counselors is how they try to find every opportunity to show our campers a great time. This day started off a little wet and cold. It began to rain during the walk to breakfast, and for most of the morning there were showers overhead. It didn't stop us from having fun at our arts and sports activities, but as lunch approached you could see that a lot of people were looking for a reason to change their mood.
This summer our campers will participate in over 85 different day excursions, overnight camping trips, intercamps and travel tournaments. There are so many amazing opportunities for kids of all ages to play team sports, fish, hike, mountain bike, canoe, surf, and paddle board, along with just getting to enjoy the State of New Hampshire with their friends.
As I have written about throughout this summer, this has been a year of creating new Camp traditions, and bringing old ones back. This morning was all about resurrecting a beloved K&E tradition that has been gone for a very long time.
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.
Thursdays are quickly shaping up to be the favorite day of the week this summer. As I wrote in a blog last week, we recently premiered a new weekly event called Anything Can Happen Thursdays. The idea behind this event is that once a week the kids can come to dinner prepared to be a mix of surprised and wowed by whatever unexpected dinner our Leadership Team has planned. Tonight was definitely one of those nights!