On Monday our Evergreen Color War known as Green and Gold came to an end, and last night it was the same for Kenwood's Maroon and Grey. It was a pretty special Color War, both in terms of how well our campers played, and how kind our boys were with one another both on and off the field.
At last night's Song and Cheer the boys sang their tunes with serious skill. When the song was meant to be funny they were smiling and showing great comedic timing. When the song was about their team they looked fierce and determined. And when it was about their love of our summer camp the genuine emotion on their faces was touching. To see a wrap up of the final day of Color War, along with clips of each team's songs, please click on the video link below:
There were a number of great and unexpected moments during this Song and Cheer, and the most meaningful was when two of our head captains joined together to read a short speech. It was to remember our friend and former counselor Jimmy who passed away suddenly this fall. Jimmy meant a great deal to this community, and it brought tears to our eyes to see our eldest campers pause in the midst of their biggest Color War moment ever to memorialize someone we miss so much.
It is impossible to formally celebrate the presence of camp humor without acknowledging the absence of Jimmy Kiriakos. For half a decade, Jimmy served as the nucleus of high spirits in Kenwood and shaped the sense of humor for a generation of campers and counselors. Jimmy’s affection for laughter will always be contagious and his jokes will always humor us. The 2017 Maroon and Grey Novelty verses have been recited in his honor
It is Kenwood tradition that immediately after Song & Cheer we bury a ceremonial antique hatchet. The hatchet is our symbol of Color War, and by placing it in the ground we acknowledge the end of this fabulous event, and our return to focusing on being one big camp of friends. The entire boys camp walked to our ceremonial campfire area where Scott led us in a beautiful ceremony that both honored the spirit of our color war, and how important camp friendships are to all of us.
Tonight this summer’s Kenwood leaders were called up to prepare the ground: the Color War Senior Captains, the Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, our Unit Leaders, and our Administrators. Standing in the dark, lit only by the string of lights overhead, we then put our arms around each other and quietly sang Taps. Afterwards, the Kenwood Big Brothers took their Little Brothers back to the bunks to help put them to bed.
The Kenwood Seniors then headed off to the Gym to play bombardment, and the administrators went straight to the dining hall. As is Kenwood tradition, Bob, Walshy, Scott, Tex and I fired up the grills, put on our aprons, and cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for all of our senior boys. This year we were joined by our friends on the Kitchen team Arnaldo and Kristie. Arnaldo was there to make sure that all of campers with food allergies or who need to eat gluten free were safely taken care of, and Kristie was just there to help in every way possible.
We all really like spending time together, and it was fun to fry up some onion rings, sautee some mushrooms and onions, and dance around as we blasted some tunes. This year I went with all live classic recordings taken from the sound board, including Derek and the Dominos, Goverment Mule, Nanci Griffith. Elton John, RUSH, Aretha Franklin, Joe Jackson and the Jerry Garcia Band.
This year we had one more staff member working behind the grill. As a camper Ben loved hanging out with Tex on this night, and always marvelled at what he was able to cook. As a counselor we invited him to join us, and as you can see, he was really excited to be a part of the group effort! Ben was also the author of the statement read by our captains during Song and Cheer, and we salute him for helping our community celebrate our fallen friend with such beautiful words.
Tonight was a very special night in Camp Kenwood. We are proud of our boys for how hard they worked this past week. We are proud that they gave their all in every game and in every event. And we are most proud that throughout the tournament they never lost sight of what we believe to be most important: that above all else we are friends and brothers, even in a time of competition.