This week Scott published an article in Camping Magazine, the nationwide magazine for camping professionals. His essay is a thoughtful and well-researched challenge to summer camp owners and directors to consider shifting their programs' focus to the life skills that are more important than ever for our children and young adults. We invite you to read this excerpt from Scott's article, and invite you to leave comments. There's a link at the bottom of the page to read the full piece.
The last event of every summer at Kenwood & Evergreen is when we burn down the year. After the boys' banquet and the girls' campfire tonight each camp headed to their respective waterfront. With only the light of the moon overhead a member of the camp leadership team waded into the water towards these enormous wooden numbers created by our maintenance team. With a torch in hand the numbers were ignited, and a fierce fire burned brightly amidst the darkness of night. At both beaches campers and counselors huddled together to reflect on the countless memories of the summer. There were many tears and many more hugs of reassurance. Slowly the flames of 2013 extinguished, and both beaches fell eerily silent. And then for the last time this summer we gathered as Camp Kenwood and Camp Evergreen and sang "Taps". It was an awe inspiring last night of an incredible summer.
We continue having as much fun as possible as we approach the end of the summer. As the sun rose this morning almost 75 campers and a dozen staff marched with me to our two waterfronts for the final Polar Swim of the summer. In tandem kids from both camps stood on the docks, did jumping jacks, and then leapt into the brisk lake water. Afterwards they stopped by the dining hall for a quick warm up of hot chocolate and croissants.
When I got up this morning and headed to the office the air was crisp and it felt good to inhale through your nose. I stood with my boys by the Evergreen waterfront and enjoyed the fact that we were still here for a couple of more days. We then walked over to the porch of Oak Lodge to hang out with the many Kenwood Sophomores who were awake and eager to start their day. They were laughing and discussing how much fun they had had during Color War, and all of the fun times they have had throughout this summer. It was great to see how quickly everyone had settled back into their “camp as usual” mode. Everyone got to Assembly a little faster than they had in almost a week. There was a whole lot of laughing and joking around and you could see that everyone was in the mood to just enjoy these last few days of the summer. After breakfast the whole camp moved out to regular activities, including all of our arts that had taken a break during Color War. So many campers rushed to finish up their final projects, so that they could take them home on Saturday.
We woke up this morning with Evergreen having completed their Color War, and Kenwood in the final day of its tournament. Our Evergreen girls woke up late and came to breakfast at a leisurely pace in their pajamas. Just after eating they left on a really fun trip to a local NH attraction. The girls were so happy to have this day to all be together, just hanging out, laughing, and having fun.
The weather was once again gorgeous today at Camp, and it made for a perfect day of Color War activities. Kenwood had its Swim Meet, and campers of all ages were competing in races of freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. We also had a treasure hunt and a breath holding competition. The Swim Meet was close, with both teams winning points. Evergreen also had its Swim Meet this afternoon, and its Track Meet this morning. Our girls were running their hearts out in the 50, 75, 100, and 200-yard dash, along with the marathon run. It was a fantastic day for watching our boys and girls participate in athletics. And after a Color War where Gold was winning for almost 3 straight days Green took the lead by 19 ½ points as they headed to dinner.
Today was day 3 of Color War, and it was yet another beautiful day. Once again we basked in the lovely, mild New Hampshire August weather. On the walk up to breakfast everyone seemed to have a big smile on their faces after a great night of sleep. As has been the case all summer there just seemed to be a lovely energy as we all gathered for our morning assembly.
Today was day two of Color War at Camps Kenwood & Evergreen and the weather was glorious. The sun was out, the humidity was low, and there was not a cloud in the sky. Scott surprised everyone at breakfast with 800 fresh bagels from a bakery in Newton, MA, along with a couple dozen pounds of lox and various flavored cream cheeses. The salad bars were filled with slice tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, and the entire community jumped at the chance to make their ideal bagel sandwich. The Juniper Girls led the Camp in a cheer of celebration. It was a great morning and a great start of our second day of Color War.
We woke up this morning to heavier rain than we expected. Because of this we decided to take a pause during Color War, and instead have a "truce" day. After breakfast the campers gave their bunks a thorough cleaning and then spent their morning working a number of important end-of-the-summer projects. Groups were in Arts & Crafts finishing up their bunk plaques, while others were in the their bunks and lodges putting the finishing touches on the skits that they would be performing later in the day. The kids also began writing their Scroll and Log articles, the yearbooks for Kenwood and Evergreen. Later in the morning the boys spent a few hours in the theater for a much loved event called "Simpsons Morning". It was a good morning for relaxing and forgetting about the hussle of Color War.
Yesterday was day one of Color War 2013. We had so many different activities going on. Here are the two schedules:
Today was another favorite annual Kenwood & Evergreen event, and a tremendous end to a weekend of non-stop fun. All morning our campers and counselors were working together to prepare for this afternoon’s Carnival. This year’s theme was Barnum and Bailey Circus, and it had both campers and counselors very excited. The refrain all over Camp was “let’s run away and join the Circus!” Just after lunch our Evergreen Freshmen campers got dressed up in all sorts of costumes, taking on the roles of Ring Master, Lion Tamer, Lions, Elephants, Clowns and so many others. They sang short, humorous songs that their counselors wrote for them about how great their characters were, and the entire girls’ camp cheered for each of our littlest performers. In Kenwood our Freshmen also took on the roles of the archetypical Circus characters, but instead of singing individual songs, they put on a humorous skit for all of K&E in the hollow. Then a group of counselors came out and did their own funny sendup of life in a traveling Carnival, complete with olde time soundtrack and a counselor riding a real horse into the Hollow! As is tradition our Juniper girls put on a fantastic choreographed dance routine, and then all of the Senior campers took part in husking the fresh corn that had just arrived from a local farm. And then the Carnival began!
What a night to remember at Camp! Tonight our campers demonstrated every skill that we work on during the summer. In performing in front of their friends they took healthy risks, and received positive feedback and overwhelming support in response. They were in charge of selecting their songs and arrangements, and put together their own bands, flexing creative muscles that many didn’t even know they had. In their band practices and on stage tonight we saw many of them take on meaningful leadership roles. We also saw them learning how to collaborate as a group, and how to take in the opinions of others without compromising their artistic visions. We also had 49 different acts where campers worked on a project over the course of five weeks, and saw it through with a glorious finish. What an incredible night!
It was another beautiful, sunny day at camp in NH today. Everyone in Kenwood was on campus, as was most of Evergreen. I spent my morning walking around from activity to activity, happy to watch all of the great fun that our kids were having. My first stop was in the film making studio, where a group of our girls were busy putting the finishing edits on their submission for the 6th annual Film Festival, which will be this coming Monday evening. The videos that I saw involved sophisticated use of the green screen, complicated edits, and even a separate sountrack!
For many of us here music and Camp are deeply connected. Most of us eschew wrist watches in favor of marking the milestones of the day with bugel calls and Assembly music. When I was a camper one of my favorite aspects of each summer was living with new bunkmates who had different musical taste than I did. On rainy days when we were hanging out in the bunk we would take turns playing different songs for each other. I also have vivid memories of my counselors (including Scott) playing classic albums by the great bands that I had never heard of, and instantly becoming a fan of whole new styles and genres. It's part of the learning that takes place here every summer.
I've spent almost every summer here since the Reagan Administration, and I have to say that today might have been the single most peaceful day that I have spent at Camp in all that time. Truly, and this was a common sentiment. Throughout my day campers, counselors and administrators kept asking each other "why is today such a perfect day at Camp?" The phrase that constantly ran through my head was the line from the Eagles' song "a peaceful, easy feeling".