When prospective families visit they often ask "do your campers go on trips?" and "do your kids have traveling tournament teams?" My answer is always an emphatic oh yes we do go on some amazing day and overnight trips...and we've got a ton of tournament teams!
Today was a big day in our overnight camp for trips, outdoor adventures and tournaments. Just after reveille woke us up Kenwood's 15 and Under Tri-State Softball team began its march through our campus. Stopping at each bunk area they did warm ups, sang their psych-up song, and put on a short demonstration for the younger campers.
This tournament is a pretty big deal here. Tri-State, as it is routinely referred to, is the oldest summer camp sports tournament in the nation. Banners going back to the early 1960's hang throughout our dining hall celebrating our winning teams. I played in this tournament as a camper, as have generations of Kenwood young men before. Evergreen has its own Tri-State tournament as well and it will be later in the summer.
Camps from far and wide travelled to play our oldest boys in this fantastic double-elimination fast-pitch softball event. For almost a month our campers have been practicing daily with Athletic Director Bob Mitchell and Assistant Head Coach Steve Silverberg. This morning they looked rested and ready.
As much as I asked they refused to smile
The team had a long, hard day out in the sun. First, they played Camp Birchmont. After jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead the other guys caught up with a few runs. Kenwood kept focused, and eventually pulled out a 7-6 win. From there they faced Camp Robin Hood, and thankfully our bats were strong. Final score of that game was 16-7.
After lunch and some time to rehydrate our boys faced Camp Winaukee. Now in his third full game, our pitcher Justin was unflappable. Batter after batter, he kept putting them over the plate, and when they were able to make contact our guys kept throwing 'em out. Our fielding was great, and with our bats were connecting, we dispatched this team as well. Because it was a double-elimination tournament we had to face Winaukee again. Justin was back on the mound for his fourth and final game, and his arm was strong. We also scored early and in the top of the fourth it was 4-1 with Kenwood in the lead. They scored two and we added on a few more runs as well. In the end their final batter hit a line drive shot to our pitcher, who stopped it and then eagerly ran it to the first baseman. And then it was all over. Our entire senior unit was present, and they began leaping up and down. There were hugs and high fives all over.
What impressed me most was that literally seconds after winning, our Kenwood boys did what they always do: they gave a thank you cheer to the other team, and then promptly formed a line to shake all of their hands. Afterwards, of course, the celebration continued, but each and every one of them remained a good sport. We are so proud of them for their determination, the skill that they showed on the field today, and for showing such character throughout the day.
But Tri-State was not our only tournament today. Just after breakfast the Evergreen 11's, 13's and 15's Tennis teams were on trips out of camp. Sadly, I wasn't able to see any of their matches, but when I caught up with their head coach she told me that they played their hearts out. She said that some of our girls lost their first matches (it was a single elimination event), but they never lost their spirit. Instead, they sat and cheered for our other players, hanging on their every point. And our girls who won did so while remaining kind to the players that they beat. In the end, our 11's and 13's made it to the semi-finals, and our 15's made it to the quarter-finals. A huge congratulations to our girls for their weeks of preparation, and for showing what Evergreen girls are made of while playing these other camps!
Our 12 and Under Boys' Basketball team also had a tournament today. Coach Caleb told me that though they lost both of their games, both came down to the final seconds. Our boys hustled until the end, and just saw a couple of baskets not go their way. So while they waited for the bus to pick them up, what did they do? They found a miniature golf course at the camp they were visiting and had a blast playing together. Way to find the fun in every moment, guys!
We had more than just sports tournaments out of Camp today. We also had some amazing outdoor adventure trips as well. The Evergreen 1st Year Seniors spent the day learning how to paddle board on the ocean, while our Evergreen Juniors went with Deena and Adventure Dave on a mile-long swim and paddle boarding trip of their own! They also collected wild blueberries and spent some time jumping off of rock cliffs. As they told me when they got back "that was pretty much a perfect trip!"
Earlier in the day Dave took some of our Evergreen Sophomores to Profile Falls, a 50-ft tall waterfall located a few miles away from Camp. As you can see, the girls were REALLY excited to go, and they all reported having an amazing time.
And yet, that wasn't all of our camp trips and outdoor adventures today. Juniper, Evergreen's oldest campers, were on day #2 of their white water rafting trip up in Maine. As soon as I have photos I will post them! In addition, after exploring a local river, our Evergreen Freshmen canoed to an island and are currently camping out under the stars. Before heading to bed they took turns cooking over and open fire, and even learned how to bake brownies by using a hollowed out orange as a baking pan and wrapping it in tin foil!
We squeeze a whole lot of fun and excitement into our days here at our brother-sister overnight camp. Our campers have the opportunity to step outside their comfort zones and participate in sports tournaments, outdoor adventures, and overnight camping trips. Part of what makes Kenwood and Evergreen such an incredible experience is the chance to explore the natural world around us, and the chance to experience how powerful it is to be a member of a real team.