After last night's amazing Color War break out this morning our campers were up and ready to play their hearts out in activities. Here's a quick video recap of the day's highlights:
Trying so hard to look serious at this morning's breakfast assembly
After breakfast Kenwood had its first event of the tournament: Find the Hatchet. Since our founding in 1930 one of the symbols of our boys' camp has been a ceremonial wooden and steel hatchet. It's wrapped in maroon and grey felt, the colors of the two teams in our boys' color war. Head Counselor David Walsh explained the rules of the game to our campers at the assembly area. Usually this event takes between 10-15 minutes, but a curious young man from Westfield, NJ walked right by where it was hidden and found it in a matter of seconds! For his efforts he earned his team the first 5 points of this special event and a whole lot of hugs and high fives from his peers on both sides.
Summer 2017 Maroon and Grey Head Coaches Justin Jacobs and Charley Keegan Kuss (from left to right)
All morning and afternoon campers were participating in all of the team and individual sports we have worked on over the last 6 weeks of the summer. During this first day of Color War our boys played games of hockey, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, tennis, archery and soccer. Tonight, after dinner, the teams played even more team sports.
Once Kenwood finished their activities our girls' headed out to begin their own Green and Gold events. Similar to Find the Hatchet, the girls have an event called Find the Colors. Each year my wife Deena gathers up strands of green and gold ribbon, binds them together, and then hides them somewhere on campus. This year the ribbon bouquet was located in the tree that was planted in Phyllis' honor back many years ago. It was also found in less than a minute by a young woman who attends the NEST+m school in NYC, and then our girls' teams were out on the fields to play some sports.
Summer 2017 Green and Gold coaches Nikki Silverstein and Harriett Fluck (from left to right)
After dinner Evergreen had its annual Green and Gold game of Capture the Flag. This is always one of the favorite events of our girls' Color War, and tonight was no different. Our girls really played their hearts out tonight, running, chasing, jumping and leaping to try and make it safely over the finish line, or tag their opponents to prevent them from scoring.
While Evergreen was playing Capture the Flag Kenwood's two teams spent the night playing more traditional sports. There was kickball, basketball, tennis, flag football, and hockey. As they made their way back to the bunks the boys all looked tired and happy from a good day of playing their hardest.
Throughout the day and night I traveled from game to game, enjoying how much effort each camper displayed on each field and court. It was powerful to see how much our boys and girls have grown as athletes and teammates this summer. I also loved that in the midst of this higher level of competition, I heard nary a word of negativity throughout the campus. Instead, I saw campers and coaches supporting one another, and always encouraging their teammates and friends to play at their best level.
This guy's become quite an archer this summer!
We spend the entire 7 weeks at our summer camp season helping our campers to become more skilled at the sports and arts that they love. And yet we also work extremely hard to help them grow to become people of character and good values. Our Color War, with its elevated level of competition, puts those values to the test. Campers often wonder: in the heat of these games will I be able to balance my commitment to my team, and also my commitment to being a good friend and good person? Today, wherever I went, I saw our campers ably doing both. I saw players fall on the tennis and basketball courts, and friends on the opposite team extend a hand to pick them up. I saw referees make tough calls and players immediately shake off any disagreements. After well-fought matches I saw players throw their arms around buddies on the other team and walk back to the bunks together.
As a camp director I'm so proud when I see moments like these, and they remind me of why so many campers look forward to this incredible special event each summer. Me, too.