Tonight we both created a new tradition and brought one back that had been gone for almost 2 decades. When our campers and counselors arrived at Assembly our Evergreen Head Counselor Courtney was holding up signs for each month of the year. Everyone was curious as she began handing them out to different campers and counselors whose names she had on a very long list. Then she began to ask everyone to form groups based on the month that they were born. Why? Because it was the return of "Birthday Night"!RELATED BLOG: Campfire traditions that create a deep sense of belonging and meaning
In the dining hall Courtney and Deena had placed signs on every table with the names of different months. Campers, bunk counselors, specialists and support staff were invited to change up their seating for this one meal and instead sit with other people who were born the same month that they were.
As I walked through the dining hall I heard friends saying to each other "I didn't know your birthday was close to mine!" and even heard a few "wait...we have the SAME birthday?!"
At the conclusion of the meal our baker Kristie wheeled out 60 different birthday sheet cakes she had made, 1 for each table. One by one, each group sang "Happy Birthday" to themselves. By the 6th rendition of the song the dining hall was filled with peels laughter at the silliness of it all. And because it's Kenwood and Evergreen all of the cakes were peanut and tree nut free, and there were gluten free and dairy free cakes for all of our friends who needed dessert without allergens!
Who wouldn't want to celebrate their birthday with their camp friends, even if it's still many months away?
We are always interested in creating different ways to help our campers and staff figure out what they have in common with other members of our community. Birthday night is yet another way to help our kids realize that they are a part of something special, and that they can easily make friendships and connections with people of different ages and even genders.
The return of Birthday Night is part of a new concept we introduced tonight to our campers. We're calling it "Anything Can Happen Thursdays". Borrowing the name from an episode of "The Big Bang Theory", the idea is that once a week our campers should expect the unexpected at Thursday dinner. It could be silly, it could be a far out meal concept we've never served before, and it could just be, well, ANYTHING! We've got a lot planned for the next 6 dinners, including Topsy Turvy night, turning the dining hall into a disco dance party, and maybe even a viewing of an important World Cup Soccer match. We'll certainly keep you posted.