Daily summer camp activities are great. They help you become a better artist or athlete or swimmer, and are often lots of fun. But at our overnight camp in NH we also get to do wild, crazy, ridiculously fun things that you just can't do anywhere. Things like this:
The weather was glorious today. Hot, a little humid, and not a cloud in the sky. Everyone was looking for a reason to be in the lake or get wet. About half of the camp was out on trips today to beaches and outdoor swimming areas, but our Kenwood Freshmen and Sophomores were here. And as lunch was ending you could hear them starting to groan a bit about the hour of rest period in the bunks that was coming. Little did they know the fun that was in store...
After hanging in the bunks for about five minutes they heard an announcement over the PA system. "Would the Kenwood Freshmen and Sophomores please report to the field of dreams...in bathing suits". A little confused but happy to be on the move, they made their way up to the end of campus.
When they got there Head Counselor Walshy and the Maintenance team had a surprise for them: the Camp fire truck was in operation, and it was time to cool off with a dance party. For about 45 minutes the sirens flashed as they shot a torrent of refreshing, cold water into the air while a particularly good Grateful Dead concert played in the background (Great American Music Hall, August 13, 1975). Everyone danced and laughed and had such a great time cooling off together. It was a moment I imagine that the boys will remember for years to come...
Just like our girls this evening. One of our signature evening activities tends to make people smile the moment they hear about it: Jell-O Wrestling. For days our maintenance team has been working in a refrigerated trailer boiling, stirring and setting about 2,400 lbs of multi-colored gellatin. This afternoon they constructed a wrestling ring out of a huge inflatable pool and dozens of mattresses. Just after dinner Billy, Pete and Tex began hauling it over using the tractor. Barrel after barrel, they dumped jiggling cubes of blue, green, red and orange into an enormous pile.
When the entire girls camp arrived at 7:30pm they didn't quite know how to contain themselves. There was singing and cheering and pure excitement at getting to do something so silly. Starting with our youngest campers, groups of girls in bathing suits tentatively stepped into the freezing cold Jell-O for a few minutes of slipping and sliding. After almost 2 decades of running this event, tonight my wife Deena passed the torch to our Head Counselor Courtney Chaloff. Courtney did a fabulous job as the referee, and by the end of the night she was covered head-to-toe in multi-colored goop, and her stomach muscles hurt from laughing so hard.
Tonight was an incredible event for the girls, and like so many things here, could not have happened without the love, creativity and support of our maintenance team.
I've heard it said at many other camps that the kids and counselors fear the maintenance department. Often, they are run by a grizzled, grumpy old guy who spends his day in "the shop" avoiding interactions with the kids. That's not how it is at our overnight camp. Our Maintenance Team loves being a part of our community, and gets such a thrill out of helping our campers have special moments like Jell-O Wrestling and dancing at the Fire Truck. This is yet another way our camp community is really fortunate. Many thanks to Pete, Billy and Tex for all of the love and care they give our camp.
Every day of our 7 week overnight camp experience is filled with special moments like we had today. That they take place with camp friends who know, love and support you makes them that much more special.