While our weekdays are filled with almost 40 different fun sports, arts, waterfront and outdoor adventure activities, our weekends are all about special events that bring our brother sister camps together. This morning when our campers woke up and left the cabins they saw counselors all over the property dressed up as different famous cartoon characters.
Bob the Builder, Bugs Bunny, The Flintstones, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Rugrats, Dora The Explorer, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Thomas the Tank Engine, Jimmy Neutron, Tom & Jerry, Cat Dog, The Simpsons, Pokemon, Popeye, and the Smurfs...they were all there. And with this collection of teams it meant that today was Cartoon Mania, a new and amazing special event created by our Camp Leaders Jacki and Bob Mitchell.
Bob the Builder and his friend...Roberta the Builder?
This counselor's committment to his Rugrats character included wearing a makeshift diaper and sucking his thumb!
I'm not quite sure why these pink panthers had bunny ears but they still looked adorable!
It's easy to get into a camp special event when your counselor makes his own costume like this!
No comment necessary.
Yaba Daba don't you think these costumes are great?
While our campers were excited about the costumes and excitement of this event, what they didn't realize was the important 21st century skills learning that the Mitchells had infused into every activity today. I'll give you some examples:
This was my favorite activity of the day. Tarps were hung across one of our beach volleyball courts for the biggest game of Battleship that I've ever seen. Teams worked together to lob volleyballs over the barriers attempting to knock plastic bottles off of their "ships". With each "hit" or "miss" they then huddled together as a team to figure out whether their strategy was working, or if it was time to adapt and try something new.
And their strategies were often quite ingenius. Because they couldn't see the location of the battle ships on the other side they had to devise methods for discovering their locations. They also had to quickly come up with better ways to send the balls over the net, as a lack of precision might mean that they never found any of their targets.
I saw one young camper tell his teammates that they should focus specifically on sending the volleyballs over with a consistent amount of force, moving methodically from left to right. This quickly yielded results and made him a hero to his entire team. I saw one of our girls explain to her navy that by hurling the balls in a higher and more consistent arc that they would likely take out more targets. Again, she received high praise from her peers for figuring out a novel solution. And therein lies the beauty of these special events: game after game our campers had the opportunity to work on skills like creativity problem solving and analytical thinking while also just having a fun time with their friends outside on a beautiful summer day.
Another aspect of what makes an event like this so fun is it not only brings the boys and girls together, it also gives our campers of all ages a chance to work and play together. During this special event games like Battleship present our big kids a chance to be leaders, and for our younger campers to see qualities like kindness and active listening modeled.
There was also this game that Jacki and Bob called "Tire, Tire, Tired, I'm So Tired". It was essentially a relay race that involved pulling car and truck tires across a great length. As a William Blake fan, frankly, I thought it should be called "Tire, Tire Burning Bright", but I'm willing to let it go...
And then we broke for lunch. Chef Arnaldo and his team made us a delicious lunch that included hamburger sliders with guacamole, fried onions and fresh tomatoes. They were just soooo good.
Just after lunch we had a special visit from a beloved member of our Camp family. Army PV2 Jason Ramos grew up here as a camper along with his brothers, and recently he successfully completed reconnaissance training in the US Army. Suddenly having 24 hours of leave he contacted me at 6am today and asked "Can I visit Camp? I miss it!" You can imagine my response, and just a few hours later he was here. It was my distinct honor to introduce him to our campers, and as you can see they were beyond proud to learn that a member of our Camp family was making such a sacrifice. We cannot wait for him to return later in the summer and thrilled that he decided to spend his little free time with us.
When Rest Period concluded we were back out there playing our Cartoon Mania games. In this game called "Tank Commander" one half of the campers were blindfolded while their partners stood behind them guiding them without words. As they came close to an opposing team the "driver" would signal the front of the tank on when and in which direction to throw a foam "missile". Contact with the other team meant their elimination from the game, and a point for the successful tank team.
Like all of the other games this one had a hidden agenda. It helped build trust between the participants (often different ages or genders) but also required the duos to work on their non-verbal forms of communication. Some did really well at this and others, well, they laughed a lot and learned that this is a skill to work on going forward.
As George Harrison sang all good things must pass, and Cartoon Mania came to an end just before dinner. With so many teams the scores were all over the place, and yet the top two actually ended in a tie! This meant that we needed to have one last event to settle exactly who won. At assembly Jacki and Bob announced that immediately after dinner the head coaches of both teams would face off in one final game. The whole community turned out to the Hollow to cheer for them. While it appeared that one was the clear winner they regretfully did not listen carefully to the rules and were disqualified. A roar went up in the crowd and people spent much of the rest of the evening debating this final ruling by the judges. Because it's Kenwood and Evergreen everyone knew that this day was simply about having fun together, so no one was really bothered by the outcome of this final round of play.
Thus truly ended our weekend special event Cartoon Mania. For the evening activity our Junior campers gathered in the gym for a movie, while the Evergreen Seniors worked on their dance routines for tomorrow night's Lip Sync Night. The Kenwood Seniors played bingo and then finished off the night playing sports up on the Upper Fields. As is always the case here a good time was had by all.
Acka-lacka-ching to Jacki and Bob for working so hard to create this wonderful day, and for all of the head coaches and judges who made this special event so much fun for our campers!