This really is the best weekend of the entire year!
We live for this. As I wrote about in yesterday's blog, for 17 years we have brought more than 100 campers and counselors up to our overnight camp in NH for a special weekend in the snow. This is always our favorite weekend of the year, and yet for some reason this one felt extra special. There was a wonderful energy to this event from the moment we stepped aboard the train yesterday, and that hasn't diminished one bit!
Immediately after breakfast everyone put on their snow boots and warmest clothing and headed outside for some winter fun. The lake was frozen solid, so it was perfect for playing hockey, ice skating, and ice fishing.
Scott and I took a group of campers on a long hike around the lake, and along the way we got to talking about their favorite moments in their overnight camp careers: favorite overnight trip, favorite building on campus, favorite counselor and more. Part of what makes this weekend so special is how much time we all get to spend with each other getting that much closer to one another.
The snow is pretty deep right now, and it was the perfect texture for sledding. On the hill onto the Junior Ball Field our campers and counselors got in dozens and dozens of runs. Deena, Walshy and I stood at the bottom of the hill and marveled at how happy our kids were to be back together. They were goofy and silly and laughing and just so living in the moment. Even after months apart, scattered all over the globe, their friendships were as strong as the day camp ended in August.
All day a group of campers and counselors tended a bonfire that they started just after breakfast. Built just at the edge of the lake, it was always there to warm us up before going back out for some more fun. And just like all good campfires today it was the home for silliness, goofy conversations, and a whole lot of laughter.
For lunch we gave everyone a treat and ordered pizza and salads from a local restaurant that our whole community loves. As with every other meal we serve here, everything was peanut and tree nut free, and there were delicious gluten and egg free options for anyone who has a dietary sensitivity.
At every Winter Weekend we send our kids home with a fun gift made just for this special event. We've given out K&E hats, gloves, scarves and even pajama pants. This year Head Counselor Walshy come up with some we thought was extra fun, and the kids got really excited about them: super long, goofy, warm K&E soccer-style socks!
After lunch we all put our warm clothes back on and went out for some sledding and hockey. Around 2pm it was time for an annual event I like to call The Bob Mitchell Winter Football Classic. Bob has been our athletic director for almost 2 decades, and he is one of the most beloved members of our leadership team. Each Winter Weekend he brings our boys, girls and counselors together for a football game. It's one of the highlights of the entire weekend, and in true K&E fashion everyone tries their hardest, and yet no one cares at all about the final score.
This year we had so many people interested in playing the Mitchell Classic that we had to divide into three teams, with each team rotating in and out so that everyone who wanted to had a chance to participate. And as is always the case here, when they were playing everyone was on the sidelines watching and cheering for their friends!
After the football game we all went inside to warm up and put on dry clothing, and then headed to Cypress lodge where we played cards, foosball, ping pong, a whole load of card games, and watched some of the NFL playoff games. Afterwards people headed back to their bunks to shower and change up for tonight's dinner, which was a Mexican fiesta.
And then came tonight's big surprise: LASER TAG! We hired a company that brought in laser guns, and they set up mirrors and inflatable obstacles all over the Hollow. For a couple of hours different groups of friends ran around in the dark chasing each other and laughing hysterically while they played a modified version of Capture the Flag. A seriously good time was had by all.
Once we had finished the final round of laser tag the whole community gathered on the Evergreen beach for a celebratory fireworks display. For about 15 minutes David, Courtney and I launched them into the sky to the sounds of ooh's and aah's, and then a whole lot of applause.
The last event of this jam-packed winter weekend day was celebrating the birthdays of five of our camp friends. Having your birthday at camp is always really special, and for these guys and girl born in January that can only happen during this special event. We had a huge cake made for them, and they got a big birthday serenade from all of their camp friends. And yes, so that everyone could join in the celebration Deena baked gluten free, egg free cupcakes as well!
Now we are all back in our cabins, settling in for the night. Tomorrow we'll wake up and try to get in a few more sledding runs and laughs with our camp friends before this magical weekend is over...
But we'll be back together with our camp friends very soon! On Saturday, January 28th, our brother-sister summer camp will be hosting a reunion at the Chelsea Piers in Stamford, CT from 5:00 - 7:00pm. This is going to be a fantastic and fun event with indoor soccer, a trampoline room, rock climbing, gymnastics, and more! We'll also be showing a preview of our overnight camp's Summer 2016 Video Yearbook, and serving dinner. As with all Kenwood and Evergreen events, all of our food will be peanut and tree nut free, and we will have safe gluten free options available as well! We'll also have our first-ever Camp reunion in Florida on Saturday, February 22nd in Fort Lauderdale.
Then, in May, we look forward to bringing all of our new campers together for our new camper parties in the Boston and New York areas. For more details on these events please click here!