It's the start of our 16th annual, totally amazing Senior Camper Winter Weekend at our summer camp In NH! At 11am this morning the journey began, and it always feels to me like a trip on the Hogwarts express. About 70 Kenwood and Evergreen campers and counselors and I boarded a private Amtrak train car at New York's Penn Station and headed north. I loved watching how it literally took seconds for our kids and staff to get back into "camp mode". Everyone was hugging and laughing and kind to each other, and it felt like Kenwood and Evergreen even though we were standing in the middle of an NYC train station.
Camp friends so happy to be back together again!Before we had even left we had our first suprise. A long time Evergreen counselor happened to be walking by, and her campers shreiked with delight when they saw her. It never ceases to amaze me how often members of our camp community run into each other (next week I'll be writing about two of our families who bumped into each other in Cambodia over break!).
When we arrived there were another 40 or so campers and counselors exitedly waiting to join us on our journey. Our camp community really loves being together, and people traveled from all over to be here. This year's Winter Weekend has campers and counselors from all over the United States, including Rhode Island, the UK, Maryland, Georgia, New Hampshire, Florida, and Virginia!
After the initial excitement died down we hopped on two chartered buses and made our way to our summer camp in NH. As we drove down the Camp road, even in the dark, you could see that the campus was covered in a lovely thick blanket of snow. Even with the leaves off of the trees and the grass completely covered, Camp looks really beautiful. As we stepped off the buses you could hear everyone taking deep, peaceful breaths, so happy to be inhaling the fresh clean air of New Hampshire.
Everyone settled into their heated cabins and then we sat down together for an amazing dinner. There was piping hot chicken parm, pasta with many different sauces, meatballs and a delicious salad. Because of our camp's commitment to providing safe, delicious meals for everyone, we also had gluten free pasta, chicken parm, and salad for our GF eaters as well.
Afterwards, we all put on our warmest clothing and headed to our soccer field called the Hollow for some late night sledding. The Hollow has outdoor stadium lights on it, and is a massive, incredible place for sledding. Many campers went down on sleds, and a few chose to body surf with...relative success. You should have heard how happy and excited every one as they went on dozens of sledding runs. Earlier today our fabulous Maintenance team spent a few hours building a snow fort massive enough that it comfortably fit about a dozen campers and staff!
Then it was back to Cypress Lodge to warm up with some hot chocolate and snacks. We had some olde school fun, playing all sorts of games, including Monopoly, Uno, Connect Four, Heads Up, Ping Pong, Foosball, and more. There was tons of laughter and happiness. It just a great night in New Hampshire with our camp friends.
As we made our way back to the cabins I took a group out to watch the night sky. It's really one of my all time favorite things to do at Camp during any season. With almost no electric lights on for miles, and in the crisp night air, they were amazed by how vibrant the stars were. I was able to point out the planets that were visible to the human eye, and a few constellations as well. We even saw one shooting star which was a major hit with all of them.
Now everyone is back in their warm and toasty cabins, taking hot showers and getting ready for their first night back at our summer camp in NH in months. It's so wonderful to see how quickly our campers are able to reconnect with each other and resume their deep friendships. I know that I speak for all of our Camp's leaders when I say how lucky we feel to be a part of such a loving, caring, meaningful community.
More updates tomorrow, both here and on Facebook!