Defining Cool on a Hot Day
The first full day of camp was a beautiful, busy day. A hot first night gave way to a day filled with warm sun and a strong breeze that set the stage for us to introduce people and systems alike around camp.
We had pancakes and bacon for breakfast while (re)teaching our KP procedures. The counselors led their first cabin cleanup of the summer while (re)teaching how to make their beds, organize their shelves, and share the responsibilities of communal living. And in the name of reteaching, we met with the Senior Village tonight to discuss how our expectations of camp relationships and behavior differ from those expectations that they face elsewhere in the world.
At its simplest, we have an opportunity to define “cool” at camp. If it looks the same as it does in their middle school or high school, we’ve likely failed. At camp, cool should describe kindness, empathy, a strong moral compass and the courage to act in defense of those values. I believe that our oldest campers and staff share a vision of creating that culture, and I look forward to seeing them actualize that vision.
Some of the simple ways we teach that with our younger campers is in our first Village Activity for the Juniors and Intermediates. For their village activity, they played games of continuous dodgeball. Continuous dodgeball is an every man for himself dodgeball game played on a big field. We play with the traditional dodgeball rules, so if you get hit, you are out, and if you catch a ball, the person who threw it at you is out. If the person who threw you out gets out themselves, you are back in. We play with large
groups, so there is never a winner. The twist is that if you get somebody out, you have to introduce yourself. (You are in a “safety zone” while you are in the process of the introduction.) With the help of the candlelight ceremony and some other games yesterday, the campers learned the names of everybody in their cabin. Today, with the help of this village activity, they start to learn the names of all the campers and staff in their village. Additionally, continuous dodgeball is a great introduction to our competitive philosophy. While no one wins continuous dodgeball, it is still important to give a full effort and have a great time while playing.
Our silliness showed as our banquet dinner saw the staff dress up in costume and dance to welcome the campers to dinner, and our amazing kitchen staff showed up in their onesies as well. And evening program, to cap off the beautiful day, was our first game of capture the flag.
To see pictures of all of the action, you can login to CampInTouch and click “Photos.”
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
– Nelson Mandela