Tonight, we are having a special event at torchlight: the Drum Café.  Susie and I saw this group last October and instantly said that they had to come to camp.  When I told other camp people about this idea, they all asked one simple question.


I would find myself unsure how to respond.  I could not give a clear programmatic or philosophical reason other than one.

“It is incredibly fun.”

The Drum Café features 4 drummers led by Dale Monin, an incredibly bright and positive guy.  They bring enough drums for every camper, senior camper and counselor to use.  They then lead us through 35 minutes of team drumming, playful rhythms and pure energy.

We had them here during orientation and they did some team-building for 50 minutes.  It felt like 15.  I had over a dozen counselors go out of their way to say “thank you” for their inclusion.  For your reference, it is a good week if you get 10-15 unsolicited “thank you’s” – so we knew we were onto something.

Since then, I have been looking forward to sharing it with the campers tonight.

What did we learn from this experience.

First, 500 people with drums can make some noise.

Second, campers (especially boys) love this noise.

Third, it takes very little to get everyone to drum together and be a team.  I marvel at how quickly they can make a huge group of independently minded children and young adults into a synchronized unit.

Outcomes I expect.

I am guessing that campers will list this as a favorite activity and it will become part of our regular rotation of activities.

I anticipate that some of our neighbors will not be all that happy with us.  Remember that part about making a LOT of noise?  Well combine that with the fact that sound travels with staggering efficiency over water and you have a lot of neighbors wondering whether an invasion is pending.

The Rookies and Minis might be a little slower to bed tonight.

I asked our videographer to make a short video of this event so that you could get a brief glimpse of the fun we are having.

All of this followed a themed dinner: Hero Gyros.  Some campers came dressed as superheroes.  Others jumped on the Greek theme and arrived in togas.  All of us enjoyed Lamb Gyros with tzatziki sauce.

Before that, we had our usual array of 6 activities with campers playing, swimming, climbing, shooting, laughing and learning.

In short, this was a full day!

Before I conclude, I want to acknowledge that some of our first time campers are leaving tomorrow.  We allow campers who have not yet attended 5th grade the option to sign up for 2 weeks instead of three for their first year.  We then give them the option to stay the third week if they want to (and their parents’ schedule allows for it).  Many of our campers took this option, but others will be leaving.

In my conversations with them, they are excited to see their folks, but they also told me their favorite moments from camp.  A few campers have been telling me each day that “this is the best day yet!”  Further, these guys are getting specific about what made that day spectacular.

So we will say farewell to them tomorrow.

For the rest of our families, we will be starting the final week of camp.  This is an odd week – it takes 7 days, but it feels like 2 or 3.  We will be enjoying some special events (2 Trojan-Spartan games, fireworks, Division morning, etc) and lots of favorite activities.  We look forward to seeing you in a week, but we will also enjoy every minute with your wonderful kiddos!

Until then, have a great week!

Steve Sir

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