July 16, 2015
This is a truly special day. OK, I realize I say something like this a lot. After all, even a normal day at camp is pretty special. But today is special-special. Everything is a little different; unique. Let me give you the lowdown.Some campers started at 6:30 with Breakfast Ride, where they ride all morning after cooking their own breakfast. The picture is from the ride. Horseback riding through the beautiful hillcountry trails is one of the many benefits of a central Texas summer camp.
For the entire morning (4 hours), we will have All Camp Super Camp Fun Day, which provides the campers the option to go to whatever activities they want. For the past 3 weeks, your children have developed favorite activities and today they get to finish the summer with the ones they like the most.
At this juncture, I would love to mention one activity that we introduced this summer that has been a real surprise favorite: slack-lining. Slack-lining involves walking on a 1.5-2 inch nylon strap that is strung between two trees about 2-3 feet off the ground. It looks like tight-rope walking, but is easier. You can begin by walking with helpers at your side to steady you while counselors sit on the strap to stabilize it. The next step is to try with helpers but with a shaky line. The final challenge is to walk without help (but with spotters). I know this does not sound exciting, but we have an enthusiastic counselor from Minnesota who has a passion for this and has made it cool. We will have 2 or 3 lines going this morning.
After lunch, we will have an ice cream party for the Tiger Club. The Tiger Club is for campers that decided to bring a friend to camp or hosted a house party in the off-season to introduce friends to camp. We so appreciate parents and campers that refer other families. We can control so many aspects at camp (who we hire, how we train our staff, what we build, the activities we offer, the philosophy we espouse), but the one part of camp that we have less influence is new campers. We so appreciate current camp families that see us as “partners in the parenting process” that refer other like-minded families. The Tiger Club is a tiny way we can thank families that share camp with friends.
At Treat Time, we invite the youngest campers to the OCP (Outdoor Cooking Pavilion) for “Cookies for Rookies (and Minis)”. We tell them that we are so proud of the 6-9 years olds that braved three weeks of camp (some of them first time campers!) and we want to give them a bonus treat. Also, the little ones consistently put a smile on the Leadership Team’s face – they are cute and they consistently say wonderful things (see the quote from yesterday’s blog).
In the afternoon, we have a beach party for the camp. This is a wonderful – and cool – way to wind down the day. While most of the camp is there, the 11th graders who are graduating from the Senior Camper program will come to our house for a special banquet. Earlier this week, they went on a three-day retreat into the Davis Mountains and wrote personal mission statements. The statements are not about what they will do, but who they will be and what they will value. Tonight after the banquet, each graduating member of the Senior Camper program will read his or her mission statement to us in our home. This is one of the most poignant moments of each session. I inevitably get misty-eyed. We have watched so many of these campers grow and it is deeply moving to see the adults they are becoming.
At Torchlight, we will have the “World’s Greatest Counselor Skits,” an invaluable part of summer camp jobs. And it is a complete misnomer. We will have skits and they will be done by counselors. Whether they are great is a matter of debate. They certainly are not “the world’s greatest”, but I can promise that they will be the greatest your children will see tonight.
After Torchlight, we will have another fireworks extravaganza.
After the fireworks, every cabin will enjoy a pizza party and next-to-last nightly ritual.
After all of that, they will happily collapse for a full night sleep before our last full day at camp.
Like I said above – a truly special day.
P.S. On a personal note, our 18 year-old twin sons return today from a 6 week trip to Costa Rica. I share this because we want you to know that we understand how much you miss your children. Each of our 4 kiddos attend Camp Champions, but also attend another camp or take a long challenging trip each year. Last year, our 16 year-old daughter spent a month in Grenada, Spain. Our youngest (14) will spend a week in San Francisco, 3 weeks in Minnesota and a week at a family reunion. But the big news is picking up the twins after 6 weeks off.
The boys will be helping at camp for the last 4 weeks. [Note: I realize that I just called them “boys”. They are 18 and are taller than I. They are men, not boys. Old habits die hard.] They attended counselor orientation this summer in late May/Early June and they fell back in love with camp as if for the first time. As a result, our texts from Costa Rica were basically, “lovely here, improving Spanish, counting days until we return to camp”. They are not looking to come home to our house, they want to rejoin this troupe of counselors.
It is enough to make a camp director-parent proud. Looks like I am going to get misty-eyed twice today!
Want more like this? See: http://blog.campchampions.com/should-my-child-bring-a-friend-to-camp