Today was another day that reminds me that camp life is odd.

I have changed clothes 3 or 4 times (flagraising=Trojan/Spartan shirt; Trojan/Spartan canoe race required a swimsuit; dry clothes after the canoe race; costume for the dance). That is silly (and not uncommon).

The afternoon found us talking with 40 10th graders and then 43 9th graders in our living room, about anything from how failure leads to success to how to improve self confidence. The truly odd part is that they were engaged, respectful, interactive and thoughtful.  That is not always the case with large groups of 15-17 year-olds.

At dinner, I watched a conga line snake through the Fillin Station.  We have made a fun improvement this summer that I wish we had made years ago.  On dance night, we ask campers to arrive at dinner in their dance costumes.  We have a play list and the campers sing and dance as they eat.  [Note: the unexpected comment of the evening came from the smallest camper at camp – a young man 6 years old.  He was carrying cups from his table as part of his clean-up duty. Looking slightly serious, he opines, “Steve Sir, too many campers dancing.  Not enough campers cleaning.”  That, my friends, delighted me to no end.]  The costumes-to-dinner idea is doubly helpful.  In addition to creating a time of excitement and fun, it also helps us start the dance 30 minutes earlier.  So we have a full dance AND a full night’s sleep.

After dinner, Susie Ma’am dashed into our kitchen with a large bucket.  She quickly filled it with ice and headed back to the carport.  I heard her say something about the bunnies. 

Apparently, the bunnies are cool weather bunnies and were not enjoying being left outside.  Susie Ma’am was creating an ice bath because one of the rabbits seemed to be panting. 

Yes, she gave a bunny the same treatment you give a linebacker after a hard game of football.

The dance was typically silly and grand. I returned home to get ready for our weekly counselor meeting.  This is one of my favorite traditions at camp.  Every Wednesday, we put the campers to bed and have a counselor meeting between 10 and 11 PM. 

[Note: the campers, who are all in bed, are watched by a combination of our Leadership Team and 55 Senior Campers, so everyone is safe.] 

At the meeting, we focus on our mission and gratitudes. Counselors give “shout outs” to each other and we recognize the three outstanding counselors of the week: the tiger, tigress and activity tiger.  We conclude with a few short reminders of how important their work is. For example, I might tell them about the counselor that boosted my confidence when I was 8. He reached out to me 42 years ago. Without him, I do not fall in love with camp and Camp Champions is not the same camp it is now.

I do not know if my former counselor even knows I run a camp, but he did something in 1972 that has sent ripples through time and space.  I like to ask the counselors a simple question, “What will you do tomorrow that will send ripples through time and space 40-50 years from now?” 

So this odd day ends around 11. I am exhausted, but also invigorated.  


Steve Sir

P.S.  The bunny is happy, if not well-chilled.


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