June 10, 2018
On the weekends, we mix up our schedule a little bit. We get an extra hour sleep on both Saturday and Sunday and provide some variety to our schedule.
Let me give you a quick overview.
Yesterday morning, we gave the campers free choice to go to whatever activity they would like. including just sitting and reading or hanging out. The campers love the change of routine that enables them to do activities with campers of different ages.
In the afternoon, we had a “Beach Party”, complete with multiple inflatables. We converted our inflatable gaga pit into a foamy pit (see photo at the beginning of the article).
We had Hungry Hippos in the Parthenon (our outdoor gym).
And we had a massive inflatable that was taller than the cabins on stilts. This monstrosity was a huge hit with everyone.
In addition, campers played beach volleyball, swam, tried the Glob, went on the water zipline and enjoyed the new inflatables in the water (here is the hive and the hamster wheel).
After dinner (a delightful King Ranch chicken from our new Chef Travis), we had Trojan-Spartan initiation. We initiate every camper into one of our two tribes (the Trojans and the Spartans) and they will be in this tribe “for life”. The initiation is one of my favorite “magic shows”. I explain to the counselors that camp is like a magic show – it can look like a simple trick or it can seem mysterious and special.
During the Trojan-Spartan in initiation, they get to be magicians.
Lets take a moment to realize how silly this ceremony might seem. We are a group of people in Texas who are painting themselves with tempera paint, listening to music from Last of the Mohicans, yelling nonsense cheers and talking about being part of the Hellenic tradition of Sparta and Troy. On its face, this is almost ridiculous.
But when we do it right, it creates a wonderful effect for the campers. When the counselors put on that extra amount of paint, when one of our directors covers himself in red and blue to become a human “sorting hat”, when we add some drums and some campfires and we “hold the space” by being solemn, the campers feel like they are becoming part of something special.
And, as a result, it IS special.
Today, we will have our first Trojan-Spartan games. I look forward to seeing our newly minted warriors competing.
PS I should note that we stress two ideas immediately after the initiation. First, the campers are expected to compete with passion and enthusiasm, but also with sportsmanship and dignity. Second, when the games end, we are no longer Spartan and Trojans, but cabinmates and champions once again. I love the competition when we are competing, but I value collaboration more the rest of the time.