During each session, Susie Ma’am and I will meet with every cabin for one hour. Susie Ma’am’s sessions are called “Friendship Games”, while mine are called “Man Cave”. The campers ask if they are the same or different. This question has led to a fun inside joke.


Man Cave legoJPG


I tell the boys that the sessions look similar, but have subtle differences.

  • The girls have snacks (Doritos and Oreos), while the boys get munchies (Oreos and Doritos). I think you can see the subtle difference.
  • It might appear that both get slushees, but there is a small difference here as well. For the girls, they are “drinks”; the boys get “beverages”.
  • The girls chat, the boys talk.
  • Perhaps the most important difference regards what we sit on. The girls gather on the ground on blankets while the boys sit on animal skins DISGUISED as blankets. I tell the boys that this is from the “Tie Dyed Wildebeest of Lower Tanzania”.




The older boys understand that I am kidding, but the youngest campers seem to really see a difference.


There actually are some differences and I will spend the rest of the blog explaining them.


In Friendship Games, Susie Ma’am passes out cards that are cut into two. Each girl finds the person that has the other side of her card and then spend time asking questions. She wants the girls to work on their listening and friendship skills.




This year, she has created a clever variation. She is inviting the 7thand 8thgrade cabins to join her when she has the 1st-3rdgrade cabins. She then pairs the girls into big and little sisters. The older girls love having a younger camper that they can connect with and the younger girls adore having a new sister.


With the boys, I want to have them work on their creativity and their public speaking, so each camper makes a design using a Lego kit and then explains it to the group. For the younger campers, the assignment is to make a model of their favorite activity at camp. For the oldest campers, I ask them to make a model of collaboration or kindness.


I also include a short “educational” segment. I explain that campers love Man Cave, but that they have one complaint – they wish it were more like school. Yes, they crave more academic content. The campers look at me like I have two heads. I then offer two brief lessons, one in history and one in math.


History: I tell them the “history of the Man Cave”. In it, I explain why we created it (so that we can spend time with all campers and not just those who might need some help). I also tell them about the animal skins versus the blankets in this segment.


Math: I show them a Double Stuf Oreo and ask a simple question, “If a normal Oreo equals 1 cookie, what how much is a Double Stuf Oreo?” Usually, the initial guess will be 2, but they will soon agree that the outside of the cookie is the same, so that it is probably 1.5 cookies. I then share the following, “We put the cookies into an advanced cookiescope and found that it is a little more than 1.57 cookies. So if one Double Stuf is 1.57, what is TWO Double Stuf Oreos?”


I have been impressed that every cabin has at least one camper that does the math rather quickly: 3.14.


“And what is 3.14?”




“Yes, this treat is cookies AND PI!”


Every camper then takes “Pi cookies” and no one ever complains about the academic content of Man Cave again.


Steve Sir