June 24, 2018
On behalf of the staff and counselors at Camp Champions, let me welcome everyone that is joining us for our 52st summer of camping fun!
We have had a spectacular first half of the summer. We enjoyed our best counselor orientation ever and have had 2 3-week sessions that were utter joys. We are elated with the counselors we have this summer. They are a wonderful and varied bunch. We have counselors from every continent except Antarctica, but more importantly is that they are all committed to being here for your children.
We work for almost 10 months each year in order to enjoy the gifts of camp: the smiles, the hugs, the laughter and the opportunities for growth!
We know that this is YOUR session at camp and we cannot wait to share our excitement and love with your children.
Over the past 8 weeks (two of orientation and six weeks of camp), Susie Ma’am and I have watched counselors come together as a team. We have stressed the importance of safety (both physical and emotional) as well as fun. We also helped our counselors understand that they will be partners in the parenting process with you. Beyond focusing on safety and fun, they need to understand the specific needs of each camper and help them grow in these areas.
For our new camper-families, we say a hearty “welcome to Camp Champions”! We know that the first summer of camp is the most challenging for campers and parents, so we have created a team of counselors and directors to help all of you make this important transition. Their mission is to make sure that you and your camper feel valued, loved and cared for.
After you dropped off your children, they had a tour of camp and took their cabin and individual photos. The campers also collaborated and wrote their own cabin rules. We believe that campers behave best when they know that their ideas are valued and they have agency in their time at camp.
Every camper also spent time with their division (their age group) to learn their division “roll call” and play a few short games.
After dinner, the campers played “Grandma’s Gummies”, a silly run-around game with three primary goals - get the campers to know their cabinmates, let them have fun and allow them to burn off any excess nervous energy.
Apparently, Granny Annie’s Candy was stolen by some Umpah-Lumpahs.
Bassett Lumpah (Less feared than your typical Umpah-Lumpah)
In order to retrieve them, each cabin had to find counselors and acquire balloons that would enable Granny Annie to recover her lost treats. [Note: Admittedly, the logic and plot here is highly lacking, but this did not distract the campers from enjoying themselves.]
The winning cabins spun a wheel for a special treat - one cabin will get dinner behind our home here and the other was allowed to select any staff member for an ice water dunking.
Fun was had by all.
We then finished our first torchlight ceremony (I will explain this more in a later blog). We introduced our new campers and welcomed them. We took time to assure them that the odd traditions and songs will soon become familiar and loved. We also stressed that we are all delighted to have them join our camp community. We introduced our “Four R’s” (Respect, Responsibility, Reaching out and taking Reasonable Risks).
We love watching our returning campers reach out to their new friends and cabinmates. As my mom used to say, all campers have one thing in common on Opening Day – they all want to make new friends.
Now, your children are in their cabins. They are enjoying their first “nightly ritual” – a time for reflection, conversation and sharing. We started this tradition 6 years ago. Since creating it, we have found that cabins are more cohesive and happier with each other. They cultivate respect and gratitude.
The evening is cool with a nice breeze. The stars are winking at us. Simply stated, it is lovely.
Tonight, your children will sleep with their new friends and counselors. Tomorrow, we will wake at 7:30 and embrace our first full day of activities. It will be a full one, so we need to make sure that we all get a full night’s sleep.
We have made tons of improvements to camp since last year (as we do every year). I will share some of them in tomorrow’s blog. But always remember that camp is not about the facilities or the stuff, but it is about the role models. We like to say that we can run a very good camp on an acre of asphalt if we have the right counselor-heroes. Happily, we are not on an acre of asphalt, but instead have wonderful facilities and activities. But we never forget that ultimately camp is about the connections that campers make with their counselors and with their fellow campers.
Susie Ma’am and I have had the joyous pleasure to do this for 25 years. We look forward to a full night’s rest as well. After all, we need to keep up with a camp full of energetic campers!
I hope you enjoy this website. Enjoy the photos and take time to read the articles. We will provide you a nice one-way mirror into the life of camp. Some of these articles are new, but many are tried-and-true favorites. If you are a returning parent, please do not think we are getting lazy. Instead, we want to give our new families a chance to see what we value and what we are striving to accomplish at camp.
Until we see you at closing day – have a wonderful few weeks!
P.S. With kids at camp, this is a great time to do things you often do not have time for, like a date night or a visit with friends. We encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity.