July 8, 2019
For 54 summers, Camp Champions’ campers have participated in the Lake Swim. We had our second Lake Swim of the summer this morning. Our oldest campers (Girls cabins 1+, 1-5; Boys cabins 1-6) woke before 6:30 and swam across the lake and back.
For a few campers, this is a chance to show off their swimming skills. We have seen some impressive times from skilled competitive swimmers.
But for most campers, the Lake Swim is not a race, but a personal challenge – a task that seems daunting and perhaps out of reach. As a result, completing the Lake Swim brings with it a great sense of accomplishment.
The Swim is “challenge by choice”, so no one is required to swim. But we were delighted that all of our boys swam and only a few girls opted out.
Those who swam are exhausted, but proud. I sense a little swagger (or is that the lost sleep) and confidence.
They will go to bed tonight knowing they are more capable than they thought they were last night. Every 24-hour period should be as rich.
I will share a brief description of the process. We line the lake with rows of kayaks manned by lifeguards. These kayaks create two lanes – one outgoing and one incoming.
We also have Leadership Team members on wave-runners and ski boats. These boat teams help keep the kayaks in line as well as providing additional help. For example, a few campers choose to swim part or all of the challenge in a life jacket. If they want to add – or lose – a life jacket, the wave runners facilitate that.
They also patrol the lake to make sure no other boats come within 200 meters of the swim. Luckily, we are in a part of the lake that is rarely used. Typically, we will only see one fishing boat every 3-4 days. [Note: July 4thweekend is quite busy, so we alter our schedule to assure that our water activities are all within our private Swim Bay. But beyond that one weekend, we essentially have the lake to ourselves.]
This summer’s Lake Swims, however, are unique in our history. In the past, we would have the boys and girls swim on separate days. Three weeks ago, our boys’ Lake Swim was cancelled by a rouge thunderstorm from 5:15-8:00AM. After looking at the schedule, we concluded that there was not a great time to reschedule this swim.
Our answer was to have the boys and girls swim on the same day. We sent the boys our first and then had the girls follow them 10 minutes later.
This session, we have an unusually large number of older campers, so we realized that needed to run 4 heats. The logistics were challenging, but everyone did an amazing job.
Perhaps the best part of the combined Lake Swim was the meaningful increase in lifeguards. We could have 100% of our lifeguards (both men and women) in kayaks – over 40 in total! We have never had better coverage.
So please know that we have a camp full of older campers that will have NO trouble sleeping tonight. I know that I will sleep happily as well.
PS I took the opening photo before the Lake Swim from the Swim Bay looking back to the East. We get to see many wonderful sunsets, but the occasional sunrise is extra special.