A Peaceful, Easy FeelingAugust 1, 2013
I’ve spent almost every summer here since the Reagan Administration, and I have to say that today might have been the single most peaceful day that I have spent at Camp in all that time. Truly, and this was a common sentiment. Throughout my day campers, counselors and administrators kept asking each other “why is today such a perfect day at Camp?” The phrase that constantly ran through my head was the line from the Eagles’ song “a peaceful, easy feeling”.
Everyone was in a good mood. The chefs made homemade pancakes for breakfast, and there was ample hot chocolate on hand as well. At each assembly I made sure that we listened to some different, funky tunes. Today’s playlist included Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round In Circles“, Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Raggae Woman“, “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” by Wilson Pickett and “Stay With Me” by Faces. Music was also pouring out of the bunks, the lodges, and even the activity areas. All day in Ceramics Andy was playing different tracks by The Doors, and the kitchen staff blasted Beatles music in between meals as they cooked and cleaned. People were popping their heads and doing little dances as they moved from place to place. There was an awesome groove to the entire day.
Just after breakfast our Juniper girls headed north for their big trip to Montreal. Evergreen also sent its 11-and-Under Soccer team on the road and our girls proudly came home with a second place finish. Scott and the Kenwood 2nd Year Seniors’ expedition on the rapids of the Androscogin River was in its second day, and word from the trip is that every canoe braved the fabled kayak course!
The Kenwood Freshmen also went on their canoe trip to Belle Island. After reaching their destination around lunchtime they spent the afternoon swimming and learning how to fish. After dinner tonight the counselors taught them how to hollow out an orange, fill it with chocolate batter, and make brownies baked in a campfire!
As I walked around Camp I saw counselors and coaches doing all that they could to make today’s activities extra fun, extra special. At the Kenwood Waterfront the staff came up with a creative idea to make swimming laps more fun: they turned it into a massive relay race. As you can see the boys LOVED it, and worked on their strokes while they were doing it.
I was fortunate to spend time with our Sophomore boys as they took part in a great tennis lesson, and with our girls as they played their hearts out in street hockey.
Towards the end of the afternoon Courtney and I sat in the waterski boat as multiple Evergreen Juniors tried waterskiing and wakeboarding. We watched and cheered as one girl tried and fell, then tried and fell again, and tried a third time. The instructor asked if she wanted to stop and she made it abundantly clear that she was not giving up. On her fourth round she got up and stayed up, and made it all around the lake. We were so proud of her tenacity!
As I was leaving the Evergreen waterfront a group of Sophomores asked if I would give them a ride back to their lodge on my golf cart. The young lady in the picture below was seated next to me. She had been giggling before she sat down, and as we drove her laughter grew louder and louder until she screamed “this is the best day of my life!” That’s what today was like wherever I looked.
The music building was buzzing all day with bands and ensembles putting the finishing touches on their acts. Saturday is our 13th annual music festival called “Hollowpallooza”, and currently there are 37 different camper bands slated to perform!
With the entire community in such a good mood I decided to try something that I have wanted to do for a few weeks now. After lowering the flag during dinner assembly I ran around in a circle with my video camera and simply announced to the crowd “be silly!”. This is what I captured.
Kenwood’s evening activity tonight was Hobby Night. Campers had all sorts of options, including archery, bocce, basketball, tennis, music, arts and crafts, ceramics, magic cards, woodshop, batting cage, lacrosse, tubing, fishing, and cooking. A group of very excited Juniors took part in their first cooking class of the summer. They experimented by creating their own recipes that included different candies, extracts, fruits, and sauces. Some of them were amorphous, gritty and not too pleasant, while two of them were the tastiest cookies that I’ve had in a long time. Regardless, they loved the adventure and ran back to their bunks with trays of samples to share with their friends. One young man said to me “so for my first time every cooking or baking I’d say that this was a big success”. Well said.
The Ropes Course was open tonight, and campers of many ages were racing up the trees to jump off of our new zip line. This young man barely hesitated before leaping off and screaming with joy as he raced almost 100 yards across!
Tonight in Evergreen we had yet another amazing Mia creation: the Eurovision Songwriting Contest. Each lodge of girls gathered in their living room with specific instructions on what sort of song they were to create together. Over the course of an hour the girls strategized, collaborated and hashed out lyrics, rhythms and melodies that they then performed in front of the community. It was all great, silly fun, and a fantastic time was had by all.
I really loved today and will remember it fondly for a very long time. Most of all I will remember the beautiful energy that characterized each and every interaction I had or saw with the other members of our community. Today was definitely a day of peaceful, easy feelings.