Camp Spirit Comes In Many Forms at Kenwood and EvergreenJune 29, 2017
Today was one of those days where I kept saying to myself “our kids and staff really seem to love this place”. No matter where I went — activities, in the bunks, the kitchen, a soccer tournament — I saw the people in our community cheering, supporting one another, and simply having the best time together.
Just after breakfast I walked past these guys. They were the spirit managers of this year’s Evergreen 15 and Under Soccer Team, and BOY were they the right people for the job. From their outfits to their shining optimism to their incessant cheering at the tournament, their camp spirit didn’t waver for a second.
Here’s a :20 video clip that I shot of them about an hour into their non-stop cheering for the soccer team.
And they had a lot to cheer for. The team played their hearts out, running up and down the field with ferocity over 3 lengthy games. It was hot on the fields and they were playing some rather aggressive other squads. They truly played as a team, and they gave every bit of energy they had in the name of Camp Evergreen. We are extremely proud of their semi-final finish!
Back at Camp it was also a day of showing spirit and support for kids who might not be able to afford the summer camp experience.
It was also the annual kickoff of our Mickey’s Kids SwimAThon. Now in its 16th year, the Mickey’s Kids SwimAThon is a summer-long event at our brother-sister summer camp in NH. It raises money to help economically disadvantaged children receive the gift of overnight camp. Boys and girls at both waterfronts spent their morning swimming laps and helping out this wonderful cause. One 11 year old camper swim over 60 laps just today!
While Kenwood and Evergreen campers are not required to swim laps for Mickey’s Kids, children who participate and help to raise funds find the experience to be incredibly rewarding. They know that by participating, they are helping to provide a life-changing camp experience for children who may not otherwise have the same opportunity. In addition, at the end of the summer campers who swim the most laps in each unit will receive a special prize, provided by the Mickey’s Kids Charitable Organization. If your K&E camper is not yet signed up for the Mickey’s Kids SwimAThon please consider signing them up today!
RELATED: The Story of Mickey’s Kids
Today we also had our weekly picnic lunch. The Dining Hall team served us a delicious buffet lunch, and the entire community spent a wonderful hour sitting outside in the sun. This might be the single most popular meal of the week, and I don’t think it’s loved because of the actual food that we serve (though it really is quite good). Rather, our kids and counselors just love the chance to sit on the grass and eat together. Everywhere you looked people were having deep, meaningful conversations or just a really deep belly laugh. When you get to K&E you quickly find yourself making friends with people of all ages, and the chance to sit outside with your 8, 12, 15 and 21 year old friends while enjoying some quality deli sandwiches and pizza is just super special. It’s just another example of the Camp Spirit I saw throughout today.
This was also a somewhat strange weather day. When I woke up at 6am it was bright and sunny, but very cold. When I woke up the campers I announced that they needed to wear a sweatshirt to breakfast. By the time we sat down to eat it was 75 degrees out. As we approached lunchtime it was hot and muggy out. Suddenly, around 3pm dark clouds appeared and brought with them a sudden torrent of rain.
The boys in the picture below suddenly found themselves being pelted with a hard, warm rain, and they decided to show their Camp Spirit by making their time on the lake inflatables even more fun. They began to holler at the top of their lungs, celebrating a moment of pure (and soaking wet) joy.
Not to be out done by the stalwart attitude of the boys, our Sophomore Girls Unit Leader Mia announced to the Freshmen and Sophomores that regardless of the rain they were getting back in the water. They held hands, let out a wild, collective scream, and ran as fast as they could to dive head first into the water.
Both groups discovered a pleasant surprise: with the sudden drop in temperature and the warm rain coming down the lake actually felt warmer and nicer. What a great lesson in making the best of an unexpected situation, and how fantastic that they were open to the end result!
And then it was dinner. On this day each week of the summer most of our chefs have their day off, so our counselors cook dinner for the campers. Evergreen the Junior Counselors grill hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie patties and serve other treats like pasta salad, fresh watermelon and homemade chocolate chip cookies. The meal is served at the ceremonial campfire, and like the picnic earlier in the day, it’s a great time to hang out with friends. Everyone is just so happy to be together.
In Kenwood the different living areas have their own cookouts, and while the counselors cook the boys play games together like ping pong, can jam, frisbee, catch, chess, checkers and magic cards. When they aren’t grilling counselors bring out their guitars and jam and sing with the kids.
Tonight, as I approached the Freshmen/Sophomore Compound a big smile appeared on my face. The intro to the Grateful Dead’s “Samson and Delilah” was blasting across the lawn, and kids were even dancing to the it. Over in the corner a group of 10 year olds were unable to control their laughter as they read aloud a MadLib they had just worked on. Two boys were playing roofball on one bunk 6 while two others were playing wall ball on the side of Bunks 4 & 5. This could have been a Kenwood Cookout in 1995, 1985 or 1975. Delightfully, some things fit in any era.
It’s only been 5 days since our campers arrived and already they seem to get what this community is all about. Seeing it modeled by their counselors, they do their best to find the fun and meaning in every single moment. It’s why we see Camp Spirit just about everywhere we look!