Camp Spirit Ideas and Information For New Campers and ParentsJanuary 20, 2015
At our summer camp in New Hampshire we know that many first-time campers and parents are an ever changing combination of excited and nervous. That’s perfectly natural, and something we have a lot of experience helping with. One thing that we’ve learned is that it’s important to provide new families with tools to help them both prepare for their first overnight camp experience, and give them real insight into what it’s like to be a member of our camp community.
A common question we are asked by campers is “what will I be doing during free time?” In an age of constant connectivity, many campers wonder what they will be doing when their mobile electronic devices are at home for the summer. Recently, I wrote about two games that our boys and girls love playing when they aren’t at regular activities: Magic: The Gathering and Sleeping Queens. If you aren’t familiar with these games I highly recommend checking out those two blogs!
These are not the only things that our campers do during free time. Many campers run around outside and play sports. We have big, beautiful, green spaces around each cabin, and every day of the summer campers are outside playing catch, ping pong, run-the-bases, wiffle ball, tetherball, gaga, and shooting hoops. They use free time to practice on our indoor and outdoor basketball courts, 11 tennis courts, and many soccer fields. They also love playing a game we call Roofball (I’ll be explaining that one in a future blog). Frisbee and Can Jam are also very popular (again, I’ll be explaining that one soon but here’s a link that will show you what it’s like).
But there’s another aspect of Camp life that I want to cover in today’s blog: team spirit. Our summer camp in NH is a very spirited place, and we participate in a lot of exciting games and special events throughout the summer. Parents of first time campers often asked me “so what clothing do my kids need for special events like Color War, or this thing I see on the calendar called Big Weekend…and are there other days that I might not even know about?”
Well, here’s the inside scoop on some of our popular special events, what your child might want to bring to Kenwood and Evergreen this summer!
4th of July
The Fourth of July is usually our first spirit event of the summer. We have a huge BBQ that evening, and then join together in the theater for an amazing performance by the folk singer/rock star Nancy Tucker. And then the kids and counselors hang out together on the Evergreen beach while we launch an amazing fireworks display.
At morning assembly on the 4th many campers like to dress up and show their national pride. Campers wear matching red, white and blue ensembles, Uncle Sam hats and beards, flag capes, and more. After raising the flag all of the campers and staff who wore something special that morning pose together for a group photo. Please mention this to your first time camper and see if he or she has any interest in participating. If so, great, and if not, please know that the majority of our community starts their July 4th morning wearing regular shorts and t-shirts!
This is a 2-day spirit event that takes place sometime before Visiting Day each summer. Both Camps (and both staff and campers) participate in a weekend of silly made-up contests and more traditional sports, dressing up in costumes, lots of cheering and singing. Together, Kenwood and Evergreen are divided into 6 teams that have a common, funny theme (types of breakfast cereals, American universities, comic book characters, etc.). This event culminates on Sunday night with an all-team event that involves a lot of singing. You will not know when Big Weekend is going to start – it’s a surprise!
Each team for this special event is represented by a color, and the players are asked to wear a t-shirt of that color during the 2 days. As it says on the online packing list, the colors we ask you to have this summer (since your child will be on one of these teams) are Black, White, Green, Yellow, Blue and Red. If your child already has a red shirt but it has a logo on it it will absolutely be fine for this event. We just need it to be of that color for when they are playing sports together, and so that their team is easily identifiable!
Campers of every age have the opportunity to participate in sports tournaments throughout the summer, including baseball/softball, soccer, tennis, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, and even archery! As fun as the many tournament days can be, we also love the more traditional “intercamp” events. Intercamps allow the kids in each age group the opportunity to play multiple sports in one day, as opposed to focusing on just one. Intercamps give more campers a chance to participate in more events, which is always the goal here.
Because so many of our campers enjoy intercamps we schedule one early each summer season for the entire community and call it Spirit Day. Both sides of our camp spend the day playing sports and having fun with the campers from another community. We all eat lunch together, get to know one another, and in some cases see friends from home. It’s sort of like having a tremendously large play date that focuses on sports, teamwork and friendship. There’s a ton of cheering and camaraderie, and it always makes for a spectacular event. The only thing that campers need to show their Camp spirit on one of these days is to wear one of our basic uniform shirts, which can be ordered through our online clothing catalog.
The biggest spirit event of the summer is our Color War. It takes place sometime during the 6th and 7th weeks of the summer. Like Big Weekend it always begins with a surprise event that we call a Break Out.
This is our favorite breakout in recent years.
Our girls’ camp wears green and gold/yellow, while our boys wear maroon/dark red and grey. Camp t-shirts are absolutely what the kids wear, and you can find those in our online clothing catalog. 2 of each color will be MORE than sufficient. K&E is not a fashion show!
Many campers like to accessorize their Color War outfits with all sorts of silly, fun accoutrements. Some sport colored wigs or fake mustaches while others wear tutus and a few strands of plastic Mardi Gras beads. In recent years we’ve also seen temporary hair coloring.
Yesterday, Deena and I went to our local Party City and found that they have basically anything you could want in CW accessories. To show her Camp Spirit she modeled some of her favorite green and gold wear. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE note that buying this sort of stuff is not a requirement at all. We also have bushels of it in the camp office for those who want to borrow it during this special event. But what we don’t want is for new campers to see some others wearing this sort of stuff and say “hey, I had no idea that I could do this to get into the Color War spirit!”
Our darling on-staff psychologist modeling the latest in Green and Gold accessories
We have so many incredible special events planned for this summer, and we can’t wait for our new campers to experience them for the first time! Check our blog each Tuesday when I will be writing about other aspects of our community, and providing new families with all sorts of insider information about life at Kenwood and Evergreen. Next week I will be highlighting the incredibly nurturing and intentional bedtime rituals that our counselors perform each night at our summer camp in New Hampshire.