Color War Day 5 (and a day of relaxing)August 14, 2013
We woke up this morning with Evergreen having completed their Color War, and Kenwood in the final day of its tournament. Our Evergreen girls woke up late and came to breakfast at a leisurely pace in their pajamas. Just after eating they left on a really fun trip to a local NH attraction. The girls were so happy to have this day to all be together, just hanging out, laughing, and having fun.
In Evergreen this is also a day referred to as “Juniper Day”. Our oldest Evergreen campers elect to spend the day in Camp, participating in all of their favorite aspects of Camp one last time: they spent the day doing basic activities like Arts & Crafts, Ceramics, Film, tubing around the lake, and sliding around in the Hollow on the muddy grass. They also spent a few hours happily learning to bake with Deena. I love that after all of these years, with days left in their camper careers, what they most want is just a little bit more time to be campers.
Today was Color War Day 5 for Kenwood, and we had a lot to do. In the morning our groups had their final team sports activities, with games of football, baseball, tennis, soccer, ultimate frisbee, and street hockey to play. In the afternoon we had our track meet. Campers took part in races like the 50, 75, 100, and 200-yard dash, and our marathon. Campers also participated in the long jump, shot put and high jump. As they finished their races the boys sat on the grass with their friends on either teams, cheering on everyone else who was out there trying their hardest. It was a great day for Kenwood athletics, as everyone participated, everyone contributed to his team, and everyone was a good sport. As we headed into dinner the difference between the two teams was a whopping 13.5 points.
And then came Song & Cheer. After 5 days of practice and preparation both teams were ready to show us what they could do. With great focus they walked into the theater and took their places. Their songs were at times fierce and funny and rousing and poignant. They employed complex foot stomping patterns and dance choreography and so many other clever ideas. And as they each sang their final song about their love of Camp, one by one, so many of our boys welled up with tears. The realization that we would soon be leaving this place for almost a whole year was very emotional for all of us. With the final songs sung the boys put their arms around each other for solace. It was very moving to watch.
The judges left to deliberate, and then we returned with our verdict. Scott stood at the foot of the stage and read off the winner of each song. It came down to the final song…which went to Maroon, which meant that they also won this year’s Color War. There was pandemonium in the theater for about 30 seconds as the Maroon team rejoiced. Then, as it always does, it became much more about us coming together as one big community. Counselors and older campers found their younger friends to hug and comfort and celebrate the start of the end of this glorious summer.
It is Kenwood tradition that immediately after Song & Cheer we bury a ceremonial antique hatchet. The hatchet is our symbol of Color War, and by placing it in the ground we acknowledge the end of this fabulous event, and our return to focusing on being one big camp of friends. Tonight the summer’s leaders were called up to prepare the ground: the Color War Senior Captains, the Head Coaches, our Unit Leaders, and then our Administrators. Standing in the dark, lit only by torchlight, we then put our arms around each other and quietly sang Taps. Afterwards, the Kenwood Big Brothers took their Little Brothers back to the bunks to help put them to bed.
The Kenwood Seniors then headed off to the Gym to play bombardment, and the administrators went straight to the dining hall. As is Kenwood tradition, Bob, Walshy, Scott, Tex, Dr. Lachs and I fired up the grills, put on our aprons, and cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for all of our senior boys. We all really like spending time together, and it was fun to slice some tomatoes, fry up some French fries, and dance around as we blasted classic rock tunes. This year the theme of the music was “favorite covers“. Dr. Lachs and I spent the last few meals brainstorming ideas for tonight’s list. If you are interested, here it is. The file is somewhat large, but by downloading it you’ll have all of the songs we enjoyed tonight. And yes, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye is a cover. Gladys Knight recorded it first! After about a half hour of playing bombardment the boys joined us for a big post-Color War celebrating. A very good time was had by all.
This is also a night that we remember Dr. Randy Margolis, our good friend and beloved, long-time Camp Doctor. Standing behind the grill after Color War was his favorite moment of every summer. He has been gone for 6 years now, but I still put up a framed copy of his picture on this night to help remind us all of our dear, departed friend.
Tonight was a very special night in Camp Kenwood. We are proud of our boys for how hard they worked this past week. We are proud that they gave their all in every game and in every event. And we are most proud that throughout the tournament they never lost sight of what we believe to be most important: that above all else we are friends and brothers.