The Start Of The Back NineJuly 30, 2013
I always love our Camps’ Visiting Day. I get to see some of my favorite people! Yesterday we were blessed with wonderful weather and even nicer guests, as about 1,200 parents, grandparents and siblings of our campers’ arrived for the day. And while many of our kids were a bit nervous about saying goodbye to their loved ones, within only minutes of the final departure everyone (and I really mean everyone) was back to having a great time. There was silliness in the Lodges and great times everywhere you looked. Our Big Brothers and Sisters came down to spend time with their little siblings, and both the Evergreen Path and the Kenwood Compound were filled with laughing, smiling faces. A group of counselors put on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and put on an impromptu dance routine to make their campers laugh. It was a great time to be at Kenwood & Evergreen.
Just after dinner and a short Free Play our junior campers made their way to the Theater Tent to watch a movie. By nine o’clock everyone was in their bunks, and by 9:30pm every junior camper was in their bed on their way to sleep. As I walked from bunk to bunk I thought to myself “this is the nicest, calmest night after Visiting Day EVER!” I was asleep not long afterwards.
When I left my house at 7am today there were scores of campers standing on their porches, eager for the start of the back nine of the summer. Half of the kids skipped to morning assembly. You could see that any concerns about staying for the second half of the summer had disappeared. It was so great to see how happy everyone was to still have 3 more weeks of the summer together!
So after a quick bunk cleanup and inspection everyone moved out to regular activities. I saw counselors teaching campers how to catch pop ups and grounders, and how to make better contact when hitting the ball. I watched our boys’ head of basketball teach campers how to take a layup with their opposite hand. I also saw our Junior boys take part in one of the coolest tennis drills I’ve ever seen.
I sat in on a band rehearsal for this weekend’s Hollowpallooza music festival. The girls in the group were putting the final touches on their rendition of “Hey Jude”, and they were so excited to show me how much they had already accomplished this summer. While I was walking to the Archery range the Freshmen girls screamed “Jason – come quick! She just got her first bullseye!” It was hard to tell who was more excited, the shooter, or her friends who were there to support her.
From there I headed towards the Ropes Course. On my way, a group of Senior Girls rode past me in the midst of a mountain biking period. At the Ropes Course I watched a camper complete a traverse on one of our hardest elements (it had not been successfully crossed in 3 years, and TWO girls ended up doing it today!).
A bus of Inter boys was leaving campus so I stopped them to take a group photo. They were in a silly, giddy mood, excited to tackle their biggest mountain climb ever. They made it to the top in just over 2 hours, and sent me this wonderful photo that they took just after lunch. Afterwards they set up their campsite, made dinner and s’mores, and then spent the evening telling stories and listening to their counselors play guitar while sitting under a canopy of stars.
In the afternoon I was fortunate to watch some more terrific sports practices, including lacrosse, softball, soccer and baseball. Some of our girls also gave me a demonstration of the dance routine that they have been working on for their upcoming Dance tournament at another camp.
The weather was beautiful all day, so as the afternoon periods ended many campers lay on the grass and enjoyed the many picturesque puffy clouds in the late day sky. After dinner a surprising number of campers, new and veteran, chose to sit quietly with a friend and just chat. It was a day of fun, but also a day of contemplation. As I walked around Camp I frequently saw people discussing how happy they were to still be here, but also how proud they were for having made it through the tough goodbyes on Sunday.
There were many evening activities in Camp tonight. The Kenwood Seniors had their first-ever SuperTeams Capture the Flag tournament (SuperTeams is Senior Hill’s intramural sports league), with 4 different squads playing against each other in different rounds. It was intense and fun and they all walked off of the field drenched after some well-played rounds. The Kenwood Freshmen & Sophomores had a new and exciting event called “Relay Smeelay”, with each bunk participating in a 5-segment relay race in the Gym, while the Juniors had a Home Run Derby on the Evergreen ballfield.
Evergreen had one of its most raucous evening activities tonight: The Lip Sync contest. Each bunk selected a favorite song and then created a dance routine to go with it. Costumes were created, hair was styled, and all sorts of hilarity ensued. One of the biggest moments of the night was when the Evergreen Admininistrators surprised everyone by jumping on stage and shaking it to Shania Twain’s “Man I Feel Like A Woman”. Please note that Sheila would like parents to know that she just uploaded almost 380 photos from this event!
So we have officially begun the fifth week of the summer. A spectacular Visiting Day is behind us, and in our near future are incredible events like Hollowpallooza, the Drive In Movie, Carnival, the Film Festival, and of course, Color War. We will squeeze into the next three weeks as many special, hilarious, meaningful, poignant moments as we can. Welcome to the start of the Back Nine at Camps Kenwood & Evergreen!