Welcoming younger siblings to our overnight camp with a Rookie eventJuly 25, 2015
This is a very special weekend at our brother-sister overnight camp. On Sunday we will welcome our parents, grandparents, siblings, and even cousins for our annual Visiting Day. Today more than 40 of our campers’ younger siblings joined us for our first annual Rookie event. This day was all about helping our future campers truly experience what makes our community so special, and officially welcome them into our summer camp family.
Just after 1pm dozens of our rookie campers arrived at the camp gate. You could see that they were all mostly excited, and just a bit nervous. We quickly helped them get over their nervousness by having them participate in a series of name games and ice breakers, and then a massive game of kickball that also included their older brothers and sisters.
From there our boys headed with me to the waterfront for some tubing and swimming on the lake. Our girls gathered at the ropes course to try climbing up 60-ft trees and leaping off of our massive zip line. And then we switched.
While they were having a great time at these activities our counselors, my wife Deena, and I were on hand to help friendships form. As you can see from our photos it does not take long in this camp culture for children to start to make friends!
After that the future campers had a chance to play gaga, try archery, or get their hands a little dirty at the pottery shop. At the conclusion of that activity our current and future campers had a chance to spend some quality time with each other in their bunk areas.
After a great dinner in our dining hall we played fun games together in and around the Hollow, including frisbee, soccer, tennis, volleyball and football, and just enjoyed sitting in the grass enjoying a beautiful night together at camp.
In both camps our evening activity was a ceremonial campfire. Our older campers planned activities to help our future campers know how much they are loved here. In Evergreen they rolled out an actual red carpet and formally introduced each girl to the rest of the Evergreen sisterhood. In Kenwood next year’s Big Brothers introduced themselves to their potential Little Brothers, while our Junior boys taught their new friends the finer points of making s’mores.
It was an incredible day of fun and friendship, and you could see just how excited every future camper was as they prepared for bed. As I write this every Rookie camper is fast asleep. I am in the living room of bunks 4 & 5 and the snoring is deafening. The counselors and I are struggling not to laugh it is so loud but we don’t want to wake any of the boys up. Deena and a group of Evergreen counselors are in the basement of Cypress lodge, and apparently it is a similar scene.
Discovering that you and your new friend have the same stuffed animal makes sleeping away from home a whole lot easier!
We are so excited that such a huge number of younger brothers, sisters, and even one cousin joined us today. I can remember the first time I experienced the power of this community, and it changed my life. I saw similar moments happen dozens of times today and it made me so happy. We all can’t wait to spend more time with this group of kids during the fall at our Future Camper Gaga parties in Boston (Nov. 2) and Westchester NY (Oct 16). If you are interested in joining us for either please do not hesitate to email me!