When it rains our camp counselors host a raging dance partyAugust 4, 2015
Earlier in the summer I used our blog to answer an important question: so what do you guys do at your overnight camp when it rains? The short answer is that in the absence of thunder and lightning we play outside, and it’s fabulous fun. But there are moments in the summer when the sky rumbles off in the distance, and we have a totally different set of protocols. Tonight was one of those nights, and it helped us have a fantastic, memorable evening.
When we arrived at the dining hall there were lots of delicious treats to eat. Chef Robert Schumacher had put together a tasty penne pasta with homemade marinara sauce and melted cheese, along with garlic bread. Chef Kyla Radziejewski made a warm, wonderful side dish of sautéed Brussel sprouts, baby spinach, leeks and garlic.
At the salad bar there were all sorts of delicious salads, including one made with pesto covered mozzarella and cherry tomatoes grown in one of our gardens. Because of our commitment to being a peanut and tree nut free camp, the pesto was homemade and totally free of pine nuts.
Our baker Kristie Archer made cupcakes with frozen strawberries pulverized and then blended into the batter. I had at least a dozen people come to me and ask “did you have one of these cupcakes yet? They are AMAZING!” They really were.
While we were enjoying this amazing meal storm clouds were gathering on the south side of campus. Our camp leadership team is always concerned about the physical and emotional safety of our community, and lightning is certainly a hazard that we take very seriously. Because of this, we have invested a significant amount of resources in having 24/7 phone access to professional meteorologists at a service called Accuweather. They are actually able to look specifically at weather systems moving in and around our campus, as opposed to relying on broader forecasts for our state or county. They track for us not only potential storms, but literally how many lightning strikes occur within a 6 and 12 mile radius of our summer camp in NH. Whenever there is even the potential for lightning in our area our cell phones receive text messages warning us about how far away the storms are, and in which direction they are moving. And then from a very handy app we are able to watch the satellite data for our area in real time. It’s quite amazing and well worth the tremendous cost!
In the midst of dinner tonight I got a call on my phone that a brief thunderstorm was headed our way. I got on the dining hall microphone and explained this to everyone, along with the fact that there was nothing to be worried about. As dinner ended I asked everyone to remain in the building until we announced that it was safe to go outside. Head Counselor Courtney plugged her Iphone into the dining hall’s PA system…and a raging dance party began!
It started with our specialists, who eat on the balcony, who leapt out of their seats to begin dancing. Our Evergreen campers saw what was going on up above and immediately stood up on our benches and tables and went absolutely wild.
It didn’t take long before our boys’ camp counselors were breakdancing in the aisles. Very quickly every camper and counselor was on their feet smiling, laughing, and dancing.
These are the moments where how our counselors model positive behaviors becomes so important for our kids. We have a number of boys and girls who do not love it when there is lightning outside, and this could have easily turned into a night of anxiety for many. Even those not afraid of lightning could have bemoaned having to spend almost an hour of their free time “stuck” in the dining hall. Instead, because their counselors demonstrated that this was a chance to have a silly, great time it reframed the entire situation for all of our campers. It suddenly became the party of the week, and yet another reason why we try so hard to teach our campers to be resilient people. This is why our overnight camp focuses on teaching 21st century skills.
And so it is with great pleasure that I share with you this video of the crazy, wonderful scene in our dining hall this evening. After just over 5 weeks away from home THIS is how our kids reacted when they were faced with a less-than-desirable situation.
As is often the case, moments after the storm broke this gorgeous double rainbow appeared over our lake. Every member of the camp community ran outside to ooh and ahh over this amazing sight, and then went off to do all of the fun things that we offer during Free Play each night after dinner. Our coaches and teachers taught their master classes to some, while other campers hung out and just enjoyed another wonderful evening of being with their camp friends.
I love nights like tonight, when our counselors and campers turn a potential negative into a greatest of positives. Is there any more important life lesson that this?
Camps Kenwood and Evergreen are brother-sister summer camps in Wilmot, NH. We teach campers 21st century skills like resilience, independence and collaboration so that they are better prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders and innovators.