Arriving at camp, as our 2nd July mini session campers did today, is exciting for everyone. For the full session girls already here and half way through their long session, the arrival of new friends, many of whom we already know, is invigorating because it means camp will again kick up a notch with new conversations and new people to play with. For the girls arriving, the anticipation of camp starting —all that pent up enthusiasm and energy— can finally be released. For everyone, today was a chance to reunite with old camp friends… and we saw plenty of full-on hugs to prove that! …or to meet new people that surely will become friends before long. The whole morning was a festival of smiles as the arriving mini session campers smoothly checked in, met their counselors and got settled in the cabins.
Right away, the arriving girls got busy with hikes to Rockbrook Falls, which is one of the larger waterfalls on the camp property. They gathered on the tennis courts to hit a few balls and play a “speed game.” Some, as another option, chose to stop by the gym to play gaga ball or basketball, while others made their first lanyard or friendship bracelet on the hillside lodge porch. I could tell the girls appreciated getting started with a camp activity in the first few minutes they arrived.
Rick’s homemade pizza, along with more salad than we could eat, made our first meal delicious and familiar at the same time. Tours of camp during rest hour, and trips to the lake for swimming demonstrations, plus cabin meetings (a chance to get to know each other, rearrange trunks and other personal items, and learn important camp rules) came next. It being a hot sunny afternoon, roaming around the camp and finally stopping at the lake for a quick swim felt really good.
What better way to open the camp session, though, than with an afternoon carnival? When the bell rang about 3pm, Chase our program director, with the help of almost 20 other staff members, pulled out all the stops for this amazing all-camp event on the grassy hill in the center of camp. Like all great parties, this event combined fun dance music, several options for snacks, group games, challenge games, and in this case, about 200 excited girls to enjoy everything with.
There were two huge inflatables to try: a 35-foot water slide called the “Wild Rapid,” and an obstacle course that allowed two girls at a time to climb, crawl and scramble through. There was a cake walk organized for girls to earn small cupcakes. One area had girls playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey and choosing rubber ducks from a pond, while another allowed girls to “fish” (using a stick with a string and magnet attached) for prizes. Two Hi-Ups enjoyed running a pie throwing station, two more, a beanbag “dunk booth,” and two others a challenge that involved eating an apple or doughnut hung by a string. We had face painting, yard checkers, a ring toss game, a giant bubble station, and a game of “Messy Twister” (messy from shaving cream and a little body paint) also going on. Pumping across the hill was music by DJ Dawg, who was also teaching dance moves to groups of girls. Snow cones and popcorn kept us snacking too. Plus we had fun busting open several piñatas and scrambling for the pieces of candy that came spilling out.
With so many options available, you could stand on the hill and see happy groups of girls in all directions, each smiling and laughing as they got a little wet, maybe a little messy, and had a blast zipping from area to area. One small Junior camper ran by me, snow cone in hand, shouting, “This is the best day ever!”
Later in the afternoon, some girls chose to take a dip in the lake, while others took a shower before dinner, capping off a fantastic opening day. We’ll start right in with camp activities in the mornings, and soon the first whitewater rafting trip will be going out.
We’ve only just gotten started, and there’s so much to look forward to!