Today, the 4th of July, was an absolutely HUGE day at camp. First of all, I can’t help but mention the weather because it was beautiful— clear blue skies, low humidity, and a high temperature of 79 degrees. It was downright chilly in the morning (about 62 degrees) when we had a very special wake up call. The seven riding staff members, dressed in their best red, white and blue, rode horses up into camp and, on cue, down each of the lines yelling “The British are coming! Wake up! Wake up!” (a reference to Paul Revere’s ride in April of 1775). Awoken by the sounds of hoof beats and these warnings, and dressed in fleeces or wrapped in blankets to stay warm, the whole camp assembled on the hill around the flagpole where the Hi-Ups raised the flag and led us in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and singing “America the Beautiful.”
On a day like this, you know what to wear… anything and everything red, white and blue. Last night a group of counselors stayed up late and decorated the dining hall with streamers, balloons, table decorations and flags. Also a surprise for the campers, we had red, white and blue hats, headbands, temporary tattoos and bead necklaces on the tables for everyone to embellish their own costumes, and boost their patriotic spirit.
In the dining hall, for both breakfast and lunch, the girls couldn’t help but further express their enthusiasm for the holiday by singing songs like “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Firework,” and Yankee Doodle Dandy.” At one point a whole cabin stopped eating to yell “Happy Birthday America!” followed by cheers from everyone else. These girls do have spirit!
A tour of the camp activities this morning proved this spirit was high everywhere, with patriotic decorations being more normal than not. For example, at the creek by the Curosty cabin, Melanie and the girls were weaving red, white and blue baskets. Feet soaking in the creek with the reeds and plenty of sunshine brightening the scene, the girls produced some really cool baskets. At the zipline, Rita brought along small flags for the girls to wave as they flew down the cable. Zip after zip, the blur of red, white and blue was spectacular to see. Over in Hodge Podge, the girls were likewise leaning pretty heavily on 4th of July colors for their tie dye t-shirt designs.
Following Rest Hour, we continued this theme with everyone joining in for an afternoon of group relays down on our grassy sports field. We first divided all the campers and counselors, mixing the Lines, into three groups. Each took a color— yes, again red, white or blue —and using tempera body paint and the how they dressed, built a unified team, complete with a rallying chant or cheer. Split like this, the camp made up three teams of approximately 95 people.
Once assembled on the field, again with simply superb weather, Chase and Grace organized at least a dozen different relay races matching representatives from each team. While 10 or so girls from each team competed in a relay, the others cheered them on. It was exciting to watch classic relays like the 3-legged race, the egg (on a spoon) carry, and the crab walk. We also had teams square off for an egg toss, a water balloon toss, and a cracker eating race. Other groups raced across the field carrying an orange under their chins, and others carrying a water-soaked sponge trying to fill up a bucket. Interestingly, even though these were races, and it was very exciting for your team to win a particular relay, nobody paid much attention to the overall score. In the end, who “won” seemed irrelevant to the girls. I think they were having too much fun to worry about that sort of thing. Finally, all that racing around warmed us up enough to make the final surprise feel really great. Richie borrowed a fire truck from his Volunteer Fire Department and using the water cannon, created the largest sprinkler you’ve ever seen. He shot a spray of water about 40 feet in the air so the girls could run around and shower off a bit under it.
Dinner tonight, taking great advantage of our huge charcoal grill, started with hamburgers, hotdogs and grilled chicken, plus homemade coleslaw, corn on the cob and freshly sliced watermelon loading down our plates. Then, tapping into another camp tradition, the girls also enjoyed a cold soda that was chilled in the stream. The hill in the center of camp makes the perfect place for an evening picnic as it slopes to present a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Topping off the meal, Katie (with some help from the Hi-Ups) made us all patriotic cupcakes— red, white and blue, each with a tiny American Flag stuck in the top. It was such a nice evening together… great food, perfect weather, fun music playing, and so many of our very best friends.
Leah surprised everyone after dinner by dressing up like the Statue of Liberty, complete with a crown, matching green-copper-colored dress and torch. This then led to girls wanting to have their picture taken with our Lady Liberty. It was a spontaneous photo shoot with the Statue of Liberty. And she was so nice! 🙂
As night fell, anticipation grew for our fireworks show, the finale of the day. All the girls and their counselors pulled out crazy creek chairs on the hill so they could have a view of the sky above the lake where we launch everything. Armed with flashlights and glow sticks, and bopping along to the upbeat music Stephanie and Chase had selected, the girls cheered after every colorful blast.
This has been one of the best 4th of July celebrations at camp in recent memory. So great in fact, it’s hard to think of a way that it could have been any better.