Shockingly Patriotic

Camp is always a place of celebration, but since today was the 4th of July, we had another reason to kick things up a bit and make the day special.

4th of July summer camp horses

It started right away, even a bit before the rising bell, when eight riding staff members, dressed in their best red, white and blue, rode horses up into camp. They had the horses painted and dressed as well. On cue, they rode up and down the cabin lines yelling “The British are coming! Wake up! Wake up!” (a reference to Paul Revere’s ride in April of 1775). Hoofbeats in the morning! Hearing all this and still dressed in their pajamas, the girls stumbled out onto the hill for a flag raising ceremony led by the Hi-Ups. Everyone also recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sleepily sang “America the Beautiful.”

At breakfast, the campers were met by a second blast of red, white and blue decorations. The dining hall had streamers, posters (one read, “We love Betsy Ross!”) and ribbons hung in every direction. We set out red, white and blue head bands, stickers, glitter and temporary tattoos on all the tables. It seemed like most of the campers were happy to take advantage of the tattoos! Combined with their own festive costumes and accessories, we had a shockingly patriotic color scheme going on. Singing in the dining hall picked up the theme too, with the girls belting out versions of “Yankee Doodle,” “Your a Grand Old Flag,” and Katy Perry’s “Firework.”

The day was mostly filled with the girls attending their regular activities. Flashes of red, white and blue appeared all around camp— climbing the alpine tower, weaving baskets in the creek, shooting riflery, and riding horses at the riding center, for example. The muffin flavor of the day was “Firework Funfetti.” During the first free swim time before lunch, about 30 or so counselors and campers ran a 2-mile course around camp: the “Firecracker Run.” Also during that free swim period, the lifeguards held a greased watermelon relay race. The team that won enjoyed cracking open the watermelon and eating it afterwards.

We served dinner on the hill, a yummy supper of Rick’s barbecue chicken (and tempeh), homemade potato salad, coleslaw, and watermelon. We don’t ordinarily serve soft drinks at camp, but for tonight’s special occasion we offered the girls each a can of Cheerwine, kept cold in the creek in front of the Goodwill cabin. For dessert it was blondie cookie bars with red, white and blue (again!) icing decoration.

The evening event was hilarious— an all-camp color run and slip-n-slide! This had the girls change into their swimsuits and come down to the grassy landsports field. There, the counselors set up an obstacle course that challenged the girls to run through the course while having colorful powder thrown at you. Of course, the real goal was to be hit by the colored powder and get messy. For the slip-n-slide, our property manager Richie brought over a firetruck (He’s the Assistant Chief of our fire district.) and used the hose to keep everything wet and slippery. We had music playing, which added to the wild and crazy feeling of the event. You’ve never seen such exuberance! One camper told me, “I love this!” Being that messy, laughing that hard, slipping and sliding with friends… it was a one of a kind experience.

As night fell, the finale of the day was our own fireworks show. Casey was ready with glow sticks for all the girls and a fun playlist of music to blast during the show. For the next 30 minutes, we all enjoyed another dance party, as the girls twirled their glow sticks, sang along to the music and cheered with every sparkling blast in the air.

It’s hard to beat a day like this with so much celebration, with one exciting surprise after another. When you have all these great people having this much crazy fun, I can’t think of a better way to spend the 4th of July.

summer camp fireworks show

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  1. Shelby
    5 months ago

    July 4th morning was always one of my faves … there was nothing like starting the day to the sound of horses galloping down the line with the call of “The British are Coming”. I am so happy that this tradition lives on!