Holiday Fever All Summer Long

We’ve all experienced holiday fever. Our bodies feel warm and tingly, our cheeks turn rosy, our heart beats faster, and a slight shiver warms our spine. A holiday fever can be brought on by anything- snowflakes, hot chocolate, presents, tinsel, strung popcorn, twinkling lights, reindeer sweaters, holiday jingles, Yule log, greeting cards, carolers, chestnuts, or open fires (just to name a few.) In extreme cases, we catch this fever all month long.

holiday red and green cookies

Unfortunately, in our lives, January 1st becomes the cool washcloth which breaks our holiday fever. Upon entering the new year, our body temperature subsides and our cheeks pale. Joyfully cooking a holiday meal for family and friends makes way for our mad dashes to the grocery store where upon we return home, exhausted, and with barely enough energy to cook our recent purchases.  Snow is no longer the canvas which creates snowball fights and frosty angels, but an irksome condition that prohibits travel and turns into a brown, dirty slush which seeps into our boots and nips at our toes. Chestnuts take far too long to roast and open fires seem much too dangerous an endeavor. Come January, once charming and enchanting holiday tasks become everyday annoyances.

Camp holiday decorations

Luckily, there’s a medical breakthrough to combat all this. The doctor can write us a prescription to regain our fever (think of this as a reverse Rx.) Spend your summer at camp. If followed to doctor’s orders, the opportunity to work at camp is one of indescribable value. One dose and ordinary things reclaim their magic and our cheeks flush rosy once again. Peanut butter on apples, paddles on water, rain on roofs, mud on sneakers- all spectacular when you have “camp fever.” Camp gives us the best gift we could ask for-holiday cheer all summer long.

Testing the Birthday Paradox

With all of the adventure, crafts and sports going on in camp, it’s easy to forget that through the tunnel and across the road at the Rockbrook fields, there are campers riding horses everyday. They are girls being introduced to English horseback riding, with its emphasis on balance, posture and seat position, and others improving their riding skills in mounted lessons. They are getting to know the Rockbrook equestrian staff, led by Cara and Audrey, and the 29 horses at camp this summer. It can get pretty busy down there at the stables with horses being prepared and led back and forth from the barns, campers dressing in their boots and helmets eager to learn who they’ll ride that day, and lessons being taught in all three riding rings. If you add to that taking care of all those horses, for example when the ferrier makes his weekly visit, you have quite a hive of activity. During any of the activity periods, and even in between, you can see examples of this engaged enthusiasm and hard work. It’s impressive!

smiling camp girl horseback riding
two small white ponies
2 point hunt jump horse seat

The middle picture here is of Cool Beans and his little sidekick Cloud Nine, two of our celebrity ponies at camp this summer. You may have met them on the opening day of camp. They have been well-loved this session, especially by the juniors.

Birthday cake and excited camp girls

Have you heard of the Birthday Paradox, the surprisingly high probability that two people in a group will share the same birthday? The magic number is twenty three; if you take a group of 23 randomly selected people the odds there will be two with the same birthday are about 50% (1 in 2). So what happens when you take an entire summer camp of 223 campers and 60 staff members? The probability is greater than 99.9999999999999999999999998%!

We tested this paradox tonight during our special all-camp birthday night dinner. We rearranged the dining hall so everyone with the same birth month could sit together at one giant table for each month. Everybody born in April sat together, May together, and so forth. This meant some of the tables, like September, were huge and others had only 10 or so. Throughout the meal everyone compared birthdays, and sure enough we had about 4 different pairs sharing the same day. Each table also thought of other famous people to whom they could shout out a birthday greeting… “Happy Birthday Justine Bieber!” Or, “Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!” It’s not clear how many of these were true, but that wasn’t particularly important. What mattered was coming up with funny examples for everyone to hear. The biggest bubble of excitement, however, erupted when the cakes came out, one elaborately decorated, in a “Candyland” theme, birthday cake for each month/table. As you can see in this photo of the April cake, Alison baked up simply gorgeous cakes, again, all from scratch. These were big cakes, and believe it or not, there were several tables that couldn’t finish theirs! An example of being good, but maybe a little too good!

So Much Fun at Camp

playing a game of tennis at summer camp

When writing these blog posts, and mentioning special events for the most part, it’s easy to forget all of the “regular” activities that are going on at camp.  Everyone selects four different activities for their daily schedule, so throughout the day you can find all kinds of arts and crafts, horseback riding, sports, and outdoor adventure going on.  Kathleen our main photographer spends part of her day wandering around camp taking pictures of these activities, but it’s impossible for her to capture it all.  She might spend time at the tennis courts, for example, but she’ll be missing the action at the Alpine Tower and the riding down at the barn.

Teen camp girls at waterfall

Jeff took the Hi-Ups, our oldest campers (10th graders), on a fun outing Thursday afternoon. Dressed in bathing suits and with towels in hand, we made our way to High Falls in the Dupont State Forest. It was one of those perfect summer days. The unstable, moist air of the last few days had cleared to leave wonderful blue skies, sunshine and a few white clouds. High Falls is a spectacular waterfall formed as the Little River drops about 150 feet over exposed granite. Depending on the water level, there are different sections varying in strength from a gentle sloping flow to a raging drop. We found it just right today to swim in the pool at the bottom of one section. There’s also a part forming a “sliding rock” of sorts. It was a little bumpy going down, but very fun nonetheless. On the way home, there was just enough time to swing by Dolly’s. Yum.

Camp counselor dressed as draco malfoy

For dinner, we held another special meal, Restaurant Night, but to mix things up a bit, we turned it into “Harry Potter and the Night of the Restaurant.”  A group of the counselors decorated the dining hall like the great hall of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter novels, and everyone was invited to dress up as a character from the books or in simply “magical” attire.  The tables were rearranged and the counselors served the campers… roast beef, peas, potatoes and toffee bars for desert. We saw Draco Malfoy, several Harry Potters (complete with lightning bolt scar) and even Sarah dressed up as Bellatrix Lestrange to do the announcements after the meal. Music, food, costumes and skits: all just a regular part of the fun at camp.