Curveballs can’t beat us

Greetings from Hilltop. Well, as all Second Session families know by email, we had our first mid-session positive COVID test in the morning. We’ve gotten quite lucky so far this summer, having only had positive cases on entry. But, we knew this day would likely come. We have a good plan, and we’re working it now.

It makes sense to lead with that news because it has dominated the day to some degree. Certainly from a leadership team perspective, we need to make sure that the camper is comfortable in our isolation space, make sure the cabinmates are okay, make sure each person who needs to know is notified in the proper way, let summer staff and campers know that we’re going into our positive test mode (putting on masks, spreading out eating spaces, etc, until we can get an all-camp negative test at least 5 days from now), and also attend to all the normal feelings that come from all of the above.

But, I will say, campers, staff, and families have done a remarkable job of rolling with this punch. Thankfully, we are at a point with this virus that a positive case is not the end of the world, and we have a COVID plan that allows camp to continue as normal for the vast majority of campers.

So part of me didn’t want to lead with the news of the day. It’s not the dominant theme of the week, to be sure. But, it is the dominant news of the day, I know it’s on people’s minds (including my own), and so it makes sense to address it.

The dominant news of the week, though, was the wonderful community these Second Session campers have started to create here in the first week. It’s been a fantastic first week of the session, with these campers settling into camp with a remarkable comfort level. They’ve been having fun, making friends, enjoying our activities, and just living in the moment of these gorgeous, long summer days.

Even though it’s only day 9 of our 28-day session, so much has happened. A week ago today was the first full day of the session, Rotation Day. We took care of the beginning of camp tasks like signing up for classes, taking the swim test, having cabin photos taken, and seeing the nurse, along with generally getting oriented to camp. For Evening Activity, we had Biffer Medic, an elaborate game of tag in which campers attempt to match clues to counselor while avoiding Biffers (counselors armed with a sock full of flour). If campers do get biffed, they’re frozen until they can complete a silly task supplied by a Medic (yet another category of counselor, dressed in crazy costumes). It was a great way to end the first week. Later in the week, we had Cabin Adventure, Sports Night, Folk Dance (line dances while dressed up in crazy costumes, good clean fun), Capture the Chicken (capture the flag, but with a rubber chicken, and therefore much better), and Moonraker (silly songs and skits on Moonraker Point). Last night, we had Burger Bar, a beloved activity in which the Heads team gives the kitchen staff the night, dresses the Lodge and themselves up in a theme (Survivor), and cooks burgers, fries, and shakes for the whole camp. Each cabin dresses itself up in a theme, which they present at flags. For evening activity, it was a movie in the Boat Barn (MegaMind).

Trips are a big part of camp, and that’s continuing this year. Our 9th graders left this morning on kayaking, sailing, and backpacking trips in the San Juans and Olympic National Park. The Carlyn campers left on our first trip to Canada since 2019. Captain David reports that spirits are high, and the group is making its way as we speak to one of the most beautiful spots in the world, Princess Louisa Inlet.

So, despite the curveball, it’s a beautiful day in camp, and all is well. Thank you for sharing your children with us this month. We’re having a ball here on Orcas, and we gratefully have nearly three more weeks to look forward to.