Off to a Great Start

Greetings from Hilltop. My normal pattern in summer is to write once a week, so I’m a little thrown by the task of writing after only three days. But, I know how many families crave these updates, getting only little bits and pieces of what’s happening at camp. And, I promised to write on Sundays, and here it is Sunday evening, so I better get typing.

Camp is off to a wonderful start. After all the preparation, there’s part of me that is always just a little surprised to see it actually happening. Maybe even more so in these times, when we’ve all gotten used to nearly everything being a little uncertain. It feels really good to see these kids doing what they should be. Walking to the barn, dressing up in crazy costumes, jumping in the sound, laughing on the trail, tromping through the woods. All of it is just so blessedly normal. Kids are just being kids, and all is as it should be.

We are still in the beginning stages of the session of course. Campers arrived on Thursday. On Friday, we had Rotation Day. Yesterday and today, we had our first two days of classes. Tomorrow campers, having had a chance to try out our best effort at making them a perfect schedule, will have a chance to trade out any class they don’t like for a class they do want.

Sunday is normally a totally different schedule at camp, but it’s important to establish what’s normal before throwing curveballs at kids. So, rather than doing our standard Sunday schedule (which is a bit slower, and has more opportunities for reflection and service), we’ve treated today like a regular camp day. At the same time, we don’t want to wait until July 3 to have an Evening Fire, so on Tuesday of this week, we’re going to do our Sunday schedule. (Days of the week are a human construction, after all, one we can fiddle with at camp to meet our own purposes.)  We’re planning on doing our COVID testing on Sundays this summer as well, and 5 days in is pretty great timing for a second round of tests. Hopefully, we’ll all test negative, go to masks optional, have an indoor Evening Fire, and get camp even closer than it already is to normal. Even if we do have some cases, we know we can still give these kids a great experience.

Aside from classes and schedules, we’ve had some great evening activities to start of the session. We don’t have a specific evening activity on arrival day, we just settle in. On Friday night, after Rotation Day, we played Biffer Medic on the sports field. In Biffer Medic, campers attempt to match clues (“I’ve had stitches in my eyebrows on three separate occasions,” for example.) to counselors who are sitting in a giant circle around the sports field. While doing so, they attempt to avoid being “biffed” (hit with a sock full of flour) by “biffers,” counselors armed with said socks. If they are biffed, they are frozen, but can be set free by “medics,” still a different brand of counselor, dressed up in crazy costumes and dolling out silly tasks to set campers free. It’s loads of fun, and the perfect energy to end the first full day. Last night, we had Cabin Adventure, in which each counselor comes up with a separate activity for each cabin or tent. (It’s important to have both all-camp and small group activities in the first few days.) Tonight, as I write this, the campers and staff are having a Folk Dance, one of our most beloved evening activities. We dress up in crazy costumes and do beloved line dances like the Pata Pata, the Virginia Reel, Saturday Night, and so on. It’s good clean fun.

That’s the report from Deer Harbor on this balmy Sunday evening. Thank you so much for sharing your children with us. They’re having a great time, and we are too.