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With Session 2.1 coming to a close and some of you leaving us, it’s worth reflecting for a moment about the importance of camp in children’s lives in the light of how many other activities consume our time. From late August to mid-June, the demands of school are many. Homework, tests, projects, and after-school extra-curricular activities often seem to leave little time for processing the daily ups and downs of our children’s lives. At camp, we try to accentuate the processing in a positive motivational way. Our tribe counselors use three times during the day—morning gathering at the tents, lunch period, and afternoon snack time—to talk with their campers, set goals for the day (encouraging participation and perseverance), and review the day’s activities and accomplishments. And our activity counselors foster tribe goals of teamwork and mutual support by debriefing at the end of each period and praising effort, improvement and sportsmanship.

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Counselors, in turn, have a network of support from their supervisors (Amy, Kate, Nathan and Brian), who are constantly checking on individual campers and their progress in social adaptation and growth, and meeting with Monica and Emmy at the end of each day to review successes and ongoing issues to be addressed. Another aspect of that network is our use of pins to encourage participation, perseverance, and teamwork—goals that we prize more highly than winning in competition. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a camper’s smile of satisfaction after a personal victory, whether it’s overcoming a fear or hesitation or trying and accomplishing something new, on the climbing tower or on a paddle board, at the fishing pond or at the tennis courts, in Campcraft or in the swimming pond. And the best vision of all is the smiles and high-fives that campers exchange when they exult in being honored with a tribe Spirit Award, the crowning achievement of all the aforementioned goals.

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Last night the Eagle tribes had a super Sewataro Sleep-Over. After all the buses had left, the girls headed down to the tent area and basketball courts for some rousing games: Pinball/Dodgeball on the court and Team Noodle Tag in the open field, while the boys and senior camp had a refreshing snack of salsa & chips and veggies & dip behind headquarters. Then they switched places with the boys playing and the girls snacking. Next on the schedule was a swim for the girls’ tribes, but just at that moment a threatening thunderstorm popped up on radar, so the girls instead went to the Longhouse for a fun quiz show emceed by Doug and Hannah and featuring trivia about each of their tribe counselors. The girls definitely seemed happier than if they had been in the water. Soon after, the threat of storms passed us by, and the boys were able to head to the pools for a swim.

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By six pm everyone was ready to devour a dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, corn-on-the-cob, watermelon, and chips. Justin and Jacob of the Cheyenne tribe said their burgers were “great,” and Sammy, also a Cheyenne and a vegetarian, was delighted to enjoy a veggie burger. Emily and Reese of the Shoshoni went the hot dog route and said they were “delicious.” Then came Tribe Choice activities: Capture the Flag, Kick the Can, Crafts, Street Hockey, or swimming, giving a chance for the girls who had missed it earlier to get in an evening swim. After that came the piece-de-resistance, a campfire, over which s’mores were toasted and stories told. Not yet ready for bed? Eagle supervisor, Nathan, knew that and had an entertaining Counselor Hunt planned. The campers used flashlights to hunt for eleven hidden counselors, and the Chickasaw Tribe did an unbelievable job of sleuthing, finding 10 of the 11. By then it was time for settling down in their tents for the long anticipated Overnight “sleep,” all the more welcome because of all the day’s activities.

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This morning, a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, yogurt, fresh fruit, OJ, and hot chocolate was served up at the upper garage, with grill master Alex keeping everybody happy with his varieties of pancakes. Ready for another day at camp? You betcha!