Off To a Great Start!

I think the first full day of camp is one of my favorites.  The boys have had a little time to be comfortable, but there is still a lot of excitement in the air.  They typically wake up early. As in WAY before the wake-up bell.  The first cabin clean-up takes a little longer as they try to work through the orientation process. The youngest boys are super excited but have very little skill or even a plan of how this whole cabin clan-up thing works. There are mornings these guys just wake up and start sweeping. Great attitude, but we need to get dressed first and make our bed. The oldest guys know a little more about what to do and even have some coordination to make it happen, but they are less excited about waking up in the morning.

I queried the guys about the first night’s sleep. Many had stories of others talking in their sleep or waking up and being surprised because they were in a new place. Some took a little more to fall asleep, others said they fell asleep as soon as the counselor started reading. After a long camp day, everyone will be tired tonight.

I really enjoy hearing these small stories of independence.  Little victories here and there that is all part of the growing process.  I mean, spending the night out in a cabin sounds like a ton of fun, but it can also make you nervous once all the lights go out.  Don’t sweat! I saw all sorts of night lights and bathroom lights on with the door cracked.  The counselors were all well-prepared for these events. But, this is a big deal for a lot of these guys!

I also like hearing so many of our counselors reading to the boys at night. It’s such a fun tradition.  It doesn’t always happen in the older cabins, but I heard a lot as I walked around after lights out last night.

The boys hit all five of their selected activities today. Our first day of activities set a baseline that will springboard into some real learning through the session. The boys were eager to get started.  I saw the first glimpses of the model rockets coming together in crafts.  Others were making their first shots at archery.  Speaking of activities, you should have received an email with your son’s schedule and a few details this afternoon. I hope that is helpful.  The boys will typically keep those for the session, but they can change if they want.  The first couple of days has a little movement.

Tonight, our first cabins headed out into the woods on our 1000-acre property.  The boys of Lookout, Halfway, Pinnacle, and Overlook will spend the night enjoying some pita pizzas and time around the campfire playing games and eating smores.  They will return just before breakfast tomorrow.  I cannot wait to hear the stories.

You are in for a treat tonight with a bunch of pictures. I went a little crazy down at the lake this evening. Sorry for all the pictures of age group three. I love watching these guys play “canoe fill-ups.” The boys LOVE it. As with most activities, the boys are out to win at first. They soon realize it is more about engagement and fun than staying on the outskirts. anyhow, I couldn’t stop snapping the action. I really enjoy capturing the water flying! The faces of intensity, fun, and laughter are amazing. I think if you put on some heavy Beethoven or Wagner as the background, you might even have a better effect.

We are off to a great start! Don’t forget to write.  I love that summer camp still keeps the traditional letters alive!  Tomorrow is going to be another big event!

-Don Gentle

Today’s Pictures