A Celebration of All The Fun Little Things of Camp
I have a story I like to tell to our staff during our training week. I try to save it for the end of the week but sometimes I get too excited and tell it earlier. It happened back in the summer of 2002, during an Extended-Eve-O-Fun (where campers would stay late, eat dinner and have an evening program) with our 1st and 2nd graders. It was the start of the Harry Potter craze and I made a whole program devoted to Hogwarts and finding the missing Sorcerer’s Stone. The reason for telling the story isn’t to pad my own ego (the program was great), but I tell this story because of what happened near the end of the program.
I was playing the villain (there is a lot of fun in playing the bad guy role) and I had floated the Sorcerer’s Stone in to the middle of a pond about 15 feet from shore (“pond” is too generous a term; a more apt description is a gross, muddy, green, knee deep puddle). The Hero/Unit Head Bram had to wade out in to the pond. (He could not have given me a dirtier look before taking off his shoes and hiking up his shorts. Floating out clues or treasures to undesirable locations will always be funny, especially if you aren’t the one that has to get them).
In a desperate move, right before Bram reached the Sorcerer’s Stone, I threatened to freeze the pond (with Bram in it) and keep the Stone for myself (I told you being the bad guy could be fun). As I reached down to touch my wand into the water, I felt it: a slap to the back of my head that sent my hat and glasses in to the water! Shocked and a little mad, I turned around and saw Erika, a very quiet, shy camper who had not said more than two words to me all summer. She gave me a little smile and pointed to the water. Her slap had given Bram enough time to grab the Stone and defeat me. I don’t remember how we planned to end the program. I probably expected Bram to dive head long for the Stone, which would have been funnier to me but less funny to Bram.
You are probably asking why I am telling this story. It’s not because I encourage campers to slap the back of my head. I tell this story because if you ask campers at the end of the summer “What did you like best?” you normally get answers like Maccabi games, evening program, or other big ticket programs. But if you ask me, I’ll tell you it is the little things at camp. Like when campers can step out of their comfort zone, try new things and taste success. Everyone can have a great time during the “big moments” at camp. The key for the counselors is to enjoy the little things at camp. If we can just slow down enough to notice them, acknowledge them and celebrate them, the little things will add up to a great summer.
So the last 525 words were just to get us to this:
A Celebration of all the fun little things at Camp!
- The unexpected win at gaga
- Losing at gaga (enduring a setback isn’t always a bad thing) (gaga is funny that way)
- Passing the deep end test
- Getting called for a Mitzvah leaf
- A camper’s first time getting dressed independently (parents will recognize this day by the backwards/inside out tee shirt and the shoes on the wrong feet)
- When 2 campers who haven’t seen each other since last summer reconnect
- The first hot dog of the summer
- Learning how to make a lanyard
- Being a line leader
- Making a new friend
- Getting out of the car at drop off and sprinting to their group
- Helping out a fellow camper
- A popsicle on a hot day
- The perfect high five
- The day the quietest camper slaps the villain camp director in the back of the head and saves the day!