Ah-Ho for Council Fire

There’s a small group of staff that start their day every morning at 5:30am to go and do lake swims. Some of us are there to get their Crimson Arrow and other award requirements, some to get in shape, and others because we’re just restless in the mornings. I personally do it for the sunrises. The beauty at Crystal Lake is more serene and tranquil than anywhere else I’ve ever traveled. And so in the morning with shivers and chattering teeth, I for some reason will dive into the lake only to see that sunrise on the swim back to the T-Dock when we’re finishing up. It’s beautiful with the soft pinks and oranges, yellow licking at the tips of the clouds as the sun slowly yawns and stretches into the sky. It’s a great start to the day, and I know that the campers appreciate this calm beauty as much as I do when we’re all standing at flag raising in the morning while the fog lazily rolls along the lake and the trees wash themselves in sunshine.



That beauty can be seen throughout the entire day as campers walk along the path to classes and laugh with each other at meals over funny stories from previous adventures. The waterfront was full of squeals and splashes while the boating class took a trip across the lake on some paddle boards. The nature class once again slipped into the forest to learn about the mountain laurels that bloom around camp (Nature Thought for the Day – the mountain laurel is the state flower of Pennsylvania). Basketball swooshed some hoops, volleyball scored some aces, and RAFT even decided to create their own sport which included a lot of different things that we still aren’t entirely sure what it was.

But to get to the point, everyone had a blast today. We spent lunch preparing for overnights and Camp Craft was quick to hand out the sleeping bags, sleeping pads, hiking backpacks, mess kits, and much more to prepare the campers for their fun times the next couple of days on overnights.

And of course, the final golden star sticker of the day, we closed the evening with Council Fire.


When I was a camper, I despised Council Fire. I’m not really sure why, or whatever prompted this detest for such a fun activity, but it took a year of LT and then CIT learning the dances, holding the heavy fire lighting sticks in my hands, and understanding the stories behind the clans and really comprehending how important this history is to Crystal Lake Camps. Quickly, Council Fire became my absolute favorite evening activity at camp. Everything about Council Fire is spectacular. The clans are cheering and not only for their fellow clan members, but for everyone. The games are all different and something you wouldn’t play anywhere other than camp. I mean, come on, where else would you tuck a feather into your belt loop and run around dodging other people? It doesn’t matter what country you’re from, what language you speak, or how many years you’ve been coming to camp. If you’re a turtle, you’re a turtle and that’s all that matters. You will belt that cheer out at the top of your lungs, do the most ridiculous dance moves, and stand on your feet to cheer for your fellow clan members as a game comes to the close.


All the clans did amazingly well with games of Till-Ee-Come and Tug-of-War this session. And in the end we all sang Symbol of Serenity and Taps, holding hands and admiring the setting sun. Crimson Arrow seems to be really huge this summer, with lots of campers and staff attempting to get the legendary and honorary award this summer. We even have some going for Bright Star – quite a few, actually, which makes it all the more special – and we even have a staff member attempting to get his Tall Pine. All these achievements show the dedication the staff and campers here have to keeping Crystal Lake so near and dear in their hearts, and I believe – in true Council Fire fashion – that this deserves a great, “Ah-Ho!”

Tomorrow is a new day, and the campers will travel off for their overnights to explore the wilderness around us. It’s really great, I think, that the campers got the experience of Council Fire right before going out. Maybe as they hike along the trails they’ll think about the stories told tonight, or how swiftly the fire dancers moved throughout the woods before them. And maybe a couple years into the future, who knows, they’ll be counselors and fire dancers themselves. It’s an amazing experience that only a place like CLC can provide.

All the Love,


Social Media Director/Camp Photographer

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