Barn Dance in Full Swing

zoemahlerNews

Last night was the first full day of camp, and it was quite a roller coaster from the beginning to the end. We had our first kapers session in the morning followed by breakfast and then Sunday School and church. Following those morning activities, we marked our books and got ready for lunch and rest hour.

In the afternoon was where things started to get crazy. Everyone met down on the waterfront for Activity Fair as the counselors put themselves through ridiculous and hilarious skits to enlighten campers of the awesome activities that will be taking place in their classes that session. We had a canoe tip into the lake, a box of ducks appeared at one point, and if you didn’t see the video of the campers throwing paint-filled balloons at the Arts & Crafts teachers then I highly recommend it.

It’s always fun to see the different activities CLC provides for the campers. We have the pretty average ones like horseback riding, swimming, nature, and crafts. But there’s also some really amazing classes the staff have come up with throughout the years that really inspire campers to leap out of their comfort zone and try something crazy and new. Every time Quidditch class is offered, it fills up rather quickly considering CLC is probably one of the only places campers can learn to “fly” on broomsticks to catch a snitch.

Eagle Rock is being presented this year, and we’re all so happy to have it back into our regular class schedule. Eagle Rock is a great way for campers to prepare for LT while still being a part of camp and getting to do other activities as well. Plus, it’s just super fun! The campers will be with each other all day doing crazy activities and team bonding exercises while also being challenged in new and interesting ways. It’s a good step up after taking Trail Blazers, which is also being taught this session. This is a more boating and younger camper based program all about taking the campers on adventures they may have never had the opportunity to go on. Trail Blazers is usually the first time a lot of campers go on the ropes course, and in the past three years that I was the director, I was told countless times that, “It just feels good to be busy having fun.”

Some of the other classes being offered this session are archery, frisbee, water sports and games, School of Rock – where campers learn new musical instruments and by the end of the session form a band to play at banquet – and a Spanish/English class for campers to learn a new language to help them interact with one another.

Overall, it was a great afternoon and we ended it with free swim which always makes everything ten times better considering the waterfront is the coolest place at camp. We have the new blue mat this summer which floats on the water and can hold as many people as can fit. It dips and ripples as campers run and sit on it, making everyone teeter back and forth as everyone attempts to stay on. It’s been a really fun new toy for the campers to play on, and it’s easy to see they all enjoy laughing and talking on it after swimming around and diving off the big dock for a little while.

So, to continue with our crazy first day, after waterfront time we went back to our cabins and prepared for Barn Dance before going down to dinner. As many of you I’m sure know, and for those of you who don’t, Barn Dance is a very important night at Crystal Lake Camps. The flannels all come out, the braids are always on point, and the cowboy hats usually face off to see who found the biggest hat this summer. I personally really love Barn Dance, because it’s the first time the whole camp is interacting together while all dancing, laughing, and having a good time. We did all the typical barn-like dances like the Cotton Eye Joe, Electric Slide, Macarena, and the YMCA was a huge hit as usual. We mixed it up with the Cupid Shuffle at one point, and mixed in some fancy fun barn games like The Big Wind Blows, Mouse Trap and Musical Chairs.

It was a hilarious night, only to be described as having a wild spirit as the limbo got real serious this session. All the campers were crowding around as close as they could to the limbo stick to see each round once they’d gotten out, and we had to move the limbo stick to the center of the dining hall so that everyone could watch. It was kind of funny because we would push everyone back a bit to give the limbo stars some more room, and instantly all the heads would lean in and peek around each other for a good view.

The night ended with the infamous hay rides, and the giggles never stopped through huge bumps that made us all jump, globs of hay being tossed in every direction, and some of the best star gazing you can ever get. It’s so great to look up at the sky at camp and just see the entire expanse of the universe laid out before you. I appreciated this so much as a camper, and I still love looking up at the sky as the day ends. A lot of us are coming from places where the stars aren’t completely visible, or we’re looking at different stars in our sky. But here the stars seem to shine just a little bit brighter and clearer, just like our campers.

We have a lot of new campers this session, and it’s amazing how quickly you can be integrated into such a loving and open environment. A camper told me yesterday before dinner, “Considering this is my first time away from home, I really didn’t want to come and dreaded it the whole car ride here. But then as soon as the door burst open and you were all standing there in the cabin waiting for me, I knew you were my people.”

And that’s why we do this job. Because it feels good to be a part of something that allows someone to open up and feel comfortable miles away from where they feel the most safe. It’s not a surprise to me that so many campers say, “I’m home!” upon arriving back for the summer. I know exactly how they feel, as do most of the staff, considering we say the exact same thing when we get here too. So as Session 2 kicks off with their first day of classes today, it’s good to know that everyone is in their right place, doing their best right thing and having a great, great time.

All the Love,

Zoë

Social Media Director/Camp Photographer

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