Yeehaw for barn dance

It was quite the night for Crystal Lake last night as we hosted our Session 1 Barn Dance! By now we’ve perfected the perfect playlist of songs to get people hype to dance along to their favorite tunes – Electric Shuffle, YMCA, Cupid Shuffle, Hokey Pokey, Cotton Eye Joe, and many more.

We spent the afternoon enjoying the warm weather and cloudless sky while participating first in Free Swim down at good ol’ Crystal Lake. We had both the shallow and deep ends open, which allowed for some fun lake games and swimming activities.

Whatever it is about the Aqua Mat, it always brings out some funny and upbeat times to the campers and staff. It’s literally just a map in the swimming area, but there are more screams of laughter and good times shared amongst the occupants of the Aqua Mat than anywhere else on the waterfront.

It’s quite the balancing act that takes about a whole session to master, if I’m being honest. You stand too far to one side, or you put too many people on one side of the mat and you’re slipping right into the lake faster than you can say ‘oops!’ Watching the strategic moves start to form in campers’ minds is absolutely hysterical. You can see them coax their counsellors onto the mat, saying they, “Just want to spend time with them!” Before watching as the counsellor is finally situated on the blue mat, only to jump on the other side and send the counsellor tumbling into the water.

Head Counsellor Sam sure did spend quite a bit of time on there as a couple of campers from Boys’ Camp were able to choreograph around him and cause him to wobble around like a bobble head.

Once we had spent quite a bit of time in the lake, the whole of Youth Camp went over to the soccer field where everyone partook in an intense game of 8-Sticks.

8-Sticks! How does one explain 8-Sticks?!

Gosh, well to start, each team has (get this) eight sticks that they are guarding. You divide the soccer field in half and each net serves as the jail for the other team. The objective of the game is to slip past the opposite team’s defenses to grab one of the sticks. Once you have all the sticks of the other team then you’re the champion and, usually because we don’t want to stop playing, the game begins again.

It’s a little bit of Capture the Flag and a little bit of tag, but altogether it’s one of the Greatest Games Ever Played.

And then of course, as the evening rounded around we all donned our flannels and (some of us found) some cut-off jeans and cowboy hats to bebop around Alford Hall to Barn Dance.

The thing about Barn Dance is everyone always says, “Oh yeah, I love Barn Dance,” but no one ever truly can put into words how spectacular and stoked Barn Dance can actually be until the music starts playing and our feet start moving. The Cotton Eye Joe is quite a favorite, and teaching some new campers the wonders of the dance and how energetic it can be was quite a treat.

We were also taught a new dance this session from some of our counsellors from Mexico! It started off really slow and lulled majority of us into a false sense of security thinking, “Oh, I’ve totally got this.”

BUT THEN the music picked up and suddenly we were jumping and grape-vining, and shuffling in every direction at such a rapid rate that we were all dizzy from swinging around and laughing so hard.

What a great day. It was a fabulous first day of Session 1, if I do say so myself, and we have carried on the beautiful warm and breezy weather onto today as the morning started with our first Session 1 Metaphysical Map Period (MAP)! And boy what a MAP it was!

Nabo led this morning’s MAP to prep us for Vespers, which is tonight! At the beginning of every Vespers we as a camp all read the Sermon on the Mount together. So for the focus of MAP this morning, Nabo reminded us of the importance of what it means to be baptized in the context of the Sermon on the Mount considering Jesus presented the Sermon after his own baptism by John the Baptist. Speaking of what it means to be spiritually baptized, we focused on the sixth Beatitude at the beginning of the Sermon found in Matthew 5:8 –

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

Campers and staff were divided into small groups and told to take a bit of a stroll through the surrounding nature to find something that, to them, signifies purity. We had a long of wonderful examples including an ant and its persistence and work ethic, water and how it represents the Word of God and is consistently giving life, and the Mountain Laurels – the beautiful little pink and white flowers that bloom around the lake only in this area for only a short, specific time during the year.

MAP rounded up with the the campers and staff being divided into two groups after being provided with a specific part of the Sermon on the Mount to put together a small skit representing the teachings of Jesus and how they are relevant to everyday life. The skits will then be presented tonight during Vespers!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Vespers, you could say that Vespers is like a metaphysical and spiritual talent show where campers and staff are provided with an opportunity to share their God-given talents that are quiet, spiritually grounded, and reflective. We’ve had acts that involve poetry, musical instruments, singing of hymns, and other great insights that shine through as a true reflection of God.

We have another fun-filled day ahead of us. The morning is far from over as the Youth Camp has once again taken to the soccer field to play a high spirited game of soccer and learn some new tips and tricks of the sport. Our afternoon will include some horseback riding with our equestrian director Laura, arts & crafts projects with the arts & crafts director Margie, and some climbing! Who doesn’t love a good rock wall challenge?

And then of course, to end the evening, we’ll all participate in Vespers in Alford Hall. The wonderful part of Vespers that I personally love, love, love is the hymn sing we all partake in to wrap up Vespers. Cabins choose their favorite hymns and as a camp we all sing together. Nothing like a good hymn sing to prep everyone for a good night’s sleep!

Photos from this morning’s MAP have already been uploaded to Smugmug, and a little clip of the morning assembly is on our Instagram as well! And did I hear something about some morning gaga games? Oh yeah, that’s on the Instagram too.

It’s another great day at CLC and we can’t wait to share it with you!



– Zoë

Social Media Director/Camp Photographer

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