Though time (being the illusion it is, a common conversation among campers) is crawling towards the end of the summer here in the Canaan Valley, the boisterous shouts of campers locked in friendly battle and the thrilled back-and-forth of actors and audience rebound off the mountains as if it were day one.
My name is Tuxford and I am the Performing Arts Specialist and current Activities Team Coordinator. I am delighted to get to write to you on this, my absolute favorite day of the session. Packed into the daylight hours are two of the best activities that take place here at Merrowvista: Camp Conquest and MV Production!!
The campers approached breakfast with intentionality: This was their chance to fuel up their bodies and fill their stomachs before the intense four-folds-flexing competition of the morning. The biggest game of capture the flag you’ve ever seen, Camp Conquest spans nearly 1000 square feet and six zones where each team works within their ranks to determine their strategies for taking the day. All playstyles are celebrated in the conquest, points not only being awarded for being on the offensive and taking flags but also for setting up a strong defense or finding an elusive snitch-like hidden deus ex machina stuffed animal that can also be traded in to free a captured team. Today’s game started off typically enough. A few flags were stolen, the “justice flag” (the aptly named stuffed animal) was found, and many people were tagged. But come the second round, everything changed. After all three teams that resided on the Athletic Field were taken and only two in the Meadow remained, campers joined forces of their own accord to rush the remaining zones and work together to get their flags. Despite wave upon wave of people running for the flags, the red and orange teams held their own and fended off the other teams until the end of the game. It was not only an absolutely incredible sight to behold but the most incredible show of teamwork and coordination that I’ve personally ever seen in a game of Camp Conquest. Campers headed to lunch with smiles full of joy and hearts full of pride, no matter whether they stole the most flags or lost their territory five minutes into the rounds.
To close out the day, the entire camp community made their way to the Activity Center to witness another incredible coordination of humanity, MV Production! MV Production is an annual play put on by a group of campers that spend three total interest group blocks and many “Your Times” working toward a performance in front of everyone else at camp. This year the campers tackled an original script dealing with topical allegories and themes of healthy leadership and group dynamics based around the premise of a group of campers getting lost in the woods without their leader. The play involved the thrilling use of a high-challenge climbing element as well as lots of sound cues and a climactic “moo-off” (ask your camper what that means). The set was designed and put together by the campers and utilized the large sliding doors at the front of the activity center. The actor’s voices rang clear and true as they told the story in a way which I’m sure brought a ghostly tear to Shakespeare’s eye, wherever his body is buried.
With one day of camp left I am always inspired by campers’ ability to turn the sadness of the approaching end into energy to spur them to make the absolute most of their time. I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you who sent campers here this summer for allowing us to spend the summer with them. The vivacity for life they bring to every moment enkindles the spirit of everyone here at Merrowvista to adventure more daringly and be the absolute best version of ourselves as we too head back into the world when the last camper leaves. When you pick up your campers in the coming days, know that each and every one of them individually impacted this community for the better.
And for those of you who are like me and excited by food, we had ravioli for dinner tonight! (As well as an overflowing salad bar and alternative options to make anyone with a dietary restriction or choice’s heart swell –I know mine did!)
Keep your enkindled spirit burning brightly! Much love,