July 23rd – Opening Day for Discoverers and Four Weekers

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Greetings everyone! Welcome to the start of another great session at Merrowvista. With three weeks of camp under our belt and a memorable, meaningful send off to our session A campers, the Merrowvista staff have turned their attention towards welcoming our 1 week and 4 week campers of session B.

This particular opening day is always one of my favorites. Today we see campers at the beginning and the end of their years at camp. We welcome the Discoverer campers, the majority of whom are joining us for the first time at camp. Their energy can be nervous, as there is much uncertainty when coming to a big new experience like this. But there is no more pure excitement than when these fresh campers engage with the fun of camp. Then there are the Four weekers, often our oldest, most experienced campers who return as if to a homecoming. Apprehensive to see what a year has changed in their friends and in themselves, but enthused in arriving back to a place of adventure and possibility.

This mix was on full display today, as seven villages of Discoverer campers poured into the valley alongside our 4 week Trailblazers, Explorers, Adventurers, and Voyageurs. Throughout the afternoon village leaders gave tours, played games, and initiated conversations with the goal of helping campers connect with the place, the people and the fun of camp. Songs and laughter announced their presence long before they could be spotted, the MV staff doing their best to show that this is a safe place where it is okay to be silly. The elder campers roamed the campus in the lead up to dinner, returning to familiar and favorite spots, their groups gaining numbers as the afternoon wore on. Their escapades will soon be taking them afield, and they seem eager to soak up the time in camp.

Following a well-received pasta and meatball feast, the Discoverers and Trailblazers gathered on the A-field for our traditional opening carnival. Kelcie, David, and Marty, the pioneer program coordinators, introduced themselves, lead a song, and officially welcomed all campers to the Merrowvista family. Groups spent the rest of the evening rotating through different offerings of games and goofiness, including a station for group photo ops (with props).

The Four Trails campers enjoyed a more reflective evening, gathering at the waterfront after dark to listen by firelight to Sarah and Andrew, the Four Trails Coordinators, share insight on the trip program. Older campers offered learnings from the trail for the benefit of the younger, an opportunity for the campers themselves to shape the culture of this on trail community. Moments like this make us wish these campers spent more time with us on site, but we know there are grander adventures for in wait away from the shores of Dan Hole Pond. We’ll look forward to hearing their tales from the trail when they return.

It’s quiet now in the valley as the villages of Merrowvista slip away towards sleep. The calm provides a peaceful juxtaposition to the chorus of joy that has held sway over the camp this evening. Tomorrow begins our first full day of camp, and we move ahead into this new session with excitement and optimism for all the fun that lay ahead in the next one or four weeks. Stay tuned and check back in to read about the highlights. We’ll do our best to bring you in on all the magic of Merrowvista.