Hello founder friends! My name is Kal Bowers and I am the new Camper Experience Coordinator here at Merrowvista. My primary job is reaching out to families that are new to Merrowvista before their arrival. I also help Daniel Hope (the Community Coordinator) organize and facilitate our large group events.
Today was the first full day of Session B! Although it was definitely a “silver day” here in the Canaan Valley, it did not stop our new campers from starting off their time here with a bang. For Discoverer campers, today was filled with new songs, activities, and experiences. The morning started with Flag Raising, where the Co-ed Voyageur village shared what their motivation was to get out of bed this morning. Breakfast was led by Camp Director Kris Light, and from there campers launched into their swim assessments and Health Center rotations. Although it was chilly out, campers jumped into Dan Hole Pond enthusiastically to give our Waterfront team a chance to see their skill level in the water. This is not a swim test, but a mechanism to place campers into their swimming lesson level. We made sure campers were warmed up after drying off with hot chocolate and warm blankets. It was then their turn to make the long walk up to the Health Center to meet our Health Team! Campers got familiar with the Health Team so they feel comfortable approaching them if any health issue arises.
Lunch was an energetic hour where we warmed up with hot dogs and mac and cheese and our first song challenges were introduced; campers challenged other villages to gather around their table and lead the community in a song. Favorites include “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Grow the Corn.” After Easy Time, Pioneer and Trailblazer orientation took place. This is our chance to introduce in-camp campers to their coordinators. The coordinators led songs, went over the daily schedule, talked about the importance of hygiene while at camp and so forth. The first round of Interest Group activities started and campers got a taste of what daily life would be like at Merrowvista. Discoverer campers will have the opportunity to have two rounds of interest groups here, four each day. After dinner we enjoyed one of my favorite nights of camp, Opening Council. We invite each Village to introduce themselves to the Merrowvista community and lead everyone in a song. It is a long night of song and joy that can be heard throughout the entire valley.
Four Trails campers started to gear up for their trips by learning about safety and health during First Aid Rotations today. Adventurer and Voyageur campers went on their shakedowns, a short day trip to warm them up for the trip ahead of them. As the role models in camp, they led the new campers in songs and traditions, passing on their enthusiasm for this place to the next generation.
Tomorrow our Voyageur campers leave for their journey across Nova Scotia, an incredible 4-week experience that is often the culmination of their Merrowvista experience. Both my brother and I have completed Voyageur, and this year is my sister’s turn. It is a very emotional experience to see someone that you have watched grow up cross this threshold.
That is all for now, we are all hoping for a “Golden Day” full of sun tomorrow as we start our first full round of interest group activities. And as for the rain, I have a favorite saying: “Nothing is waterproof, but everything will dry.”