Temperatures were high in valley today, but so were the spirits of the young people here. And that was vital, because there is much to be done on the first full day of camp! The morning started with our in-camp groups continuing their orientation to Merrowvista. Learning the ins and outs of life here and getting to know the people they’ll be sharing their next two to three weeks with is hard work, but campers rose to the challenge. There was action all around – groups of children traveling from health center “head massages” (lice checks), to Dan Hole Pond for a mandatory (and much appreciated) swim assessment. The Four Trails groups packed their things, went through safety precautions, and got through their pre-trip lists. Having the sprinklers on as campers passed through made checking off these to-dos seem like just the opposite.
After a quick refuel at lunch, the campers were ready for some much-deserved fun. Because all of this preparation was for one thing: a wonderful summer camp experience. They scattered across camp into activities they had chosen and engaged in their very first Interest Group Adventure! We said farewell to our Odyssey groups as they journeyed to Maine to begin their hike of the 100 mile wilderness! The events that make up camp finally began on this hot July 2nd.
We capped the evening by gathering for what’s known as Opening Council. Every group stepped out in front of the entire community, introduced themselves, and lead us in a song. These acts of courage were affirmed simply by the crowd’s willingness to join in the fun. There was joy, laughter, and good old rowdy energy in the council circle. With over 250 people of different backgrounds all close around the fire, it was clear how special it was just to be a part of this unique experience. The potential of this summer was pointed out to all who were present – we can discover our own selves, we can help bring out the best in one another, we can create a magic that can only be made by this particular group of people in these particular moments in time. If we dare, the adventure awaits.