There’s something in the air up here that makes boys want to be big brothers, to lend a helping hand to those who are younger. I see it with all our campers: they want to act like counselors. With my three kids here, even the Chips have an opportunity to act like counselors when they’re around them. I noticed a few of our staff members clearly getting a kick out of watching Chips (ages 8 and 9) act like they, too, are on staff when they’re around our kids. No matter their age, campers like to take on these “counselor responsibilities” – and Ty and my children are thrilled with all of the kindness and inclusion that they feel. It also gives them a small glimpse of what our incredible counselors do to make everyone’s days a little more magical and special. Campers quickly understand that making someone else’s day in turn makes yours own day as well.
I am always so impressed with the family feel that we see around camp. For the spectacular, Shay (our oldest) has picked her favorite team to join (based on shirt colors of course) and has been joining in during dodgeball, some meals, and cheering. The team has made her feel part of the group and part of the team. The opposing teams encourage her to join and try new activities and they do the same for their other teammates. They encourage each other when someone falls, they help them shake it off if a mistake is made, and they congratulate the other team even if the other team wins.
As we conclude on our 38th spectacular, our core values of sportsmanship and enthusiasm are front and center. With 10 spectacular teams (up 2 from previous years due to our increased number of campers) we try to remind everyone that although we are all competing to get first place, ultimately we are all on Team Kawaga and the event in itself is a win for all of us. The build up gives the kids an extra boost of energy as we head into our 4th week. The events allow campers to bond with kids from outside of their age group. They get totally consumed from small events such as spike ball, ping pong, or knowledge bowl to the larger events like football, flicker hooks and my personal favorite song and skit.
Song and skit is a time that the entire team is on stage, singing at the top of their lungs, acting out creative stories made by the senior members of each team. Everyone plays a role and oftentimes the kids that you least expect to feel comfortable on stage are the ones that steal the show. The teams take songs we all know like Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Bang Bang Bang by AJR and change the lyrics to make it full Kawaga. You never hear the original song in the same way and I absolutely love it.
As the Spectacular ends, it also means that the first session is ending. This means we have to get ready to say “so long” to our first-session campers. What a fast and fantastic four weeks! We have a lot of eight-week campers, so even though we’re having a Virtual Visitors Weekend this summer, our eight-weekers will have plenty of company after our first-session campers leave. We will have lots of activities to keep them busy as we wait for our second-session boys to hurry up and get here. And, you’ll get to spend some virtual time with your sons soon!
Be Excited. Be Proud. Be Kawaga.