At dinner, we hosted the T-Bone Club. The members of the club are the campers finishing 8th grade who are entering their last week as normal campers. Once they are in 9th grade, they will return as Senior Campers (our high school leadership program). So this last week is extra precious to us and to them.
With this in mind, we invite them to the Outdoor Cooking Pavilion during our Sunday picnic. While the rest of the camp is enjoying hamburgers and host dogs (and miscellaneous other outdoor fare), the T-Bone Club gets a special treat.
They dress up. We dress up (I am partial to a kilt+tuxedo look while Susie Ma’am keeps it simple and classy). We set tables and serve them a meal of steaks, double stuffed potatoes, green bean casserole, bread stick and strawberry cake. We toast each other using sparking grape juice in plastic champagne flutes.
In short, we celebrate them.
A handful are in their first summer, but you would not know it to look at them. We also had two in their 8th summer. But tonight, they were united and having fun.
One of the aspects of camp I adore is finding ways to celebrate each age group. Tonight, it was the 8th graders. Other days, we shine the spotlight on the youngest campers or the middle schoolers. Sometimes we feature our first-time campers and others the more experienced lot. The Division Leaders (DLs) manage to convince each Division that they are the lucky ones – the preferred age and gender. And each division is absolutely positive that their DL is the correct one.
I also love the fact that all the different ages get a chance to see each other. Schools no longer provide this opportunity. Generally, students span 3-5 grades at one school before advancing to the next. As a result of this tendency, a 2nd grader cannot “see” what it looks like to be a 6th grader, an 8th grader or an 11th grader. Here at camp, the younger campers see a glimpse into their future. They see the activities and responsibilities that future years will bring. They know where they will live and the challenges they will embrace. I believe this empowers them; it gives them knowledge about their future that they can embrace.
I will end here today. We awake tomorrow around 6:15 for the Boys Lake Swim, and I need to be rested and in full voice (I am the official time announcer)