Hanging With Our Campers

Posted by Steve Baskin on Jun 27, 2019 7:37:40 PM
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I have alluded to Friendship Games and Man Cave in a previous blog, but I did not fully explain them. Please allow me to describe this valued tradition.


About 10 years ago, Susie Ma’am and I realized that we rarely get to spend time with campers when things are all going well. Sure, we see them at torchlight, meals and activities, but we do not get time to chat with them for long.


As a rule, camp directors tend to be more like first responders – we are brought in for more challenging situations. First responders show up for fires or kittens stuck in trees, but are rarely invited to picnics. Similarly, we camp directors can find ourselves spending the entire day helping campers who might be struggling or counselors who need advice.


As a result, we directors can go entire days without enjoying a great laugh or a simple conversation with a camper.


So we started Friendship Games and Man Cave. They are very similar, but the campers think they are different due to their names only. Campers come to our home with their cabin. They each get a slushy, some Oreos + Doritos and we sit in a circle and talk. [Note: we actively avoid junk food at Camp Champions, but Susie Ma’am and I make an exception for these sessions. You might think we are stacking the deck to help assure that they will enjoy spending time with us.  You would be right.]


Occasionally, I will share a quote or conversation from one of these gatherings in my blogs. Here is one from each.


During Friendship Games, Susie Ma’am likes to ask thought-provoking questions. One of her favorites is “what scares you, but you want to do it anyway?”


Here are typical responses:


  • The Climbing Wall
  • The Zip line
  • The Pirate Ship
  • Water skiing
  • The Lake Swim


But Susie Ma’am got a truly original response today from an 11 year-old:


“Adopting a baby.”


That is an ambitious young woman!




During a Man Cave, a 13 year-old boy asked me why we make the camp tech-free. [Note: I took this picture, so I am not in it.  I think Susie Ma'am looks lovely with the girls of her Friendship Games.]


I smiled and responded, “To give you power!”


The guys looked at me with puzzled expressions. I then explained.


“Technology is cool, but the tech companies want you to use too much of it. The happiest people I know are those who can make face-to-face friends – people who truly connect.


“Your friends may never go a single day without looking at a phone. They will not think it is possible. But you know that you have the power to put your phone down.”


They liked that answer.


So do I.


Steve Sir