We wait each year for this day: the smiles, the hugs, the laughter and the opportunities for growth!
We have had our two-week orientation and we cannot wait for the first campers to arrive. But we know that this is YOUR session at camp and we cannot wait to share our excitement and love with your campers.
I am delighted to say that this was unquestionably the best group of counselors I have ever had the pleasure of working with. During orientation, they were focused, attentive and enthusiastic. We have a record number of international counselors who provide a fun, different perspective to camp (over 20 from the UK alone). This group has been in sync for the past 2 weeks and are ready to practice everything that they have learned. They are deeply committed to our mission of helping children find their inner champions. They understand the importance of safety as a foundation to fun and growth.
They also know that they are not just serving campers, but they serve entire families.
Susie Ma’am and I are both so excited to be working with this group.
After you dropped off your children, we had swim tests and tours. The campers came together to write the rules for their cabin. We believe that campers behave best when they believe their voices are valued and they collaborate.
We just finished our first torchlight ceremony (I will explain this more in a later blog). The picture I share shows campers walking with their cabins to torchlight. We sang some songs, saw a skit featuring Susie Ma’am and enjoyed a short fireworks display. We took time to assure our new campers that the odd traditions and songs will soon become familiar and loved. I also stressed that we are all delighted to have them join our camp community. We love watching our returning campers reach out to their new friends and cabinmates. As my mom used to say, all campers have one thing in common on Opening Day – they all want to make new friends.
Now, your children are in their cabins. They are enjoying their first “nightly ritual” – a time for reflection, conversation and sharing. We started this tradition 4 years ago. Since creating it, we have found that cabins are more cohesive and happier with each other. They cultivate respect and gratitude.
The evening is cool with a slight breeze. The stars are winking at us. Simply stated, it is lovely.
Tonight, your children will sleep with their new friends and counselors. Tomorrow, we will wake at 7:30 and embrace our first full day of activities. It will be a full one, so we need to make sure that we all get a full night’s sleep.
Susie Ma’am and I have had the joyous pleasure to do this for 23 years. We look forward to a full night’s rest as well. After all, we need to keep up with a camp full of energetic campers!
I hope you enjoy this website. Enjoy the photos and take time to read the articles. We will provide you a nice one-way mirror into the life of camp. Some of these articles are new, but many are tried-and-true favorites. If you are a returning parent, please do not think we are getting lazy. Instead, we want to give our new families a chance to see what we value and what we are striving to accomplish at camp.
Until we see you at closing day – have a wonderful few weeks!
Tags: Parents, Counselors, Camper
One of the unique aspects of sleepaway camp is the cabin experience. Living with a group of 10 or so of your peers – and the supervision of two or three college-aged counselors – provides a critical opportunity for growth in many areas. Kids learn to communicate with each other effectively and positively, to collaborate and share their space and their time, and navigate conflict both on their own and with the assistance of their counselors. Every child benefits from practicing these skills, but perhaps none more so than an only child.
From Steve Sir:
During the second semester of his senior year, I asked my son Liam whether he had a case of “senioritis”. He responded that he did not like being idle and that high school did not provide the same challenge that it once had. He even suggested that he would not mind a little more homework (yeah, I gasped too).
With that, I asked him if he would be interested in writing an article about camp.
“Sure, what is the title?”
“How about ‘how camp prepared me for college?”
“I’ll think about it,” was his reply.
Four hours later, he sent me the following article. I'll split it into two different posts, as it's quite the letter.
I hope you enjoy it.
“How camp prepared me to leave home and thrive in college.”
In my last blog post (http://blog.campchampions.com/improvements-at-camp), I described some of camp’s biggest physical improvements over the past few years and gave a sneak preview of improvements and additions that are yet to come. We love our location and property here in Marble Falls. One of the best things about camp is all the cool things you can do as a camper – climbing, swimming, ziplining, skiing, horseback riding, and more.
Tags: Counselors, Camper, growth, Counselor Training
One of my favorite traditions at camp is called “Grateful Deeds”. Several times a week, we acknowledge “Grateful Deeds” at our nightly “torchlight” gathering.
We have begun our final week. We have just 6 more days of moments.
10 weeks ago, we brought in a speaker during counselor orientation that told us that life is full of "minutes" and "moments". A minute is 60 seconds.
Nothing happens in a minute.
But everything special happens in moments. Fears are overcome in moments, Friendships are cherished in moments. Sunsets are moments.
We have been in the moment business lately.
Last night, we had the first ever Torchlight ceremony in the pool. It was epic. The torchlighter came down the slide and the cheers and chants were all augmented with splashing. The Leadership Team acted as lifeguards so that the counselors could enjoy the festivities as well. We concluded with a counselor belly-flop competition. Great fun.
The campers that have been here for 1 or 3 weeks have come together incredibly well. They act truly like this is a family. Campers interact across age-ranges and everyone knows everyone. These campers are so quick to share a fun story, hold a counselor's hand or simply help each other. The conversations are fluid and easy.
This type of community is what we camp directors dream of.
Today, we added to the community. We have campers from San Antonio who are part of a study designed to prove that summer camp fosters critical character skills. We have a slew of former counselors, Leadership Team members and directors running the program, so I am very confident that the program will prove many of the benefits of camp.
We also added 27 adorable Batter Up campers. Batter Up is our 6-day introductory program for children finishing Kindergarten and 1st grade.
I truly adore this age group. 5-7 years olds have a certain simplicity about them. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying they are boring or predictable. In fact, "predictable" is not even on the menu.
I mean that they approach the world at face value and are truly present each day. A 6-year old girl is not worrying about whether she has exactly the right outfit on in the way that teens often do. A 7 year-old boy is not analyzing his status and adopting a persona to fit in as he might in 4-5 years.
Instead, what you see is what you get. If someone is upset, the cause (my marshmallow fell into the fire) is easy to identify and generally easy to remedy.
They make friends readily and bond happily as a group.
Their imaginations are unfettered and they play unselfconsciously.
In short, Camp Champions is a pretty special place to be today.
OK, I am running the risk of being a broken record. Yesterday, I wrote about framing experiences. Today, one of my “Big Picture” articles is about the same thing (“Like is what you sort for”).
But I just felt I had to share a quick story from today’s girls’ Lake Swim.