It’s that time of year again and the session has hit its biggest moment. In the last few days the camp has gotten busier than ever as the Olympic Games came to town. Now, if you want a good synopsis of what the Olympic Games are at Camp Nor’wester, you can check out my blog post from first session last year. But for those returners, I’d like to do something other than just a recap post and explaining what the games are. But for those of you that are first time parents and campers, I’ll give you a quick rundown.
On the second and third to last day of each session, the campers are divided into two teams: Red and Blue. They elect a boy and a girl captain from the oldest unit, as well as team mascots, cheerleaders, and musicians. They then rotate through stations around camp competing in different events. There’s something for everyone, from trivia games to sporting events each camper has his or her time to shine. In addition, each team is given a song from the songbook to perform as a group, they also choose a second “secret song” that is then performed for the entire camp with no notes to read from. As a past camper I can say my fondest and most vivid memories are from the Olympic games and it’s something most campers look forward to with mixed emotions because it is the best time at camp, but it’s also the sign that the session is almost over.
What I want to talk briefly about is why the Olympics really are great, and what happens around camp on those days. They really are the two greatest days of camp in my opinion, simply because almost every camper really finds their niche, and is given the opportunity to come out of their shell. This point in the summer is about as close as they are going to get. They have been living with their units for a long time now, and camp has really started to feel like home. This newfound confidence is really what causes the campers to shine. Just moments before writing this blogpost, I watched a camper that had come for 8 years perform at her second Musicale. From what I could tell she had always wanted to do it, but never had done it. It was incredible to hear the entire camp community instantly erupt in cheer when her unit leader that she performed with commented that it was only her second musicale and she was nervous. She hadn’t even started singing and she already was grinning ear to ear as the camp rose up to support her (not to mention, she knocked it out of the park!). Moments like that are almost a dime a dozen during the Olympics. A Ranger who usually chose to stay in the back and watch rose up and chose to be his team’s representative for a Waterfront event.
Camp is an amazing place, there aren’t many places in the world that build confidence faster than this place does, and what the Olympics can do after three and a half weeks of building confidence allows dozens of opportunities for campers to rise up and have their moments to shine. At the end of the Olympics, right before the winners are announced, the captains from each team get up and give a speech. All four of them hit on this note in their speeches: camp gives you the opportunity to try new things and put yourself out there in a safe and friendly environment The Olympics really is the culmination of that for first session, and it’s always amazing to see what these kids are able to do with the opportunity.
Scott Minard, Photographer