The telltale crunch of gravel and a cloud of dust in the distance followed by the gleaming grill of an SUV cresting the driveway from McWain Hill Road announced the official opening of Birch Rock Camp’s 90th season.
Let that sink in a moment. Ninety summers ago, parents driving a convoy of Model T’s and the like were also dropping off their bright-eyed boys for a summer of adventure, education and friendship. The times may have changes, as have the modes of transportation and camp uniforms, but the values that were instilled by Chief and Onie Brewster on Day One of Season One so many years ago remain strong.
Greetings were exchanged, hands were shaken, maroon shirts were donned and pictures were taken, and, before we knew it, a spirited game of Geronimo was underway on the field as if the last summer had continued uninterrupted. For those unfamiliar with it, the basic premise is to remove your shirt and tuck it into the rear of your shorts, adorn yourself with red or black paint (after applying sunscreen, of course), and then work to retrieve your spirit stick from the opposite team whilst playing defense against the other team as they try to do the same by pulling their tail, whereupon they must wait for a shaman to heal …
Well, it’s complicated. But the kids love it. After the dust settled, Rustam N. of Hilton A was the last warrior standing, and he was carried off the field in triumph by his teammates.
After that, Chief Mike, Head Counselor Bob and The King led the new campers on a personal guided tour of the hillside, showing them the ins and outs of where they will be going tomorrow. They soon caught up with the rest for a well-deserved all-camp General Swim after all the running about on a balmy June afternoon.
The evening mellowed out into the first Tree Talk of the summer down at the Birch Rock on the waterfront, in which every camper introduced himself to the rest of the community and said what he is most looking forward to this summer. While doing such a thing might be intimidating to many kids, all stepped forward and spoke up and shared a little about himself. And, of course, Charlie T. assured everyone that more of his signature dance moves are forthcoming.
All of a sudden, we were singing “Let’s Hit the Hay” and dispersing to our cabins for a cool night of deep sleep beneath a blanket or two, eager to hit the ground running tomorrow.
It’s official: summer has begun.
Best Bed: Nurse Cathy
Best Cabin: Lion’s Den
Super Camper: Sam R.
Day 1 of activities; the CITs do a service project; senior campers prepare for trips; Head Counselor Bob inspects beds; parents get late wake-up and extra rest periods