Week One: Complete! Campers and staff alike are quickly realizing how fast leadership camp is moving along, and have readily adopted the belief that there is not a moment to waste. This weekend was most certainly no exception. After McWain Day (turned McWain Weekend?) came to an end late Saturday evening beneath the fireworks, Sunday morning was all about returning to our roots. We took time to talk about the importance of recognizing those around us, and brought back classic letter writing at the picnic tables in the grove.
The CITs changed out of their Sunday best and spent the morning rebuilding a washed out path leading to Zig House, then quickly transitioned to a full lodge clean up. But where were all the counselors?? As John Reisert watched over the campers in the grove, and discussed the art of the thank you note, the remaining staff snuck around camp setting up for a surprise afternoon activity.
We had (for the first time ever?) Sunday dinner outside in the grove. John, Jorge and Lacey whipped up a FANTASTIC roast beef dinner accompanied by all the fixin’s. Rich finished off our meal by calling up John Reisert and presenting him with the coveted decade club vest. He shared stories of John’s journey to Birch Rock, testimonials from past cabin counselors, and of course, heartfelt messages from current staff. Congratulations, John, and welcome to the club!
After lunch Musc tried, but he just couldn’t contain his excitement any longer. He jumped up and announced the first ever BIRCH ROCK AMAZING RACE!! (Thank you, Matt Schwind). What better way to end an amazing weekend, than with a full camp relay race that tests all essential Birch Rock skills while slowly working its way up the hill to determine the ultimate champions.
The race started in kayaks next to the Plate’s dock. After the whistle blew, a member of each team paddled furiously to our raft where they tagged in their next teammates. Members of each team participated in a three-leg PFD diaper swim before tagging in their next teammate at Joe’s. Each team had to build a fire large enough to burn through a rope suspended about 15 inches in the air. Once completed, they moved to Nature where their knowledge of local plants and trees were put to the test by environmental enthusiast, Jack Duggan. From there, each team moved to the tennis court where they had to serve four consecutive balls into the correct service box. This proved much easier for some teams than others. Next up, mountain biking. A quick sprint from the tennis court to Buzzard’s Roost signaled the rather quick, and slightly terrifying, downhill portion to the boathouse, before the grueling climb back up to Onie’s porch. From there teams were put to the test by Matt Rotman in the woodshop. Hammering: fairly basic, and pretty easy, right? Wrong. Not when you need to get 12 nails into one piece of wood with the whole camp cheering behind you. Everyone’s patience was put to the test. Once woodshop was all hammered out (oh….I get it!), campers moved quickly to the archery field. Time to test some accuracy. Campers had their choice of hitting two balloons at 50 yards, four balloons at 40 yards, six balloons at 30 yards, or eight balloons at 20 yards. First camper to arrive got first choice, and the last one to arrive was stuck with whatever was left (sorry, Sam Cluggish). After eight rounds of arrows, everyone had moved onto the soccer field where each contender had to hit the crossbar and post on the nets from penalty kick distance. From there, the three point challenge kept Musc busy while each team desperately tried to make five three-pointers before moving on to the baseball backstop. Here each camper had to show off their pitching skills and knock balls off the top of cones before heading to the final challenge: the baton race. Each team sent in their four best runners to complete a lap each around the big field. The teams remained right on top of each other throughout the whole event, slowly climbing ahead from time to time, and occasionally slipping back. Ultimately, MWA brought it home and were the first to cross the finish line – winning them an evening in Onie’s complete with Netflix and snacks. Second place took home some candy and soda, third place won a short motorboat ride during instructional swim, and fourth place earned a tray of hot beverages with their breakfast.
After an exhausting afternoon, all of camp enjoyed a long general swim and dinner in the grove. The day was finished with Tree Talk at the Birch Rock and a few camp songs to send everyone off to bed. If there is anyone who knows how to do a weekend right, it is Birch Rock!
Best Cabin: Eagle’s Nest
Best Bed: Sam K.
Super Camper: Julian W.