A Day of Thanksgiving for Birch Rock Camp- August 12th Blog

Today began with the soothing sounds of WBRC radio, bringing everything to everyone from funky tunes to important news. The dominating story in the news today was the stunning turn of events in the triathlon: Campbell H. was ruled out due to medical concerns. Campbell had dominated the event placing first the past two summers, so this change had massive consequences in podium predictions. Sports books across the country made drastic last-minute re-writes to the betting line. Instantly, Aidan S. became the favorite, due to coming in second last summer behind Campbell, despite the new, untested competition. New to the event this summer were Trent G., Cole C., Ben A., and Fritts J.; while the returning veterans were Aidan S., Sam K., Josh R., and Quinn C.. After breakfast, at exactly 10:30, the athletes were off. Cole C. wasted no time in proving himself as the dark horse favorite of the race during the swimming portion by coming in a close second out of the water behind Sam K. I only saw the swimming portion due to working as a lifeguard, but after the two of them got out, they were followed closely by Aidan. This trio created such a lead from that portion that they went on to take the podium. Cole lost a little speed on the running portion, and fell to third. Meanwhile, house favorite Aidan S. only managed to pass Cole, despite having the fast running split at an even 8:00, coming in a very impressive second place. Sam K. won the whole thing out right with a time of 39.24. I would like to shout out Ben A., who finished 5th overall, yet had the fastest biking split at 18:42, a whole minute and a half ahead of the next biking split. 

After the race, these athletes were rewarded with a trip to the raft during the all camp general swim. 

Now, as you may or may not know, summer camps have a reputation for being traditionlists.   Birch Rock certainly falls under that description by having many end of year traditions and ceremonies that may seem somewhat unique..  The whole camp split off for the afternoon for various games and tasks. The new campers and staff went on the annual lycopodium hunt. The plant was the favorite of Onie Brewster and we collect some every year in her honor. The oldest campers were split into lodge clean-up, lodge set-up, and car-washing (yes, we listened to the classic song by Rose Royce on repeat). Meanwhile, the unaffiliated played games on the field. 

Once tasks were complete, everyone enjoyed a long general swim and rest period. During the rest period, staff (myself included) shaved their beards. We grow our beards to totally throw the campers off of how old we are. Campers don’t seem to understand that there are ages that exist between being their own age and their parent’s age. And growing the beard just makes this more complicated to them. For example I’m 22, and when I have the beard, campers regularly think I’m a forty year old with my own kids. But, once we shave it’s more obvious that we’re young and the prestige of old age is lost from us. 

Dinner was the legendary banquet. Everyone dresses in uniform, the lodge walls are decorated with pine bows, the taxidermy animals are given eccentric costumes, and everyone sits at one long, white-table cloth, swan-origami folded napkin, candle-lit, table for the feast of the summer. It’s like a kids first impression of a Friendsgiving. The food is the same as a Thanksgiving with turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, but missing the important Thanksgiving ingredient; relatives. 

The most exciting part of Banquet, besides the banana splits for dessert, for me, was the opening of this year’s staff shirt. Every year, the staff get shirts with the year and a quote on the back. We debate on what it’s going to look like, what color, what material, big or small logo on the front. This year the quote was “together we can accomplish mulch,” It’s also maroon for the first time since 2017, and it’s a very soft cotton/poly mix. But the biggest turn was in the logo size department. Mike hit us with the unknown third option of no-logo. Instead, our shirts say in big, friendly, non-threatening, white letters on the front (in all caps) BIRCH ROCK STAFF. Chaos ensued, staff were screaming, crying, Cole Madden fainted, all at the beautiful, first-of-it’s-kind (that I know of) no-logo staff shirt. I’m still recovering from the excitement. 

Last on the agenda, was the awards and badges ceremony. Over 300 badges were given out to this session’s kids alone (so you can imagine how long this whole thing lasted). I won’t go over all of them, or any of them really, but it was a truly impressive display of accomplishment. This event was capped off by the revealing of this year’s plaques – with much praise and gratitude for the extraordinary craftsmanship of Counselors Nathan Shatz and Seth Brewster!  Gents, – Thanks for your talent, time and preservation of BRC 2021.

Written by John Reisert

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