by Bill and Sabina McMahon, Co-Directors
When Bill stands up in the dining hall and states: “Camp should be . . .” the boys all yell in unison, “Fun!” And fun it has been during this past week. As you know, most days we post over a hundred pictures on our web site to help you see all the great things happening at camp. Please don’t despair, however, if you don’t see your kids in pictures for a day or two. It may be they are out on an overnight trip. Also, we don’t shoot using a checklist; we just take pictures as best we can.
Thursday and Friday, July 12th and 13th, ended our previous week on a busy note with campers moving in many directions. Trips at the end of the week included the Junior Bs (eight-and nine-year-olds) having overnights at our log cabin at the Point, a volunteer group of campers going top-rope rock climbing in Rumney, another group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) spending two days canoeing on the flats and rapids of Lake Umbagog and the Androscoggin River, and the Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) spending an afternoon battling the rapids at the Baker Cliffs water hole. The most anticipated trip, however, may have been the traditional Inter B (eleven-year-old) hike up our namesake mountain Moosilauke which was followed by meals and an overnight at the world famous Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. The boys did a great job on the 7-mile round trip hike that reached 4802 feet at its apex. A highlight in camp was when one of our younger campers took a record 167 steps on our slack-line without having to jump off. Competition Thursday and Friday included a 13’s lax tournament and a 15’s dodge ball fest. Dinner Friday night was a cookout down the field that featured chicken, sausages, rolls, corn, and pasta salad.
Saturday, July 14th, started as many have this summer with a few campers and counselors swimming across the lake before breakfast. To keep it safe, a camper and counselor swim across to the other side escorted by a lifeguard or two in a canoe. They then switch roles for the journey back. And then of course, the Moosebears did their thing at 7:45 in the am. Saturday itself was both a very structured day, and also a very free-form one. The structure came in the form of a full day’s worth of land sport competition versus a peer camp. Every age group had at least two competitive events. Sports included Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, and baseball. When not competing the boys had free choice periods. Popular activities included stand-up paddle boarding, water skiing, wood shop, with a little reading in the hammocks thrown in at the end of the day. Other activities on Saturday included a volunteer mountain biking trip to Indian Pond and a volunteer hike up Mt. Cardigan. Lunch at camp was chicken tenders, smiley fries, salad bar, and corn chowder. Dinner was our Saturday night regular: pizza fest and salad bar followed by chocolate cake. After dinner, the senior hill cabin that won the weekly cabin cleaning contest headed off to Fairlee for their drive-in movie prize.
Per our weekly routine Sunday began with a brunch that ran from 8:30 to 9:45. Once again, our chef David was the star of the morning making over 100 omelets to order at a station he set up in the main dining hall. By 10:00, all the campers were down the hill for “lazy Sunday” free choice play. Right before lunch we had a swim followed by a check in with the nurses for all of junior hill to make sure the boys were clean and healthy. After a lunch of Chicken Marsala, it was time for rest hour and then an afternoon and evening of fun with our neighboring girls’ camp. Wacky, co-ed activities included water balloon toss, musical chairs, a three-legged race, and a hula hoop pass. Homemade sno-cones were a big hit at snack time. Dinner was a cookout at the girl’s camp, which was followed by an all ages dance. As is usual the dancing that took place was in large groups so that all were comfortable to take part.
Monday started a little overcast but once again turned into a hot, sunny day. Breakfast was Texas French toast. After breakfast the camp sang a rousing version of “There was a crazy Moose” in honor of Bill’s mom visiting. In its totality, Monday was one of those days that cause all of us to pause and just smile at the sheer number of cool activities and trips taking place. The big trip on Monday was the SA1 (fifteen-year-olds) adventure to Canada. The first day they took a chartered coach to the New World Rafting center in Quebec where they stayed in cabins. The second day was spent rafting the class IV and V rapids of the Rouge River with professional guides. That evening the boys had free time to walk around Montreal (as a group), with the return to camp Wednesday. The trip was a memorable capstone experience for our oldest campers.
On Monday a second volunteer group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) left for what was supposed to be a three day Mt. Washington backpacking adventure. However, rain and 35 mile-per-hour winds caused the trip leaders to make the safe call and bring the boys back to camp a day early. Monday also saw all the Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) head off to Belle Island on Newfound Lake for an overnight wilderness adventure. The trip began with a mile long canoe out to an island, which we rent. The boys then spent the day playing in the lake, fishing, and setting up camp on the island. After a burger and hotdog dinner the boys had s’mores and told stories at the camp fire. Many of the Juniors (eight, nine, and ten-year-olds) headed off for a morning and/or afternoon (in two different groups) of exploring the other side of the lake on mountain bikes, complete with swimming and a snack. Competition on Monday included an all ages tennis tournament and a 12’s baseball game. Dinner on Monday was spaghetti and meatballs followed by a livelier than usual announcement time. First off, Bill quizzed the camp on famous Moose alumni who have gone on to make their mark in professional sports. (Can you name 4?) Then the whole 12’s baseball team got up and reenacted (with a tinfoil ball) a spectacular double play they completed in their afternoon game. Finally, we had another segment of “Moosilauke’s Got Talent” during which a camper danced and a counselor told a joke.
Tuesday was the first morning in weeks where a little rain fell. The rain, however, did not keep our Counselor in Training campers from beginning their lifeguard training: they were out before breakfast taking the initial swim test part of the program. After a breakfast of make your own egg sandwiches (with options including eggs, English muffins, cheese, and sausage patties) the camp held an impromptu “Brush with Nature” segment at announcements during which Sabina talked about running into a bear (literally), counselors talked about seeing a Moose, and campers discussed spotting bald eagles (on the Umbagog trip). A little rain mid-morning caused us to cancel the last am activity period. All in all, the boys seemed happy to have a little downtime after all the days of sun and activities. The big trip on Tuesday was a group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) heading for a canoe overnight on Newfound Lake. The boys had a great day jumping off the rocks, swimming, and fishing. In terms of the latter, one of the counselors caught a 4 pound bass that they cooked over the campfire and ate as a first course. Later the campers played a treasure hunt type game on the rented island that entailed searching for hidden treats. Although the campers experienced a little rain on their island, their tents kept them dry and happy. A volunteer group of Senior A2s spent the day doing maintenance on the section of the Cross Rivendell trail that Moosilauke stewards. After their hard work Port treated the group to a lunch at a local diner. The only inter-camp competition on Tuesday was a 10’s baseball game. Tuesday came to an exciting close as the camp was treated to rain and a thunderstorm that brought us some much needed cooler temps.
Wednesday we were back to hot, sunny weather, perfect for the 14’s soccer tournament (which we swept) and an 11’s basketball tournament. In terms of trips, Wednesday saw another group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) head to Cliff Island for a canoe overnight and a different group of Inter As leave for an overnight backpacking adventure on Mt. Kinsman near Franconia Notch. The big event on Wednesday was the pig roast and cookout we put on down on the fields. The 150 pound pig (which was split in half and cooked all day on a special grill) was served with out-of-this-world maple bread, and baked beans. The highlight of the evening was the annual counselor baseball game that included a wacky PA announcer and all the peanuts the campers could eat.
On Thursday the Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) headed of to Burlington, Vermont for a two day experience which included a bit of shopping in town, a night at the ballpark watching the Single A Vermont Lake Monsters baseball team, a campout on Lake Champlain, and a tour of the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. The Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) had their own “fluff” trip, which included a day at a water park and a night at a minor league baseball game in Manchester, NH. Thursday also saw a final group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) venture to Newfound Lake for a two day canoe and camping adventure. At camp, Thursday was a typical Moosilauke day (“T.M.D.”) filled with a full morning and afternoon schedule with many campers working on their achievements in our 18 different activity areas. As you may know, at the end of the session each camper receives a Moosilauke Achievement Certificate, which highlights the levels they achieved along with the trips in which they participated.
Even though we have only have a week to go, there is much left to do: a golf outing, a white water canoe and kayak day trip, another climbing adventure, more inter-camp competition (especially for the older boys), more skill classes, “Coke” league baseball intramurals, and of course our two day Red and Grey competition in which the whole camp is divided into two teams. During our Color War the boys compete in a plethora of activities, including: most land sports, swimming and canoe races on the waterfront, mega-relays, fire building, biggest fish, and even a song contest in which both teams sing a composition they write (usually set to a popular song). And of course the session ends with our banquet meal and last night monster bonfire and torch ceremony.