It is our pleasure to write this first letter from Moosilauke during our second session. As is our tradition, we will send an electronic letter home each week to make sure you know about all the activities, special events, and trips that make up the Moose Experience. You can view pictures from the summer (and even buy prints) by clicking on http://campmoosilaukephotos.shutterfly.com/. We will do our best to post pictures every day. We have also launched a new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CampMoosilauke. Please check it out and “like” it. 🙂 On this page we have posted a number of items including Bill’s speech from the 4.5-week Parents’ Day. Give it a read if you are interested in learning about the “essential coping skills” Madeline Levine believes all our kids need to develop.
On opening day about 50 counselors were on hand to greet arriving Moose families. This staff has come to Moose from 10 states and as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Latvia, England, Holland, Scotland, Hungary and Poland. These counselors are smart, well trained, and experienced individuals: 50% are Lifeguard certified; 50% of are over 21; and almost 70% of the adults working with campers are returning employees or have gone to Moose as campers. Here are a few quick bios on current counselors who have been at Moose for many years: Jordy Diamond, who is a canoeing counselor, attended Moose for 11 years, and is currently at Cornell; Colin McMahon, who headed our kayaking program until his recent departure for a term abroad, attended Moose for 14 years, and is currently at Colgate; Sam Hale, who is a baseball counselor, attended Moose for 12 years, and is heading to Colorado College this fall; Chris Smith, who is swimming counselor, attended Moose for 10 years, and is currently at Hobart; Brad Garczynski, who is a baseball counselor, attended Moose for 9 years, and is currently at Dartmouth; Stephen Povich, who is a soccer counselor, attended Moosilauke for 8 years, and is currently at Dartmouth; and Andrew Stone, who is a baseball counselor, attended Moosilauke for 8 years, and is currently at Boston College.
The weather gods cooperated on Opening Day giving us a rain-free afternoon that allowed us to efficiently get through all the necessary unpacking, nurse check-ins, and meetings with new parents. Once all the parents left the fun really began. It started with a camp wide game of “Bill Says” that morphed into tours by big brothers for all new campers and then into our first meal (Moose burgers and fries.) Our formal orientation began at dinner with each table playing icebreaker games. The new campers enjoyed sitting next to their Camp Big Brothers. After dinner our Head Counselor Preston emceed a Moose trivia contest that had the kids howling but also imparted some valuable Moose facts. Then it was down to the fields for fun orientation games followed by wacky counselor introductions by activity area.
Tuesday dawned on a raucous note as over 60 campers and counselors took part in our pre-breakfast Moose Bears swim club. Believe it or not, the majority of your kids are voluntarily going for a swim at 7:45 in the morning (at least for the first few days!). And what a swim it is: along with a quick dip, they dance, chant and sing. After a breakfast of croissants, hash browns, hot and cold cereals, fruit, granola, and yogurt, Bill gave his annual talk about how to stay safe if there is lightning. It was then time for an impromptu Moose talent show that included one individual reciting the alphabet backwards and another doing a card trick. After a review of the morning schedule and the previous day’s sports scores it was time for our first cabin cleanup and then our three morning instructional periods that included swim tests. During noon free time about 30 campers opted to go for a one or two mile run.
After a lunch of BLT sandwiches, steak fries, salad bar, and soup, Bill regaled the camp with fun Moose history, including shout outs to alumni like the visionary behind the Appalachian Trail, Vince Lombardi, a writer for the New York Times, and a major league baseball manager. The only trip on our first full day was an all ages rock climbing trip to Rumney, NH. The eight boys who took part had a great time learning to top-rope climb at one of the East’s great crags. The afternoon saw our first inter-camp land sport competitions: a 12s soccer tournament and a 15s lacrosse game. Smiles were seen on all the campers mid-afternoon as they enjoyed a popsicle snack. The taco dinner Tuesday night was a huge hit as evidenced by the quiet in the dining hall. The highlight of the post dinner period was the performance of the original song “Daydreaming about Moose” by counselors Josh and Robbie, followed by a more contemporary “Moose-il-lauke Rocks” rap/chant. The evening program included everything from an Ultimate Frisbee game to Kick the Can to a Ping-Pong tournament.
Campers were up and at it well before breakfast Wednesday: a group of volunteer fisherman headed out to the rocks and lily pads in search of pickerel, perch, and bass; and a hearty group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) left for a two day backpacking adventure in the Presidential Range. The first day the boys covered a total of 4.7 miles as they hiked up the Liberty Springs trail, set up camp, and then continued up to the top of Mt. Liberty. Dinner was a fabulous concoction of rice, beans, and kielbasa. The next day the boys summited Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette before heading down the Green Leaf trail. The boys were rewarded for all their hard work with a pizza dinner at Elvio’s in Woodstock. Day trips on Wednesday included a Senior B (thirteen-year-old) bike trip to the Wentworth Waterhole (ten miles round trip with a steep hill on the return) and a Senior A1 (fifteen-year-old) and Senior A2 (fourteen-year-old) joint adventure at Baker Cliffs and Fat Bob’s ice cream. Competition on Wednesday included 10s baseball, 11s soccer, and a 12s basketball tournament.
After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, the Inter As (twelve-year-olds) left for a right-of-passage canoe trip: the boys joined 109 years of Moosilauke campers by canoeing twelve miles down the Connecticut River to Hanover. As opposed to the first session trips where a tail wind made for record times, this group encountered a head wind and rain. Nonetheless, the boys persevered and made it to the Dartmouth docks at about 4:30. As is our practice, the boys’ hard work on the water (about 5 hours in total) was rewarded with an all you can eat pizza dinner and a movie with snacks. Other trips included another Senior B mountain bike adventure, the Junior As (ten-year-olds) venturing to Hobo Hills for mini-golf and then to the natural water slides and pools at Cascade Park, and the Junior Bs (eight-and nine-year-olds) heading to Lost River for a hike through caves and caverns, followed by a stop at Fat Bob’s ice cream. Food at camp on Thursday was very popular: grilled cheese sandwiches, salad bar, and tomato soup for lunch, and lasagna, rolls, and Caesar salad for dinner. Competition on Thursday was a 15s Ultimate Frisbee tournament and a 13s basketball tournament. A light rain kicked in at dinner, which gave us a perfect excuse to have a low key inside evening that included a musical jam session, bingo, an art contest, and a story from Port.
One of the more enlightening activities Thursday involved all the Counselors-in-Training taking part in a “True Colors” seminar (moderated by a past Moose parent). As the True colors web site outlines, True Colors is a personality identification model that uses color identified personality traits to help teenagers better understand who they are and how they can have healthy relationships with those similar and different to themselves. After taking the assessment and learning about their own “colors” the boys were put in teams to work together in a manner in-synch with all their personalities. To a person the boys found the morning informative and fun.
Friday was a sunny, slightly windy day, perfect for sailing and windsurfing. It was also a challenging but fun day for all the campers water skiing and wakeboarding, canoeing and kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding, as the wind created some rougher than usual water to battle. The only trips and competition during the day was an Inter B (eleven-year-old) trip to the natural water slides at Baker Cliffs and a 10s baseball game. The evening brought many smiles as we had a big cookout down on the field followed by a counselor baseball game versus a peer camp.
Saturday started with a little rain but by the time the boys had come down the hill the sun was out. The big event Saturday was the assault on Mt. Cube by all new campers (not on another hiking trip) and a hardy group of volunteer returning campers who can’t get enough of our nearby peak. Close to fifty campers climbed the 2-mile Cross Rivendell trail up the backside of Cube and the half-mile trail from the South summit to the North summit. Once on the north summit the boys had a clear view of Moosilauke, which was fitting since the camp set off fireworks to celebrate the group making the top. After a lunch of turkey and cheese sandwiches, “Uncrustables,” apples, granola bars, and even a little candy, the boys divided into two groups with one coming down the same way they went up and another going for the longer route on the Appalachian Trail that leads right on to our far soccer field. The boys were tired and a little muddy after their adventure, but they all felt a great sense of pride after all their hard work. After a pizza fest dinner the whole camp spent the evening having a social with our neighboring girl’s camp. At Moose a social is a low key event where a DJ plays music outside on our basketball courts while some kids dance and a good many others play tether ball and Frisbee.
That’s all for now. Please do not hesitate to call Bill or Sabina if you have questions. We will write again within the week. And details for departure day, August 14th, will be sent in a separate email.
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid