Tuesday, July 1, 2014
It is our pleasure to write this first weekly letter home from Moosilauke during summer 2014, our 110th season. As is our tradition, we post on our web site and send an electronic letter home each week to make sure parents 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/ or by going to the “View Photos” link in the “In the Media” section of the moosilauke.wpengine.com web site. We do our best to post pictures every day (internet connection willing).
This year we will also be posting video vignettes. Our most recent which chronicles the Mt. Cube hike can be viewed by clicking on: https://vimeo.com/99660295
Opening day was a little wet but not enough to dampen the spirits of over 140 boys from 15 states and 5 countries. Campers arrived from as far away as Spain, France, and China. The first afternoon was spent meeting counselors and bunkmates, unpacking, checking in with the nurses, and playing informal games of basketball, baseball, Frisbee, soccer, tetherball, Ping-Pong, and giant chess and checkers. The campers–especially the veterans–were pleasantly surprised by our brand new changing room that has a large locker for every kid to store their sports and swim gear. They also loved the expanded wood shop and arts and crafts rooms. Before dinner we played our traditional camp-wide game of “Bill Says.” Bill clearly needs some new material as about a quarter of the campers were able to stay ‘in” through the last round.
Our formal orientation began before dinner as every new camper was taken on a tour by their Moose “big brother.” Afterwards they sat together at dinner. Post our traditional first night “Moose” burger fest our Head Counselors Quinn and Jake 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 by age group. As is tradition, the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) spent the early part of the evening at Bill and Sabina’s house across the lake where they were treated to dessert and a discussion regarding trips and their leadership role at Camp. Then it was time for wacky counselor introductions by activity area. After all these festivities it was then up the hills for bunk meetings during which each cabin developed their “rules to live by” which were ceremonially written on a paper moose head and posted in the cabin.
Friday breakfast was scrambled eggs, home fries, oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit, and yogurt. After the meal we had an announcement about how to be safe when there is lightning and an update on the NBA draft and the previous day’s baseball scores. Then it was time for our initial cabin cleanup. By 10am everyone was down from the hills and firmly ensconced in their three morning activity classes. The weather gods were clearly on our side as it was sunny and 80 degrees all day. Noon free time saw about 40 campers and staff go on a one or two mile run while others played ping pong, shot hoops or relaxed on the beach. Lunch was a meatball sub fest along with a full salad bar and beef vegetable soup. Speaking of food, dinner was our first Friday night field barbecue that included grilled chicken, sausage, corn bread, corn, and pasta salad. Evening activities included World Cup soccer, volleyball, kickball, fishing, basketball, and tennis.
Saturday was our inaugural Moose Bears session that entailed about 30 campers and staff voluntarily going in the lake before breakfast to splash, sing, and maybe even swim. Highlights included a loud rendition of the Moose Bears song followed by a mad dash into the lake. After breakfast, we had our traditional announcement time that saw one camper give a “BTCOD” (“beyond the call of duty”) to the six campers who helped him rummage through the trash to find the retainer he inadvertently threw away. Announcement time also included Bill’s inaugural “get to know the counselors” interview which focused on lacrosse staff member Kyrien Edwards. Kyrien, who is going to be a sophomore at Willams College next year, told the group that if he could have anyone (dead or alive) come to Moose he would choose Maya Angelou.
Both the morning and afternoon were hot so the waterfront was especially busy. The lacrosse staff dug out our plastic McWhippet sticks so that their afternoon classes could be held in the lake. The introductory trip for the summer was an Inter A (twelve-year-old) 10-mile round trip mountain biking adventure to the Wentworth Water Hole. The water was so high at the Water Hole from the rain the day before camp opened that the boys ended up swimming far down river from our normal spot. After a lunch in camp of chicken fingers, smiley fries, salad bar, and chicken noodle soup, the boys had rest hour. The afternoon was humming with sign-up activities, including Ultimate Frisbee, waterskiing, windsurfing, kayaking, tennis, sailing, and fishing. And our fabulous Saturday ended with a pizza dinner and then movie night complete with homemade popcorn courtesy of the Counselors-in-Training (C.I.T.s) and Todd.
Sunday was also our first “lazy morning” during which campers ate brunch at their leisure between 8:30 and 9:45. And what a brunch it was: homemade cinnamon buns, omelets to order, home fries, sausages, cereal, and oatmeal. All the new campers and a handful of returnees spent the day with Bill, Todd, and the Backcountry Leadership Staff climbing Mt. Cube. During the hike the boys learned many fun facts about Mt. Cube, including: its height—2,911 feet; that its original name was Mt. Cuba (possibly changed at the time of the Cuban Revolution?); that the original trail was created in 1900 by the Dartmouth Outing Club (the oldest college outing club in the country); that it is part of the Appalachian Trail; and most interestingly, that the visionary behind the Appalachian Trail was a man named Benton McKay who was a counselor at Camp Moosilauke in 1904. (Next time you are at Camp go to the dining hall and find the framed diary from Moosilauke’s 1904 session. In it you will find reference to Mr. McKay and his famous hiking group called the Tattered Ten.) In an impressive act of grit, about 75% of the Mt. Cube hikers opted to head back to Camp down the North trail which is 1.5 miles longer than the southern trail.
As referenced earlier, for a fun short video diary of the Mt. Cube hike post the following link into your browser: https://vimeo.com/99660295
Boys staying on-campus had a free choice “Sunday Fun-day” afternoon. Dinner was a camper favorite: Cabin Cookout, during which each cabin cooks hot dogs and hamburgers at their own cabin fire pit, followed by ice cream sundaes.
Finally, to read a new blog from Bill on the power of peer culture click on: http://moosilauke.wpengine.com/2014/06/30/peer-culture-camp-creates-great-one/
That’s all for now. We will write again within the week. Have a great summer!
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid