Sunday, August 3, 2014
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.
Although significant rain was in the forecast, our Opening Day was relatively dry. Campers from countries as far away as China and France joined boys from over 12 different states. The afternoon was spent meeting staff, unpacking, and checking in with our nurses. All new parents had the chance to meet with Bill to discuss everything from the camp’s philosophy to brass tack issues like communications and health care. Once all the parents left the fun really began. After a dinner of hamburgers, fries, salad bar, and whoopee pies the whole camp took part in a game of “Bill says.” Par for the course, over half the campers (and staff) were “out” within the first thirty seconds. Then it was time for a Moose trivia contest followed by wacky counselor introductions by activity area. The night ended with each cabin holding a meeting where they codified the “rules of the road” for living together.
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, close to half of your kids are voluntarily going for a swim in the lake 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. All new campers were given their first “car wash” (ask your kids). 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. 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. The only trip on Tuesday was a volunteer rock climbing adventure. Given the wet rock from the previous day’s rain we opted to send the group to an indoor facility. At noon, all new campers were given a tour of our campus by their Moose big brother.
After a lunch of BLT sandwiches, smiley 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, a major league baseball manager, and the lead singer for a famous indie rock group. The afternoon saw our first inter-camp land sport competitions: a 12s soccer tournament and a 15s lacrosse game. The taco dinner Tuesday night was a huge hit as evidenced by the quiet in the dining hall. The evening program included a half hour’s worth of name games by age group down on the fields and then the boys had a choice of activities including tubing, street hockey, touch rugby, extreme bocce, and a walk around the lake.
Before breakfast Wednesday a hearty volunteer 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 where they saw a beautiful sunset. Dinner was a fabulous mac-n-cheese fest. The next day the boys pushed through some heavy winds and 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 to Baker Cliffs and Fat Bob’s ice cream. Competition on Wednesday focused on an 11s soccer tournament. The highlight of the evening was a campfire on the beach accompanied by a tall tale from Port.
One of the more enlightening activities Wednesday 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. The boys found the morning informative and fun.
After a hearty breakfast of pancakes Thursday, the Inter As (twelve-year-olds) left for a rite-of-passage canoe trip: the boys joined 110 years of Moosilauke campers by canoeing twelve miles down the Connecticut River to Hanover. Although rain threatened, it never came, so the boys were able to complete their journey in good time. 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.
The dining hall was quieter than usual Thursday since about 40% of the camp were on trips. Meals Thursday included grilled cheese sandwiches, salad bar, and tomato soup for lunch, and lasagna, rolls, and Caesar salad for dinner. After dinner Thursday a counselor lead the whole camp through a rap he created. Bill countered by teaching the boys Chantilly Lace by the Big Bopper—truly old school! Competition on Thursday was a 15s Ultimate Frisbee tournament and a 14s basketball tournament. Popular evening activities included fishing, tennis, and Ping-Pong.
Friday started foggy but turned into a sunny, warm day with temperatures in the mid-70s. Competition on Friday included a 10s baseball game and a 12s basketball tournament. The most “fluffy” trip Friday was the Senior A2 adventure to a water park and then a Manchester Fisher Cats minor league baseball game. Friday also saw an open bike adventure and all the Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) venturing to the natural water slides at Baker Cliffs. Friday’s dinner was a camper favorite: Kenny Cook-out down on the field featuring grilled chicken and sausages.
Precipitation was in the forecast Saturday but we got through a full day with no rain. During the afternoon it even got hot and sunny. The big event Saturday was the hike on Mt. Cube by all new campers (not on another hiking trip), a few returning campers, Bill, Todd, and the entire Backcountry Leadership staff. Over 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 their lunch of P, B & J and turkey sandwiches, granola, candy bars, and apples. (A few boys even followed the lead of our BLP staff by eating every piece of their apple—core, seeds, stem and all.) For the return journey nearly half the campers opted for the longer trail (3.5 miles) that takes the boys on the Appalachian Trail all the way back to camp. As is tradition, Saturday night was the camper favorite pizza fest. Evening activities included movies in both rec halls, a ping pong tournament, and a crawfish hunt!
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 13th, will be sent in a separate email.
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid