It is our pleasure to write this third letter chronicling summer 2015, the week of Sunday, July 5 through Saturday, July 11th. (As always, this letter covers all the fun trips, events, and happenings that take place above and beyond our normal daily program of three assigned activity periods in the am and our two free choice sign-up periods in the afternoon.) Hard to believe that we have already completed two full weeks of camp!
Our summer birthday celebrations kicked off over the weekend and continued throughout this week. We had one (sometimes two) birthdays each day this week – 8 birthdays overall! When a camper (or counselor) has a birthday during the time they are here at Moose, they come to the center of the dining hall after dinner and invite any number of campers and counselors to serenade them the “Happy Birthday” song. They are also given a cake and a sign is posted in their honor on the office porch.
Sunday, July 5th, was a typical Moose Sunday morning that included a brunch from 8:30-9:30 with omelets to order and homemade donuts. The morning included the first round of Coke League baseball games. Coke League is our intramural baseball program for campers twelve-and-under. We have four teams this session – Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Giants. Teams are managed by members of the baseball staff and coached by the Senior A1s (our oldest age group). Games were close and fun was had by all. The morning also saw the whole camp forming an M on the field which was then filmed by our new drone and camera. Footage from this is included in the following film, “Hello from Moose!,” https://vimeo.com/133156702. Enjoy!
The highlight of Sunday afternoon was a camp-wide Capture the Flag contest. This year, it was the Bald Eagles versus the Uncle Sams. The CITs did an incredible job organizing the event and, as always, the boys played with amazing enthusiasm. After the festivities the campers had a mandatory “scrub up” in the lake. Then it was time for a “Kenny Cookout.” Dessert for each cabin was camper-made s’mores, cooked up in the fire pit on the beach. There was a special viewing of the Women’s World Cup Soccer event on the beach as well (see daily photos from July 5th). Sunday night also saw the winners of the weekly cabin cleanup inspection venture to the world famous Fairlee Drive-In for an old time movie experience.
Monday, July 6th was a busy day on all fronts. It started with our second Senior B (thirteen-year-olds) two-day Mt. Lafayette backpacking adventure. The group was blessed with great weather which allowed them to complete the full traverse across the ridgeline, summiting four peaks in the process. Food on the trip included pita pizzas and sandwiches for lunch, chicken alfredo for dinner, oatmeal and hot chocolate for breakfast, and plenty of beef jerky for snacks. Highlights included watching the clouds roll up the mountains as they were climbing and seeing the sunset as they were descending. Other trips on Monday included an Inter B (eleven-year-olds) extravaganza to the natural water slides at Baker Cliffs (followed by ice cream at Moose Scoops) and half of the Inter As (twelve-year-olds) canoed 12 miles on the Connecticut River to Hanover. At the end of the canoe, the campers were rewarded with a pizza dinner at EBA’s (Everything but Anchovies) and a viewing of the movie “Max.” A group of Senior Bs spent the day mountain biking the back roads and trails to Indian Pond. At lunch, a few of our campers shared their favorite “Knock Knock” jokes. Competition on Monday included a 15s tennis tournament and a 12s hockey tournament at a neighboring camp. A post dinner highlight was the “Trick of the Day” in the dining hall that entailed one of our CITs presenting the novel he wrote while in middle school (one of 3 in a series). The book is called The Prince of Destiny: Book One of the Demon Caller Trilogy, by David Vonderheide. Check it out on Amazon or your local bookstore. Wow! And last but not least, our CITs began their three-day lifeguard training course.
Tuesday before breakfast, some of our Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) rose early with the Moose Bears to waterski, wakeboard, and wakeskate on the lake. After breakfast, Todd initiated his “Brother, not Brother – International” segment where he had the camp vote on who looked more like brothers, three siblings or three other carefully selected campers and counselors. The three siblings were from Quebec, and the other group from Australia. You can guess who the camp voted for. Tuesday was another perfect day for the second group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) to continue our 100+ year tradition of canoeing twelve miles down the Connecticut River to Hanover. Although there was a head wind for most of the trip the boys completed the journey in a little under four hours. Their hard work on the water was also rewarded with a pizza dinner and a movie. The group was also complimented with a “BTCOD” (Beyond the Call of Duty) announcement from a counselor upon their return for not only their amazing efforts on the trip, but also their awesome behavior while in town. Another group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year olds) ventured out on a bike trip to the Waterhole and were treated with an ice cream at Fat Bob’s. And, the CITs continued with a second day of their Lifeguard Certification Training. Competition on Tuesday included an 11s tennis tournament at a neighboring camp.
Wednesday started with some rain, but quickly cleared into another warm, sunny day. The third group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) left for a two-day Mt. Lafayette backpacking adventure and the CITs had their third and final day of Lifeguard Certification Training. Another group of campers also went on a kayaking adventure on the Hartland Rapids. For all the boys on the trip it was their very first white water kayaking experience so it was the first time they got to execute wet exits and attempt Eskimo rolls in fast moving water. A cabin of Junior As (ten-year-olds) canoed a mile out to our Crooked Birch campsite (on Upper Baker Pond) where they cooked their dinner and slept in tents. And a cabin of Junior Bs (eight- and nine-year-olds) cooked dinner over an open fire and had an overnight at the log cabin at the Point. Wednesday included more competition with a 12s basketball tournament at a neighboring camp and a 14s soccer tournament at Moose. And our Coke League teams played another round of intramural baseball games during evening activities. Post meal highlights included: one of our juniors demonstrating some awesome dance moves (in front of the entire dining hall – amazing!); our BLP Director interviewing Bill on the 100-year camp tradition of the Inter Bs (11-year olds) climbing Mt. Moosilauke; and one of our seniors impersonating Todd making evening announcements.
Thursday two of our classic and most beloved trips left camp. At 7:30 am, a second group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) ventured to Errol, NH, to paddle Lake Umbagog and the Class II-III rapids on the Androscoggin River. The first day the group made record time canoeing the 7+ miles up the lake to their wilderness camp site in about 90 minutes. The next day the Androscoggin lived up to its reputation as quite a few canoes capsized in the large wave trains found under the bridge in Errol. And of course the highlight of the trip for most boys was taking the leap feet-first (with life jacket on) off the famous Jumping Bridge into the rapids. Later in the morning all the Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) began a successful ascent of Mt. Moosilauke (all 4,802 feet), which culminated in an evening spent in the bunkhouse at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. The structure, which is made out of massive native spruce trees, was originally built as a ski lodge in the 1930s, and is currently staffed by Dartmouth students. The food at the lodge got a huge “thumbs up.” Dinner was tilapia, brussel sprouts, pea soup, biscuits, and chocolate mousse for dessert. Breakfast included eggs, bacon, oatmeal, and chocolate chip muffins. After dinner, the campers were treated to the story of “Doc Benton” (a tradition at the Ravine Lodge).
Thursday morning and early afternoon some of our Senior A1s (our oldest campers) participated in a trail maintenance expedition with Port, followed by a delicious lunch at Calamity Jane’s and ice cream at Moose Scoops. The group cleared an old trail that runs from Junior Hill down to the cabin at the Point. (This trail had not been used for over twenty years.) Armed with pick axes, loppers, and saws, the effort was successful! And, in the process, they found an old well in the woods used for drinking water in the 1940s. Right before dinner another group of Junior As (10-year olds) canoed out to the Crooked Birch campsite for a campfire dinner and overnight campout. Competition on Thursday included an all ages track meet at a neighboring camp. A highlight of the meet was when one of our twelve-year-old California campers won the mile in a time of 5:30. Evening activities included another “tall-tale” story-telling session with with Port around the beach campfire. This week’s stories were the “Giant Squid” and the “Monkey’s Paw.”
One of the most exciting happenings Thursday entailed one of our Inter Bs (an 11-year old) catching the first “wall fish” of the summer — a 3-½ pound large-mouth bass. If a camper (or counselor) catches a fish over 3 pounds, a plaque in the shape of their fish is mounted in their honor on a wall in the dining hall. The camper caught his prize during a pre-breakfast fishing adventure with our own bass-whisperer, Kenny Miller.
Friday was another busy day. Competition included 12s tennis, 13s baseball, and 15s soccer. A volunteer group of campers ventured out in the am on a rock climbing trip to Rumney, NH. The boys learned the basics of top roping, including how to “tie-in,” basic rope safety, and the all important traditional climbing “commands.” The boys started on a route rated a 5.3 and then moved to a 5.6. Our youngest campers, the Junior As and Bs (eight-, nine-, and ten-year-olds) spent the afternoon at Baker Cliffs, followed by ice cream at Moose Scoops. And the highlight of the afternoon was our inaugural wakesurfing session on our lake. As you may know, wakesurfing is one of the hottest trends in water sports. To wakesurf, we fill three ballast tanks on our new inboard motor boat and also engage a “wedge” under the hull. Combined, these alterations create a large, cresting wake which allows campers to surf behind the boat — without holding on to a rope! The boys ride a special surf board that has enough volume to get them up but is small enough to let them carve and pump. (Hopefully we will have some pictures and footage to share in the near future.) Wakesurfing is so fun it has the whole McMahon clan forgetting about the waves they are missing in California. Dinner was “Kenny Cookout” on the field that included grilled chicken, sausages, pasta salad, corn on the cob, and cornbread. Yum!
On Saturday, there was more competition with some of the neighboring camps in the afternoon. Those campers not involved had their pick of open activity areas – both in the water and on land. Our CITs headed out on a trip to Sandwich Mountain, with an overnight at the Pioneer Camp. A group of campers biked a new trail in Warren, NH. And, another group of campers hiked Mt. Smarts.
Finally, we wanted to share with you how geographically diverse our 1st session campers are – 16 states and 7 countries. States include California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia. And, countries include (in addition to the U.S.) Australia, Quebec, France, Greece, Hong Kong, and Spain.
A few reminders:
- Saturday, July 25th is Parents Day and departure day for 4 ½-week campers. Parents are invited to come to camp from 9:30am to 2:00pm for a fun day of activities.
- The 2-½ week session begins on Monday, July 27th with arrival times for new families between 1 – 2pm and 2 – 4pm for returning campers.
- Buses will leave from New York City at 10am and Greenwich, CT at 11:15am. There are only a few spots remaining on our buses to camp and a waitlist for the bus from camp for this session so if you are planning on using this service, please contact us ASAP.
That’s all for now. Please be in touch if you have questions.
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid