by Bill and Sabina McMahon, Co-Directors
Weather on Monday, opening day of the second session, was perfect: hot, with a nice breeze off the lake. Close to 150 excited campers from about 14 states and as far away as Beijing, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Paris, The Netherlands, Sweden, and London, were greeted by 50 staff from the U.S. and also from Ireland, England, Latvia, Columbia, Spain, and Hong Kong. As I wrote during the first session, it is a talented and high achieving counselor group: staff attend and/or have graduated from some great colleges and universities, including Berkeley, Wesleyan, Dartmouth, Bates, and Colgate (8!), to name just a few. And about 65% of our staff have been at Moosilauke before as a camper and/or counselor.
The first afternoon was spent meeting counselors and bunkmates, unpacking, checking in with the nurses, and playing informal games of basketball, baseball, Frisbee, tetherball, and volleyball. Before dinner we played our traditional camp-wide game of “Bill Says” in which almost all the campers and staff were “out” within about two minutes. Our formal orientation began at dinner with each table playing icebreaker games. The new campers enjoyed sitting next to their Camp Big Brothers. After our traditional first night “Moose” burger fest, our Head Counselor 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. The intros included tandem bicycle stunt riding, a line drive challenge from the baseball staff, a camper/counselor challenge in basketball, and a water gun extravaganza courtesy of the waterfront staff. After all these festivities it was then off to the cabins for our first bunk meetings and lights out procedures.
Tuesday breakfast was make your own egg sandwich (with English muffins, eggs, sausage patties, and cheese), along with oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit, and yogurt. After the meal we had our traditional first day talk about lightning and fire safety, a speed math contest (with a Roxbury Latin student making his school proud) and then an update on the Olympics. The weather Monday was hot and sunny, perfect for initial class periods, the mandatory swim test, and our first open climbing trip of the summer to the world famous routes in Rumney, NH. During the mid-morning free period many campers went for a supervised run while others went swimming, and played basketball, ping pong, giant chess and checkers, and tether ball. And of course all the camp Diablo units were in use. Mid-morning also saw our first new camper meeting (with Bill) and our intro C.I.T. orientation session (with Kenny). Lunch was chicken patty sandwiches, fries, clam chowder, and a full salad bar. After lunch 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 afternoon saw our first inter-camp land sport competition: a twelve-and-under soccer tournament. The footballers had a great time: everyone got to play ample minutes, they won more than they lost, and of course they dominated on the second scoreboard (which is all about sportsmanship). Smiles were seen on all the campers mid-afternoon as they enjoyed a popsicle snack. Dinner Tuesday was lo mien noodles and stir fried beef. The highlight of the post dinner period was the performance of the original song “Daydreaming about Moose” by counselors Josh and Robbie. The evening program included a 15s basketball game versus a peer camp, tubing, extreme bocce, and fishing, among many other activities.
Wednesday saw almost 80 campers and staff take part in our pre-breakfast Moosebears 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. A favorite moment during the opening session was the loud “good morning!” that echoed out to our neighboring girls’ camp. After a breakfast of homemade muffins we had multiple chants rock the dining hall, and then sign-ups for afternoon periods and for the 13s and 15s lacrosse game held in the afternoon. In terms of lacrosse, interest among the twelve-and thirteen-year-olds is so high we hope to create a small side intramural league to start later in the week. Speaking of sign-ups, we had so many Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) want to go on the Mt. Lafayette overnight backpacking adventure that we had to schedule three different trips just to accommodate everyone. Positive risk taking at its best! After a lunch of stuffed shells, chicken noodle soup, and salad bar, one of our counselors challenged the camp with a brain teaser having to do with two lit fuses. (This counselor is no amateur puzzle master: he has already had two brain teaser related books published!) And then it was off to rest hour for our first required letter home.
The afternoon remained hot and sunny so the waterfront was in full use. A number of boys were thrilled to get up on skis and/or a wakeboard for the first time. Snack in the afternoon was the crowd pleasing giant M+M cookies. Competition on Wednesday included the before mentioned lax tournament, plus a 10’s baseball game and a 12’s basketball round robin. The Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) cooled off in the pm by swimming at a natural waterhole and then going to Fat Bob’s for enormous ice cream cones. A group of Inter As and Bs (twelve-and thirteen-year-olds) spent the day top-rope rock climbing in Rumney. And not to be outdone, a hardy group of Senior B’s (thirteen-year-olds) spent the day on a 12 mile round trip mountain biking adventures. Dinner on Wednesday was sandwiches and pasta salad (cook’s night off).
Thursday was chock full of trips, competition, and in-camp activity periods. Half the Inter As (twelve-year-olds) joined 108 years of Moosilauke campers by canoeing twelve-miles down the Connecticut River to Hanover. As is our practice, the boys’ hard work on the water (about 4 hours in total) was rewarded with an all you can eat pizza dinner and a movie with snacks. Thursday also saw two groups of volunteer Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) head off for a two day Presidential backpacking trip. On the first day, the boys hiked the steep 3+ mile trail that leads directly to the Liberty Springs campsite. After setting up their tents on the platforms the boys relaxed around the campsite and ate two large meals. The next day the campers covered 3.5 miles along the ridge summiting Little Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette in the process, and then powered down the Greenleaf trail back to their van. The Junior Bs (eight-and nine-year-olds) spent a good portion of the day adventuring through the tunnels and caves of the Lost River. And the Junior As (ten-year-olds) enjoyed themselves in the water at Cascade Park. Competition on Thursday included an 11s soccer tournament, a 13s basketball tournament, and a 15s Ultimate round robin.
That’s all for now. We will write again within the week. Have a great summer!