2023 weekly letter home #1

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 (for June 22nd through 27th) Dear Moose Families,It is our pleasure to write this first…

2023 weekly letter home #1

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 (for June 22nd through 27th) Dear Moose Families,It is our pleasure to write this first…

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 (for June 22nd through 27th)

Dear Moose Families,
It is our pleasure to write this first weekly letter home from Moosilauke during summer 2023, our 119th season! As is our tradition, we will 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.

As was already shared, Opening Day was humming! Our 152 campers arrived from an amazing 20 different states and 5 countries. Once all the parents departed and the charter bus from NYC/CT arrived we moved right into a fun afternoon and evening that included an all-camp game of “Bill Says,” tours of campus by cabin, our traditional first night Moose burger dinner, getting-to-know-you activities by age group, a camp-wide tour of the activity areas at Moose along with counselor introductions, and cabin meetings that involved groups writing up their cabin-community rules for the summer (see photo below).  The evening was capped off by an awesome display of fireworks to celebrate the start of the 2023 season. What fun to see the returning campers reconnecting with each other and quickly engaging with the new campers. At dinner, Bill also launched the first “getting to know a member of our community” by introducing one of our 8-year campers, Jack, who shared highlights from his years at Moose, special talents and interests, and a favorite work of art. 

On Friday, after a breakfast of bagels, hot and cold cereal, hot chocolate, and a fruit and yogurt bar, we had our first post meal community time.  As expected, the energy level was high. Highlights included a few classic Moose chants and the daily reading of the sports scores by Kenny. Bill also reviewed camp safety and emergency protocols with regard to weather. Then it was time for our initial cabin cleanup and inspection. By 10:00am, everyone was down from the hills and firmly ensconced in two morning activity classes, which included swim tests. During third period free time, a group of campers and staff went on a one or two mile run while others played ping pong, basketball, chess, various lawn games, and relaxed on the beach. Lunch included Philly cheese steaks, French fries, a full salad bar, and soup. During rest hour, Bill took a group of campers wake surfing. They were an impressive group: everyone was able to get up and two individuals were able to drop the rope and surf without it.  There is a fun video of the experience on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok if you want to watch the fun.

In the afternoon, campers had their choice periods by age group. Dinner was our Friday night field barbecue–called “Kenny’s Cookout”–which consisted of grilled chicken, sausage, veggie burgers, corn bread, cole slaw, pasta salad, soda, and ice cream for dessert. After dinner the campers enjoyed their first night of evening activities by age group–kickball, dodgeball, Ultimate frisbee, lawn games, pick-up basketball, tennis, ping pong, and tubing. 

Saturday started with some drizzling rain but it was not enough to cancel our morning and afternoon classes and activities.  Breakfast included pancakes and bacon and the usual fruit and yogurt bar. The big event for the day was the annual climb up Mt. Cube for all new campers and interested returning campers. Head Counselor Preston and the Backcountry Leadership Staff led a group of nearly 60 campers up the 2,911 feet of Cube. During the hike the boys learned many fun facts about Mt. Cube, including: 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.) All of the campers and counselors deserve huge kudos for completing the hike, as it was a wet day. 

Everyone not on the hike spent the day going to morning and afternoon choice periods. After a lunch of sandwiches, soup, and salad bar, the boys had a much deserved rest hour. The afternoon was busy with sign-up activities including water skiing and wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, tennis, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, flag football, Archery, mountain biking, woodworking, and arts & crafts. Dinner was homemade pizza with brownies for dessert. Saturday was also movie night and there were viewings on both Senior and Junior Hills. Homemade popcorn was provided to the campers, compliments of our CITs and Junior Counselors. Those opting not to view the movies had their choice of other activities including kickball, wiffleball, dodgeball, and games and crafts in the dining hall. 

Sunday started on a high note since it was the first day for Moose Bears, our voluntary early morning swim, splash and song club.  Over sixty campers and counselors enjoyed a refreshing dip in Upper Baker Pond before our 9:00am late start Sunday breakfast.  Breakfast included omelets, cinnamon rolls, muffins, and sausages.  After breakfast, everyone headed down the hill for two activity classes. Lunch was chicken teriyaki, rice, egg rolls, and a salad bar. After lunch, Bill took another group of campers wake surfing on the calm waters of Upper Baker.  The afternoon consisted of another round of two choice periods for the campers. Many of the counselors organized wacky activities for their areas including water balloon lacrosse, water baseball, and soccer-golf. Dinner was a full camp cookout down the hill with hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers. In the evening, the boys enjoyed S’mores on the beach for dessert and evening activities of open areas of ping pong/chess/checkers, basketball, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, lawn games, and tubing.  

On Monday, our wilderness tripping program was inaugurated with two overnight adventures. A group of Senior A2s (14-year-olds) departed at 7:00 am for the Lake Umbagog-Androscoggin River overnight canoe trip. After a 2 ½ hour drive to Errol, NH, the intrepid group paddled for two hours up the Androscoggin and then down Lake Umbagog to their wilderness camp site. It was a windy afternoon, but the campers did great paddling through some wavy conditions. Once at the campsite, they set up camp, swam, and relaxed, and then enjoyed a dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, and steak. In the morning, they feasted on a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese with sausage and bacon. They then paddled two hours to the rapids in Errol. The boys loved running the Class II white water.  Three separate canoes flipped but they all performed perfect T-rescues.  The boys then ventured to the famous jumping bridge where they got to leap into the rapids feet first. On their way back to camp they were treated to a much derived fast food feast. 

That same morning a group of Senior Bs (13-year-olds) left for our Mt. Lafayette overnight backpacking adventure. The group spent the first day hiking over 3.5 miles and 2000 feet of elevation to the Liberty Springs campsite. After setting up their tents they ate a macaroni-and-cheese with pepperoni dinner and then did a sunset hike to Mt. Liberty. On day two, after a breakfast of oatmeal and dried fruit, they hiked the ridgeline that took them over Little Haystack, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Lafayette. They were in the clouds the entire hike and experienced significant winds on the summit of Mt. Lafayette. During the adventure they passed the time singing songs from “Hamilton” and talking about Minecraft. After a stop at the Greenleaf Hut for hot cocoa they hiked down 3 miles to their vehicle. On their drive back, they too enjoyed a fast food feast.

The other half of the Senior A2s enjoyed an afternoon of jumping off the rocks and swimming at Baker Cliffs, followed by the always highly anticipated delicious ice cream at Moose Scoops. A group of campers also ventured out on a mountain biking trek on the trails around the lake, culminating with a swim at Orford Beach. Another group of all-age campers spent the day climbing at an indoor facility since rain made the crags at Rumney too slick to tackle.

Those who remained at camp on Monday, enjoyed a morning of assigned activities and an afternoon of choice activities. Rain was in and out but they were able to enjoy a full day of activities on land and water, including the full slate of activities in the evening. Meals on Monday were French Toast for breakfast, meatball subs for lunch, and pot roast with potatoes and green beans for dinner. In the evening, there was tubing, fishing, street hockey, cricket, Ultimate frisbee, and dodgeball.

Tuesday brought our first round of inter-camp competition–a 13s soccer tournament against three peer camps. At lunch, Head Counselor Quinn shared the concept of the three scoreboards: the first being the actual score; the second being a rating of overall sportsmanship and effort; and the third focusing on best flow/hair.  In the end, our Moose players won on all three!  Quinn also shared how there are no cuts at Moosilauke–if you want to play on a team, you can! 

Also on Tuesday, the Junior As (10-year-olds) enjoyed a ride on the Pontoon Boat, exploring and learning about the nature on the lake in the process. As part of the adventure they got to see the new loon nest where two baby loons were recently hatched. Very exciting! Meals on Tuesday were waffles and hash browns for breakfast, chicken tenders and tater tots for lunch, and the traditional “Taco Tuesday” meal for dinner. Evening activities were tubing, street hockey, fishing, dodgeball, kickball, a canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding extravaganza, Ultimate frisbee, and wiffleball. Finally, we celebrated our first Moose birthday in camp on Tuesday during which the “person of honor” was serenaded in the dining hall and treated to a birthday cake to be shared with his cabin. 

In closing, a few fun facts about our incredible staff. 100% of the eight top administrators have worked at the Camp before–and amazingly, all are members of the Miller/McMahon/Hale family! (For background on these folks click on here (https://www.moosilauke.com/about-us/parent-faqs/). The majority of all staff that work directly with the campers are returning and/or have gone to the camp. 

In addition to our two registered nurses on campus, 60% of our counselors are Lifeguard certified, five have their Wilderness First Responder/First Aid, and two are E.M.Ts. 
That’s all for now. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with questions.

Happy Summer!

Bill, Sabina, Ken, Ingrid, Todd, Preston, Jake, Quinn, and Charlotte

PS  As you know, we continue to use the platform, Campanion, for posting our photos this summer! You can view photos through your CampMinder account and through the Campanion App. If you have not done so already, please upload a photo on the Campanion App so that your son/s will be automatically tagged when they appear in any of the daily photos. We strive to capture as many individual campers as possible each day, but the main goal is to provide for your viewing pleasure a “typical Moosilauke day.” We do our best to post pictures most days (the internet can be fickle at times here in the mountains and woods). Finally, make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, @camp_moose (new!) since we will be posting videos and photos every few days.