As we meet early in the morning, the admin staff say good morning, open our computers, do a quick check-in and inevitably say to one another, “Wow, really busy day today, not much time for regular activities,” or “Wow, a normal day today…what ever that means” We check our emails, look at the schedules, make copies, call the nurse, make sure the CIT’s are awake to take care of reveille, confer, check on the kitchen, visit the basketball players, give balls to the ping pong players, make lists, and then, we get ready for line-up! A lot of life is lived at Camp Avoda before we even eat breakfast!
On this regular day at camp, Bunk 14’ers are preparing for a 3 day overnight. Testing tents, packing clothing, snacks, water and everything they will need for a trip that includes hiking, rafting, and a final dinner at a nice restaurant before returning to Avoda. Hockey players, junior and senior basketball players, and soccer players had tryouts for inter-camp games later this week. Woodworkers made tables, stools and candy machines. Artists learned to roll out slabs and use natural items to make imprints that will be baked permanently. Climbers climbed, sailors sailed, archers arched, and bikers biked. Something for everyone!
Camp is an amazing incubator for campers and staff to try new activities, develop new interests, and take some chances. Parents are sometimes surprised when I talk to them on the phone about their children. “He said that?” “I have never seen him do that!” “Really, my son?” “Are you sure you are talking about___, and don’t have him mixed up with someone else?” I hear these expressions every day.
Regular and normal are part of everyday vocabulary. They are not two of my favorite words. Many things take place at camp that look ordinary, regular or normal, but in fact are extraordinary. The child who learns to swim while at camp, overcoming fear simply because his counselor helps him believe he can do it; the child who struggles to find a social group at home but here in the comfort of a group of like-minded boys finds a close friend; the camper who doesn’t try sports because because “he isn’t good at it” and cheered on by his bunkmates learns to enjoy basketball. Finally, how about the boys who arrive here at camp every summer unable to ride a bike and are new riders within a week of our staff working with them? Ordinary? Regular? Normal? Hardly.