‘Old friends are best. King James used to ask for his old shoes as they were easiest on his feet.’
Our first full day of 2016, and what a great day it was. Despite the weather cooling off somewhat, what we enjoyed instead was a desert climate; sunny and dry. Indeed, it was almost perfect for what we wanted to do, which was to get out and play sports. We had to deal with a little more admin’ stuff this morning as the picture guy came to take cabin pictures and portraits. Then our Waterfront Director, Andy, had to give his waterfront safety speech and supervise the swimming of the laps. We insist that the boys are tested in their ability to swim before we let them loose in the water. The waterfront has to be the one area in camp – any camp I should imagine – that poses the greatest risk to life and the continued enjoyment of it. We cannot stress this enough to the boys, and the staff who are employed down there, which is why we take the greatest care when in and on the lake. I’m happy to say the boys did very well in their swim tests, so the waterfront is now fully open to them.
After lunch and a “real rest period” (as opposed to just a “rest period”) we got our Big Ten instructional programme underway. A real rest period, by the way, is one in which the boys have to be lying on their beds resting, sleeping, reading, something they can do quietly on their own. A rest period, however, might involve a cabin game (cards maybe), but either way it is that period of time after lunch when relaxation is the prime order of business.
Our Big Ten instructional is just that; instructional. Hopefully the boys can learn a new skill at whatever activity they have signed up for. We have so much to choose from that no-one need feel left out. Although we are essentially a sports camp, we can also offer arts and crafts and media (writing the Megaphone, the camp newspaper). We have experienced and skilled coaches who will do their best to make sure that the boys can learn and develop in whatever sport they have chosen to play.
One of the big sports we play here is softball. In the evening we play Twilight League – our softball league – in which every boy in camp is on a team. TLL is a big deal here. We play in long pants and tonight was a picture-perfect evening to play. The sun cast long, tree-shaped shadows across the diamonds as the ‘race for the trophies’ got underway.
And still the day was not done. After shower and dip came the opening of Canteen for the summer. This is the time of the evening – usually 8/8.15 – when the boys can come to the ‘only red and white building in camp’ to get a ‘cold one or a sweet one’. Needless to say, Canteen is very popular.
The final act was yet to play out: Song and Cheer Night. This is where we introduce the camp songs and cheers to everyone. And what a raucous affair it was. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the words (you will learn them over time), but it does matter that you get into the spirit of the occasion and join in none-the-less. And everyone did!
What all this means is that we have a had a blast today, and all is well, so safely rest.