Monthly Archives: August 2015

Dear Camp Thunderbird 2015 Campers

Dear Camp Thunderbird 2015 Campers,

Today, our summer adventures together came to a close, and you began your journey home. We cannot describe how much we already miss you. While most of the posts on this blog so far have been for your parents, this one is totally and completely for you.

It is not a goodbye post. Because this morning, when we cried and hugged and parted ways, we did not really say goodbye. The end of camp is no end at all, it’s just the end of a beginning. We have heard that lyric sung so many times, but it always rings so true. No matter if this was your first summer at camp or your eighth, it was still just a beginning, the beginning of new adventures, new skills, and new friendships that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

So this is not a goodbye post because we know our journeys together have only really just begun. We know we will talk and see each other soon. So instead, this is a post to say thank you.

Thank you for spending an amazing four or eight weeks with us. Thank you for laughing, for being yourself, for reminding us what really matters every single day. Thank you for screaming songs at the top of your lungs and for trying new things even when they scared you. Thank you for going on climbing and canoeing and hiking and biking and sailing trips and for your excitement about learning all the skills you need to succeed out in the wilderness.

Thank you for the friendship bracelets and for your perseverance in executing the most perfectly roasted marshmallow. Thank you for the birthday signs and the specialty days and for your endless creativity. Thank you for helping us turn rainy days into exciting adventures.

Thank you for your bravery in performing in talent shows, and thank you for the silliness, smiles, and laughter that made us all so excited to wake up every morning and spend our days with you. Thank you for going back to that activity again and again until you passed that level because you believed in yourself and you knew you could it. Thank you for growing and learning and for helping us grow and learn right alongside you.

This was such an incredible final week of camp, with all of the final shows plus an amazing Superhero-themed co-ed specialty day, a very tasty JL Steak Fry, and a fantastic Final Banquet. Thank you for keeping us smiling and for making wonderful memories until the very end.

As you get older, you will start to see that camp is as much a state of mind as it is an actual place, and soon you will understand that you never really leave Camp Thunderbird. The friendships it has given you will never fade away and the person it has made you into will only grow stronger and prouder.

So as you start your back-to-school shopping and get settled back in to your daily life, remember that camp is always with you, helping you through anything the universe might throw your way.

Thank you for another wonderful, magical, beautiful summer beneath the Minnesota stars. We love you all, and we will see you again soon.

Campingly Yours,

Your Counselors

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All About Our Girls Camp Special Programs–A Chat With Slightly

10660304_10152327210125108_5254006430777171337_n1. What exactly do you do as special programs director?

What a question. I always like to say I’m in charge of the “weird things” at camp. Anything out of the ordinary! I plan all camp evening programs, brother/sister dinners, picture days, athletic matches against other camps, council fires, services, editing newspapers and special dinners, among other things. People have referred to me as the “glitter of camp” more then once; the sparkle, messy, and one that adds a touch of different to the project that is Thunderbird.

2. What is your favorite part about the job?

I just love watching the kids have a good time. Sometimes there are these wildly strange games that just pop into my head, and I just go with it. Watching the kids turn those visions to reality and laugh while doing it makes my day. I also love shopping for the supplies I need and seeing the reaction of the cashier. For example, last week I bought 20 sponges, gummy worms, 16 cans of shaving cream and A LOT of stocking socks. What could I be doing with all that????

 3. How did you get your nickname?11392840_10206847281886341_3711416636988776284_n

Slightly is the name of my favorite lost boy in Peter Pan! I love Peter Pan.

 4. What are some of your favorite activities you have run so far this summer?

Scholarship Auction was one of my favorites. The energy in the room is crazy while paddles are flying up and people are screaming and bidding higher and higher for their favorite prizes. It’s awesome. I also quite enjoyed Extreme Animal Soccer, where we played a very large game of soccer with 5 balls, and I got to randomly call different animals that they had to play soccer like (ex: worm, cow, elephant, T-rex, Kangaroo, ect). Also a big shout out to Zumba night…hilarious.

We also played a great rainy day activity game called all camp Go Get It, where in different groups the campers got a category like “Weirdest Hair Style,” and the group would have two minutes to come up with the weirdest hair style, then show it off. Some of the other categories were “Best Underwater Dance”, “Best Celebrity Encounter Story”, “Weirdest Talent”, and “Best Poem About Cheese.”

Here are some of the cheese poems:

“Please may I have some cheese.

Chedda is betta,

Forget the feta.

If you mix chedda and feta it’ll get betta.

I don’t know fella, when I have mozzarella.”

 

“Cheese is gouda

Cheese is grate!

I like cheese on my macaroni.

Not that velveeta phony.

Some are funky,

others; chunky.

Gorgonzola

Edam

Parmasean

Brie

Can I have some?

That’s nacho cheese.”

 

“Mac and cheese love.

My brie, you are sweet and bitter like my heart.

My cheddar, you are strong and steady. I can always count on you to get me through.

My goat cheese, how stinky you are. But how I love you, in my mac and cheese.”

11036758_10153133769809915_2876067651325957299_o5. What is your favorite part about camp? 

Watching the girls come on their first day and leave on their last is unexplainable. I know it happened to me my first year, but you just grow into exactly who you are. I see it in them every day. Girls at camp are given the opportunity to totally be themselves without judgement, have no shame in anything they do, and truly get to have a great time and realize being yourself is the best way to have true friends. They learn to be independent and strong. They learn that they can do anything if they find the confidence and courage. And most importantly, they learn to love themselves. Being a part of teaching them that in services, council fire, and independent conversations and actions is so so so rewarding.

10527365_10152220508070108_8325474726745128711_n7. If you could live in a house of cheese, what type of cheese would it be and why? 

I’d be homeless! I’m allergic to cheese! I guess I could do goat cheese. Mmmmmm, so delicious on pizza.

8. If you could have any superpower what would it be? 

Flying. I’d get everywhere so fast and I could see the bald eagles really well that way. I guess it’d be pretty cool to move things with my mind too.

9. What will you miss most about camp when summer ends? 

The people for sure. There’s nothing better then spending quality time with people without cell phones and TV’s distracting them. How many times at home do we take the time to make a fire, throw a Frisbee, or play dodgeball? Coming here is like going back to the past and remembering how to have fun. I will definitely miss this, but luckily camp will always be here for anyone who needs it!hi

The Strength Of Camp Togetherness

There are a lot of things that camp can give you, but I think one of the most important things it offers is togetherness—a type of togetherness that is unachievable anywhere else. I never realize until I re-enter the so-called “real world” after camp each summer IMG_5145how lucky I am to have a space where, by the end of breakfast, I have already received a dozen hugs, sung a screaming song, and laughed a hundred times.

It’s like having the world’s biggest family, where you wake up and spend all day every day completely surrounded by love. No matter who you are at camp, no matter who you already know or who you haven’t met, you can walk up to any group or any table and feel welcome and at home. There is this instant familiarity with camp people. It’s hard to describe, but it doesn’t really matter if you actually know one another. If you are both at camp, you have a bond, and you can immediately be your total and complete selves.

At camp you become accustomed to this togetherness rather quickly. Only here would a friend being gone for a day and a night feel like a lifetime; only here would her return be received with cheers and hugs as if she has come back from a harrowing, year-long expedition. Only here can a bond between two friends who have known each other for just a few days equal that of a typical pair who have been friends for years.

It is those bonds, those astonishingly instantaneous bonds of friendship, that are what all this togetherness truly brings. I led a trip last week with a group of eight girls, one of whom was new to camp this summer. She was a second session camper on a trip with girls who had not only been together for the past 10341600_10152327209550108_2765406535099613280_nfour weeks, but many who had been together for the past four years. I didn’t know that this new camper had known the other girls for only a week until somebody told me. The way they laughed and worked together made it seem as if she’d been with them the whole time.

Thunderbird teaches us confidence and resilience and outdoors skills, but I think the most important thing it does is teach us how to be there for each other. This constant camp togetherness means knowing everything about each other. It means seeing each other at our best, our worst, and everything in between. It means accepting each other throughout all of those moments, which always bring us closer in the end. It means learning at very young ages that there are layers to every person and that everyone deserves a chance to be peeled back and understood. It means learning to move on quickly from upsetting moments because why hold on to frustration when we love each other and it is only lunchtime and there is so much more fun and togetherness to be had.

Camp even teacheIMG_7795s you to love those with whom you might not always get along. There might be someone who sometimes makes you angry, but still you have that deep camp connection with her. You have grown with her and struggled with her and learned to solve problems with her. You have learned about her layers and you have grown to understand why she might do the things she does. And even though you know you clash sometimes, you also know that if you ever need her, she will be there.

What is so cool about all this togetherness is that it sticks when camp is over. Sure we all go home and we are not physically together anymore, but those friendships stay strong. That depth and trust endures. As we enter our final week of the summer, we will appreciate every moment of togetherness that we have left. We will remember that the friendships this togetherness has given us are strong enough to last far beyond the summer. Most importantly, we will remember that it won’t be long until we are all together again, feeling like not one moment has passed.

Campingly Yours,

Molly “Pixel” Sprayregen