Every day at Thunderbird is awesome. I didn’t realize until I was much older how lucky I was to attend a summer camp where I got to go to four different activities per day. Even more, I didn’t realize how special it was that each day, I got to choose to go wherever I wanted. At Thunderbird—while we encourage campers to set goals and return to the same activities so that they can improve and excel—campers do not have to commit to only a few activities for an entire summer. Any time you want, you can try something new.
Every day at Thunderbird is awesome, but then there are those special days, the ones that stand out not only because they are different, but because in any other world, they might be considered disappointing.
Yesterday, it rained so hard that our ball fields at both our boys and girls camps transformed into some rather deep lakes. At Thunderbird, rainy days like that one are not a time to throw in the towel. They are not a time to lie in bed and lament about a ruined day. Instead, they are a time for puddle jumping, for the unforgettable experience of paddling a canoe across a body of water that is normally just a field of grass.
Once the sun began to shine through the clouds, we put on our swimsuits and had so much fun playing in the lakes and puddles that the rain had left behind. Campers were practicing canoe skills and splashing around right in the middle of the soccer field. There was more laughter and shrieks of joy than you’d ever expect to hear on a day where regular activites need to be canceled.
At Thunderbird we learn to make the best out of bad situations, but we also learn that so many situations really aren’t bad at all if you change the way you look at them. A flooded ball field is just an opportunity for a brand new kind of fun, a rare kind that no one who got to play with us in the water yesterday will ever forget.
Throughout my years at Thunderbird, I have had a lot of rainy day fun. Sometimes, during the year, when the rain starts to pour down as I am walking through the city, my first inclination is to grunt and grumble and wish it all away. But then I remember times like yesterday, I remember how many memories the rain has given me, how happy it has made me. I remember not only the times spent puddle jumping and ball field canoeing, but also the times spent huddled beneath a tarp in the woods, a cluster of campers and counselors group hugging and telling stories while waiting for a storm to pass so we can continue our hike or finish cooking our dinner.
Every one of those moments was special because every one of them brought me closer to my campers, friends, and co-leaders. The rain is a magical thing, something that Thunderbird has taught me to never grunt and grumble about. So when I am in the city and the rain begins to fall, I just remember all the things it gave me. As the many grimacing faces shuffle past me, shielding themselves with newspapers, hooded jackets, and umbrellas, I simply open up my arms and smile. It is a far more pleasant way to make it through a rainy day.
I hope with the memories we made yesterday, all of the campers here with us will now be able to do the same.
Molly “Pixel” Sprayregen