Where to begin? Every alarm in the counselor room seems to go off at different intervals in the half-hour before we wake the girls up. We get ourselves ready for the morning before going into the girls’ room to wake them all up. After they have all gotten dressed, brushed their teeth and hair, and whatever else they need to do, we check to make sure everyone has their five essentials: water bottle, flashlight, bug spray, sunscreen, and a poncho or rain jacket. Then we head to breakfast.
Depending on the program, campers and counselors will experience different things throughout their days. Personally, I worked in the horse barn a lot last summer with the older girls. We have breakfast and immediately head down to the barn. Once everyone properly has on a helmet, boots, and we check sleeve lengths and pants, they are split into their riding groups.
Each counselor in the cabin is assigned to a riding group to assist the barn instructor. The girls either start off in the barn or in one of the arenas. They rotate every hour or so until each group has had two “barn blocks” and two “riding blocks.” The girls learn things like horse colors, parts of the horse, how to tie quick knots, vaulting, and many other things while in their barn blocks. They often get to paint horses or give them makeovers too which is always so much fun to see!
After the morning at the barn, we head up for lunch. Lunch is always a fun time during the day! Three chants are allowed during the meal and could result in a counselor riding a broom around the room, everyone having to get under the table to sing “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine”, or even running off upstairs to slide down the slide. After lunch and clean up, the girls get dessert (usually ice cream or popsicles), and we head back to the cabin for Turtle Time and to hand out any mail or bunk notes.
Turtle Time is a time for the girls to slow down. They can read, answer their mail, nap, or just rest during this time. We encourage our horse girls to change out of their barn socks and pants and into something cooler and more comfortable for the rest of the day as well.
After Turtle Time, we have more activities. These can range from anything like bracelet making or art to rock wall climbing or archery. Personally, I love taking the girls to art. The projects are always super cute, and they have a great time making them and being creative! Seeing how creative they can be is always a great experience for me, and they are always so proud of whatever they have made.
After the afternoon activities, we take the girls to Singing Tree, and we sing songs or play games until dinner is ready. Dinner is another fun meal and the girls are allowed three chants during it as well. After dinner, they receive a dessert that is usually a hot desert or something like a sundae bar – which they love!
When dinner has ended, depending on the night, we might have a unit night. Unit nights can be anything that the counselors decide on. Last summer we put together an entire MarioCart track for the girls in the Red Barn! They got to race one another around the barn avoiding obstacles and trying not to get hit by flying obstacles. It was such a blast, and the girls all seemed to enjoy it.
Once everyone is sufficiently tired out, we typically head back to the cabin and start getting ready for bed. The girls get changed into their pajamas and do their night routine. Once everyone is ready, the counselors usually sing the girls to sleep or read them a story. Camp can be an exhausting amount of fun, and even by the second night, most of them are tired and ready to sleep so it only takes a couple of songs or a few pages of a book.
As soon as we’re sure all of the girls are asleep, we will head to our rooms and debrief our days. This is a time for us to talk about anything exciting or upsetting that might have happened that day. We let each other know how the girls are doing or if anyone is struggling with homesickness and to look out for that. We also talk about our schedules and what the girls will need with them when we leave the cabin the next day – like swimsuits for pool time or longer shorts/pants for the high ropes course.
Finally, we all set those alarms and head off to sleep so we can do it all again the next day.
Happy Summers! – GreenBean