“We asked for wit, and no mere lockbox could keep us out!”

Week 3: mission accomplished. Such a fantastic week. The switch from river village to lake village was a bit tricky, as expected, but I’m so glad that it happened.

My partner Grace and I get into the lake village meeting Sunday afternoon, all excited and energetic, and Mike (one of the directors) is like “This is Color Wars week get excited!!!!” Grace and I looked at each other as the rest of the room cheered. Okay, I cheered a little bit too… I’d heard about Color Wars, but never been at Camp for the one week of the summer in which it is played. (Apparently, the Lake staff had decided to make week 3 Color Wars week because they didn’t think they would have my cabin and our neighbor cabin up there that week. Surprise!)

It ended up being a lot of fun, for us counselors and the kids. It helped that we had a rockin’ sweet cabin this week; all but one of the girls had been to Camp before and all were super pumped to make new friends. By Tuesday Grace and I were seeing them best friends with someone they hadn’t known previously. It was also really neat for me because I had been a CILT for three of the girls four years ago. It was so fun to see how they had changed and in what ways they had changed.

They had such a great attitude about being Warriors in river village, which is not easy to do. We got half-hour rest hours most days, and walked up that huge lake hill at least twice a day, but they absolutely loved all of it. They were all rock-stars about the hectic week. One thing that cracked me up was watching my 13 year olds bond with and obsess over Huron, an 8 year old boy cabin. The apparently played ga-ga one night, and after the Huron kids got over their fear of cooties, everybody was best friends. They were the little brothers of the week, which was so fun to watch.

Our team for Color Wars was Quinlin, the green team. “Quinlin” means “swift” in some old language, either old English or some Nordic language (I forget which), but we didn’t live up to that title right away. We got off to a slow start and didn’t really pickup serious points till probably Wednesday.

Color Wars works like so: there are four or five cabins to a team, and each team competes for points which can be won in many different ways. There are competitions between cabins, like dodge-ball, basketball, running charades… basically anything that can be won and lost. There are also points given for clean cabin, for how many times your team can jump a rope, a poetry and a photography contest,for  the unit games, for “Mike’s Hidden Challenge,” and for the all-village game of Empire, to name a few.

Like I said, Quinlin was not the swiftest team in the field for most of the week. Thursday was a pretty good day, though, with our cabins picking up points on different events. Friday, though, was our big comeback; we reached 306 jumps on the big jump rope, beating the previous record by a mere 6 jumps, we solved Mike’s Challenge, and came in second in Empire. We weren’t to figure out who won Color Wars until after dinner, but I mean jamming out to cartoon themes while dressed as various superheroes and cartoon characters is a good way to relax…

I’m a sucker for a comeback story, and that’s what Quinlin got to write this week. I don’t remember what the points range was for all five teams, but I can tell that we were so tense as Mike read off the scores, working his way from 5th place up. As Mike revealed 3rd place without yet calling our name, Quinlin kids started leaning forward, whispering, clenching fists. He started to tell us about the winner, saying that “they had been in dead last on Thursday,” and Quinlin kids were crouching, hands over mouths. He called out second, and it wasn’t us. Then in first place, Quinlin, and oh my gosh that was probably the most excited I’d been all summer. 

The thing that most impressed me about this week is how all the kids have to work together at times. You have, at the largest, about a 4 year age gap, all different maturity levels, sizes, skill sets, strategies, and temperaments. But It all came together, especially in Empire. Kids formed alliances that would never have come about otherwise. And they worked.

Being part of two villages can be a pain at times: medicine gets mixed up, Trading Post can get messy, girls get less down time. But for me, it was so amazing to watch the girls get to know everyone, not just their unit, not just lake village, not just river village, not just Warrior boys. They were so open and willing to do crazy, adventurous things with anyone, anywhere. I love that.

This is the great adventure