Our first full day of Term 2 is in the books! Monday was full of classic camp activities, an ice cream social for new campers, a health department inspection (eek!), and our Carnival theme night.
At Camp Balcones Springs, we structure camp activities into major and minor class days. Every other day, boy campers have their major classes – classes they have signed up for and will repeat throughout the term. On the alternating days, girl campers have their major classes. On Boys Major days, girl campers go to minor activities and vice versa. Minor activities are assigned to campers so that they can experience the best camp has to offer (boating on Lake LBJ, swimming at Lake Ted, ziplining, and even more relaxing activities like arts & crafts and cooking, etc.) even if they don’t elect to “major” in those activities. Campers are scheduled with their cabins for minor days, so the classes double as bonding time with cabin mates. The youngest campers – both girls and boys – have all of their activities pre-scheduled for them so they can sample everything camp has to offer while also having courses catered to their age and experience levels.
Monday was Boys Major day, and the fun was had all over camp! Boy campers canoed and kayaked, practiced their aim at our archery range, and began learning the basics of fire starting and wayfinding in our Survival Skills class.
On Monday, we also held our annual First Day Ice Cream Social for new campers. While new campers enjoy an ice cream bar and meet-and-greet with our leadership team and full-time staff, their counselors and returning camper bunkmates hold special cabin talks about what it’s like to be new. In these discussions, counselors encourage returning campers to think of times they have been new or inexperienced and to remember and brainstorm ways that they were or could have been made to feel included and accepted. Cabins then make plans for how they can welcome and include the new campers over the course of the term. We love the chance to teach campers skills that will not only ensure they have an amazing time at camp but also help them become empathetic and considerate leaders at home.
Monday didn’t pass without its share of surprises, as the health department made its annual visit to camp! The health department visits camp every summer to do inspections and ensure we are operating at full speed, and although we never know what day they will come, it is rare that they show up on the first day of a term! The health department officials went over all of our ropes and waterfront safety measures, staff background checks, kitchen refrigeration temps, handwashing techniques, and safety in and around all of our cabins and activity areas. Although this wasn’t exactly what we hoped for for the first day of Term 2, we are happy to report we got a 100% score across the board!
The day concluded with our first theme night of the summer – Carnival! This evening is more of a “get to know you” icebreaker held at the beginning of every term. Campers are asked to wear shirts from their hometown, school, or favorite sports team, tv show, band, comic book, etc. The shirts (or any other garb campers decide to wear!) serve as conversation starters for campers as they meet and greet other campers, counselors, and camp staff. We have an array of great side games mimicking the spirit of a carnival, including a food court with mini corn dogs, multiple types of popcorn, snowcones, and even Nutella crepes! Activities include face painting, a balloon-animal maker, and an array of inflatable games and obstacle courses.
Be sure to check Waldo and our summer camp Instagram page for more photos and updates, and stay tuned for more tomorrow!