Fourth of July at Camp Balcones Springs!

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Our first full day of Term 3 is in the books, and boy was it a special one! We went through our usual first day of camp activities (described below) in addition to hosting an epic Fourth of July celebration!

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. After the last activity period of the day, all campers participate in a “free” period known as Phunanza. Many popular activities – like Lake Ted, the zipline, the Arts & Crafts shed, and our air-conditioned game zone known as the Kid’s Lounge – are open around camp, and campers can choose which activities they want to partake in for the last session of the day. 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.

The day concluded with our first theme night of the summer celebrating the Fourth of July! Patriotic fun was had all over camp, beginning with a parade during our late-afternoon Phunzana activity period. Girl campers and boy campers had a blast bouncing around in our bouncy house, played classic backyard bbq games like corn hole and bucket ball, and were also about to enjoy more restful activities like bingo and American-inspired trivia. Some campers even helped decorate a batch of patriotic cookies. If they weren’t too full from the snow cones, cotton candy, and our gigantic American flag sheet cake, campers participated in an epic pie-eating contest. Our eldest campers – the Work Crew – battled against our Leadership staff in a kickball game watched by all of camp before everyone gathered to watch a fireworks show once the sun had set.

Later that night, we celebrated Lake Ted Department Head Nate Whitten’s birthday with a cake surprise at his cabin! Nate is also a counselor for a B Compound (youngest boy campers) cabin this term, and everyone was so excited to celebrate with him.

Be sure to check Waldo and our summer camp Instagram page for more photos and updates!