On Sunday, girls, boys, and counselors put on their brightest whites and gathered in our lakeside amphitheater for our camp church service known as Baseline. This term’s Baseline speaker was Father Steve, a camp legend since 2010. Father Steve was the priest at St. Austin’s in downtown Austin, Texas, from 2008-2015. He then moved to New York and now resides in California. Father Steve focused his sermon on our camp verse, Philippians 4:4,5,7. In his sermon, he spoke of the difference between happiness and joy. While happiness and joy are both positive feelings, we derive these sensations from very different places. Happiness, he explained, is derived from situations. It is based on our ever-changing circumstances and is thus a temporary feeling. Joy, however, is rooted in our faith. As long as God remains in our hearts, so does joy. The good news that Father Steve conveyed to us is that God is always there. Joy will always fill our hearts as long as our faith remains strong, and joy allows us to find the positivity in all things, even in the times that lack happiness. After speaking, Father Steve led us in song to celebrate this truth. All of camp sang out “Rejoice, c’mon everybody rejoice, this is the day that the Lord has made, and we should be glad about it!” His sermon will hopefully be a message that all campers can keep with them – that joy goes hand-in-hand with faith, and lucky for us, whether we are happy or sad, what we put our faith in will always be there.
Tuesday night, campers made their way to the enchanting Rose Garden where they were greeted by a group of mariachis serenading them. Our Mexican campers and counselors took the lead in curating a delightful array of Mexican delicacies, including a tempting churro bar with indulgent Nutella and various toppings, mouthwatering Mexican street corn, and popular Mexican candies. They also organized activities such as dart balloons, lotería, and a photo booth featuring custom-made Mojiangas, which are giant paper mache dolls. These dolls were crafted to resemble our beloved Camp Director Maggie and the dedicated full-time staff member Diego, and they were an absolute hit among the campers!
Once everyone had savored the delicious treats and participated in the engaging activities, it was time to move the festivities to the Rio for an unforgettable discoteca dance party. Stepping into the venue felt like being transported onto the vibrant set of the movie “Coco,” with pulsating strobe lights, neon colors, and a lively DJ booth. Campers danced the night away to the infectious beats of Latin music and beloved camp dance classics. It was the perfect evening!
Wednesday was Camp Gameday! The oldest girl campers took center stage to play flag football, Silver Spurs vs. Lone Stars. The first half was the Lone Star show, featuring 2 interceptions and one touchdown right before half, giving them a 6-0 lead going into the break. However, everything changed when Avery Atcheson of the Silver Spurs got a pick 6 with 7 minutes left, tying the game at 6. The Lone Stars then drove down the length of the field and got to the third yard line. But once again, the Silver Spurs got a timely interception, returning it to their 20-yard marker. The Spurs punched in the ball two plays later to take a 12-6 lead. But just when we thought the Lone Stars were on the ropes, Valeria Garcia took a hand-off 60-yards for the touchdown, tying the game at 12 with 3:28 left. The Silver Spurs took over but were forced to punt with 1:50 left. The Lone Stars then took advantage once again, throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass with 42 seconds left to take an 18-12 lead. But once again, the game delivered on the back and forth. The Silver Spurs put together a drive to tie the game at 18 with just 4 seconds left, sending us into overtime!
In the second overtime, Lone Stars QB Avery Archer fired a pass to the back of the end zone that was hauled in by Valeria Garcia. This play gave the Lone Stars a hard-fought 19-18 victory in thrilling fashion.
Activities have never been better this last week of camp! Our ladies fitness class hiked to the CBS scenic overlook, enjoying spectacular views, fruit cups, and lavender towels as reward for their hard work this session. They also completed an intense lower body leg circuit workout with resident staff gym rats Sebastian and Campbell! Meanwhile, our ropes major finally conquered the zipline and had 100% participation from all students, which is often a rarity given its looming height.
Our campers in horseback have been hitting the trails this week to enjoy some time out in nature with their favorite horse. They ride along our shady paths and have the opportunity to see some wildlife from the back of a horse. Boys and girls in horseback have also been working on their skills in the arena by playing all kinds of games. Be sure to ask your camper about playing musical stalls on horseback! We believe in giving campers the full riding experience, so they have also learned to groom, saddle, and pick their horse’s hooves, as well spray down their horse to cool them down post-ride. This grooming and care helps our riders build a partnership with their horse during their time at camp and teaches them about the importance of bonding with and caring for their horse in future riding situations.
Finally, it wouldn’t be summer camp without some pranks and raids! We’ve been host to a variety of fun and creative pranks this session, including our younger girl campers toilet-papering the younger boys’ cabins! Perhaps the biggest prank of all was done by all of girls camp against the boys during Men’s Dinner. The girls kidnapped one of our boys camp staff members – Joshua – and held him hostage during the meal!