Greetings from Camp Nakanawa!
Campers, counselors, and staff were all grateful to be able to gather once more at our beloved Camp Nakanawa. There are plenty of new faces gracing the shores of Lake Aloaloa, and it is amazing to see how much the many devoted return campers have changed & grown in the intervening time. A huge Nakanawa welcome to everyone!
Monday – Arrival Day: As you all know, the drop-off procedure was different this year due to the COVID-19 safety protocols, but everyone worked together to make the first day of camp run smoothly! The girls were tasked with making their beds and changing into their blues & whites before they could begin exploring camp with their new friends.
After check-in, a musical counselor welcome, and practicing camp songs, the campers all walked through a mini-version of their activity schedules to familiarize themselves with locations and all that awaits them on class days. After dinner, team drawings were held in the Council House. New campers joined either the Valkyries or the Amazons – the two Camp Nakanawa teams - and each camper will remain on their team for life. New campers left the Council House proudly wearing their new red or blue team ties. The Amazons & Valkyries will compete good-naturedly against each other throughout the session in athletic contests designed to foster sportsmanship, teamwork, and friendly competition.
Tuesday: Today was busy as we had the first full day of classes. Archery, swimming, canoeing, arts & crafts, and riding are a few of the many activities which campers enjoy throughout the day. There are 3 classes, then a healthy snack break followed by 2 more classes before lunch. After a much-needed Rest Hour, the girls have an hour of called Free Swim during which many campers choose to enjoy the lake, visit the nature hut, write letters, read, or rest.
Tuesday night, Valkyries & Amazons held meetings during which the team officers were elected by the campers. Campers old & new were excited about the elections, and the officers have stepped into their places of leadership.
Wednesday: Our second day of classes: We woke up to a sunny day, and the morning was perfect for rotating among new experiences. At lunch, the Glee Club staff arrived in costume, singing to announce this summer’s operetta: Oklahoma! Auditions were held after Rest Hour. Tonights’s Evening Entertainment reminded all of us, in a hilariously funny way, of the rules and courtesies of camp life with the chorus line of counselors singing “The 12 Days of Camp.” A Nakanawa version of Two Truths and a Lie followed.
Thursday: Thursday was Free Day, and the girls dressed colorfully out of uniform and enjoyed a selection of different activities including line dancing, bracelet-making, visiting to the Nature Hut and practicing a bit of Chinese calligraphy shared by one of the counselors. A rain shower made afternoon activities cozy and cooled us off for a night under our blankets after a rousing camper talent show of dancing, singing, poetry and comedy.
Friday: Today classes resumed in almost perfect weather with a lovely breeze. Our busy day ended with a cookout at the lake. After a dance party on the shore of Lake Aloaloa, we enjoyed grilled hamburgers and gathered for a walk to the woods for the first Council Ring meeting. Wearing their team ties, campers meet on the Games Field with their cabinmates for this important Camp Nakanawa tradition. Pepe welcomed everyone to the meeting by reminding campers of the importance of respect for the land and each other as exemplified in the Cherokee custom of gathering in a circle around the fire. An updated version of the Indian Chief tradition is our Eagle camper who exemplifies quiet leadership, encouragement, positive attitude, and gratitude. This year’s Eagle, Erica Levy, is invited to sit with Pepe and enjoy Council Ring.
Each week at this time, campers stand when recognized by name by the various activity heads for their effort, enthusiasm and positive attitudes in classes. Posture recognitions – standing tall and sitting up straight - are another significant aspect of Council Ring. Girls receive a collar pin and stand in a circle around the fire for this weekly award. The evening ends with campers walking along the trail back to camp singing our “Goodnight Song.”
Saturday: After breakfast, campers posed for individual, team, state and cabin pictures on the Games Field. The full, sunny day included competitions between the Amazons and Valkyrie teams - a swim meet before lunch and a games meet held after Rest Hour. To prepare for the meets, teams gathered for pep meetings practicing team cheers and songs. While there is friendly rivalry between the Amazons and Valkyries, much importance is placed on sportsmanship and team spirit.
After dinner, the girls loaded busses to travel with Senior Camp to the famed Cumberland County Playhouse to enjoy this year’s production, the musical Godspell.
Sunday: Our non-denominational church service is planned for the lakeside in Senior Camp tomorrow morning. Pepe’s meaningful service will stress the importance of positive communication as we have come to crave it during the separations of the past year; he always engages the campers with questions and references to courageous people in history. This summer’s church mentions Helen Keller.
Rumor has it that Sunday, July 4 will be filled with Independence Day festivities and a surprise or two. There is never a dull moment at Nakanawa! More details on the rest of Sunday’s activities will follow in the next newsletter.
Archery: Safety comes first and foremost in Archery. Campers learned the important safety procedures of the sport. Once the safety lessons on such things as the proper way to load a bow, retrieve shot arrows from the target, etc, were completed, campers learned proper shooting techniques. By the second day, girls were able to string their bows and shoot their arrows at the targets!
Arts and Crafts: On the first day, the girls were each given a small sketchbook for the session. Over the week, they spent time designing, decorating, and personalizing the cover of their sketchbook with markers, colored pencils, and/or crayons! The girls also began work on their acrylic painting of a watermelon. While each camper will be creating a painting of a watermelon, we are sure that each painting on canvas will be as unique as the camper who made it!
Climbing Wall: The first week of the Rock Wall has consisted of different activities regarding warming up to the wall. Campers have learned how to trust one another when it comes to spotting each other in bouldering. They have all done trust falls with a partner, as well as ‘wall falls’ where they are able to learn how to correctly spot one another. They have begun practicing Around the World where they boulder across the wall & back - from start to finish. This is a difficult task and takes patience, encouragement, and bravery. Each camper has been extremely helpful & encouraging to one another in regard to reaching new goals on the rock wall.
Canoeing: In Canoeing, the first lessons of the week were held while campers were sitting on the docks, learning and practicing their strokes. On day 2, there were more canoeing tips to learn. The girls continued to enhance their canoeing strokes, and by the end of day 3, every camper had been out on Lake Aloaloa paddling a canoe!
Games: This week games prepared for the first Games Meet that is to take place this Saturday. The Games meet is a competition between Amazons and Valkyries. The activities include not only sport skill but coordination, teamwork and sportsmanship. Campers will compete in Tic Tac Toe, water bucket games, group Connect 4, soccer, hippity-hop races, pillow polo, and Tug of War. The girls have enjoyed learning dances this week, including the double-Dutch hopscotch dance.
Glee Club: The girls love learning and singing camp songs, especially ones we can share at Council Ring. After our introduction of this summer’s operetta, we have explained the plot of Oklahoma! and cast the lead parts. Now it’s full steam ahead with our songs, dances, and dialog in each age group.
Horseback Riding: In our first week at horseback riding, campers have enjoyed meeting or reuniting with Caspar, Patty, Skipper, Rex, Junior and others these first few days as we reviewed riding basics and practiced safety and steering skills. It is great to be back together! Everyone in camp has now been on a horse and ridden independently around simple steering courses. We are enjoying riding-ring versions of games such as Simon Says, Red Light/Green Light and Pick-a-Pole (a variation of musical chairs), and look forward to building confidence and balance to learn to trot.
Nature: Campers have met the friendly snakes, turtles, toads, salamanders, and Muscovy ducks at the Nature Hut. Staffed by two Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitators, Blair and Margaret, we have orphaned opossums, a young squirrel, corn snakes, tadpoles, toads, Box Turtles, fish and a Musk Turtle scooped up from the lake by 2 campers. Our outdoor fishpond/aquarium is full and popular this summer. The campers are enjoying using nets to catch fish and tadpoles to feed to our water animals. An emphasis this week has been baby animals as our rat had her babies: seeing them open their eyes, nurse, and develop fur is a main reason we have rats in Nature. We also hiked the Centennial Trail to our favorite hemlock tree this week.
Swimming and Diving: While in their swimming classes this week, campers spent time working on the freestyle stroke, and also practiced kick drills using the kickboards. The younger campers are working on their basic swimming skills as well as playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos! And in diving, new divers conquered their fears of going off the board head-first, while more experienced divers worked ahead on their back dives.
Tennis: The first week of tennis classes was focused on correcting and perfecting the most used stokes of tennis: the forehand and the backhand. The first day we focused mainly on forehand and played a fun game at the end of class, were the girls cheered for their friends and had lots of fun playing tennis. The second day was focused on backhand, we went over the basics and practiced consistency and control. The last day of the week was focused on teaching the girls about the importance of footwork and moving around the court so they could better their game. The girls had tons of fun applying what they learned in the games and cheering their friends on during class.
Campers can expect the next week to be full of fun, learning, and friendship.
Nakanawa love –
Your Junior Camp Staff