Greetings from Camp Nakanawa!
Campers, counselors, and staff were all grateful to be able to gather together once more at our beloved Camp Nakanawa. There were plenty of new faces this year – almost 100 first-time Nakanawa girls – along with many devoted returning campers, all gracing the shores of Lake Aloaloa.
Sunday: 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.
The campers ran through a mini version of their activity schedules to familiarize themselves with all that awaits them during the two week session. And 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 her team for life. Campers left the Council House proudly wearing their new team ties. The Amazons & Valkyries compete against each other throughout the session in athletic contests designed to foster sportsmanship, team work, and friendly competition.
Monday: Today was busy as we had the first full day of classes. Archery, swimming, canoeing, arts & crafts, riding are a few of the many activities which campers enjoy throughout the day. There are 3 classes, then a milk break, followed by 2 more classes before lunch. After a much needed Rest Hour, the girls had an hour of “Free Swim” during which many campers chose to visit the Nature Hut. Many opted to write letters to family and friends, read, rest, or yes, swim in Lake Aloaloa! After dinner, campers learned many of the “rules” and courtesies of camp life from the chorus line of counselors singing a rollicking version of “The 12 Days of Camp”!
Tuesday: Our second day of classes - We woke up to slightly cooler temperatures, and the morning soon gave way to perfect weather. During Free Swim, Valkyries & Amazons held meetings during which the Team Leaders – three for each team – were elected. Campers old & new were excited about the elections. Tuesday’s Evening Entertainment was held on the Games Field where the campers played a high-spirited game called “Double Trouble”! Laughter and cries of encouragement could be heard all over camp!
Wednesday: Today was the third day of classes, and it ended with THE OVERNIGHT! After a dance party on the shore of Lake Aloaloa, a “Wacky Dive” competition amongst the counselors, and a cookout, campers went to their cabins, grabbed their sleeping bags & pillows and went to their designated sleeping areas. The oldest campers slept out under the stars by the lake, on the Games Field or the tennis courts. The next age groups slept with their cabinmates in the Council House or the Playhouse. The youngest campers slept in their cabins, but still participated in the overnight experience by sleeping in their sleeping bags on the floor of their cozy cabins! Everyone had s’mores and participated in the evening devotions before saying goodnight.
Thursday: Thursday was “Free Day!” Last night’s overnight was followed by a pancake breakfast. Everyone could sleep a tiny bit late if they wanted to, and stroll into the Dining Hall in their pj’s to enjoy some delicious pancakes! The girls all stayed in camp for Free Day and enjoyed a selection of activities – from bracelet making, to visits to the Nature Hut, to learning a bit about Chinese calligraphy from one of the counselors. After dinner, the Amazons and Valkyries held team “rock” meetings. Each team has a much cherished rock – an open space nestled in the woods near camp – where meetings are held once a week.
Friday: Our fourth full day of classes was capped off with the first Council Ring meeting. Wearing their team ties, campers met on the Games Field with their counselors & cabinmates. Then, singing a favorite camp song along the trail as dusk fell, campers walked to the Council Ring. Council ring is an important Camp Nakanawa tradition. Pepe began tonight’s meeting by welcoming everyone to the meeting and by reminding campers of the importance of a positive attitude, gratitude, leadership, and love towards each other. During each weekly Council Ring, campers are recognized by the various activity heads for their enthusiasm and positive attitudes while in class. Posture recognitions are another significant aspect of Council Ring. Girls who receive a posture recognition are awarded a special Posture Pin by Pepe. The evening ends with campers walking along the trail back to camp while singing the “Goodnight Song”.
Saturday: Saturday was GAMES DAY – with the Games Meet before lunch and the Swim Meet held after Rest Hour! To prepare for the meets, teams gathered for their pep meetings after breakfast – practicing team cheers and songs. While there is a friendly rivalry between the Amazons and Valkyries, much importance is placed on sportsmanship and team spirit.
Tonight’s Evening Entertainment was a super fun dance contest between counselors - one from each cabin pair – so there were 12 contestants in all. The counselors chosen for the contest were elaborately and colorfully costumed by their cabins for the big event. The contest ended with ALL of the campers and counselors jumping up from their seats and joyfully dancing to Can’t Stop the Feeling!
Sunday: Our non-denominational Church service was held outside in the shade of the pine trees in a beautiful spot overlooking the lake. Pepe led a meaningful service and talked about the importance of positive communication, engaging the campers with questions. Soon after, the Tennis Meet was held. After lunch, we had the slightly longer than normal Sunday Rest Hour. This was followed by a games competition, with contest sites at the different activity locations around camp. There is never a dull moment at Nakanawa!
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 Climbing Wall is located in the Playhouse, and for many campers, this was their first time to try out a climbing wall! Campers were introduced to the different bouldering routes and to the concept of free climbing. While at the climbing wall, emphasis is placed on building strength and confidence. There are other games that were played by the campers this week, such as the ever popular “the floor is lava”!
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, time was spent preparing and practicing the individual games in preparation for the big Games Meet on Saturday. During class, emphasis was placed on cardiovascular strengthening, coordination, and team building. Also, girls had fun with activities as varied as line dancing and Bocce! What will next week hold?!
Glee Club: The girls are learning camp songs from our wonderful Nakanawa song book, but there are almost too many good songs to choose from! We will have a musical “Seasons of Love” at the end of camp. The musical involves each and every camper, so time was spent learning and rehearsing songs in preparation for that exciting event.
Horseback Riding: At the Junior Camp barn, we have a record number of beginning riders who have been enthusiastic and brave about their first independent rides. Safe, correct mounting and dismounting are part of our lessons, along with steering courses in the arena. Biscuit, our miniature horse, is a charming new addition to our stable. She has been a fun ride for our smallest campers. We can’t wait for our next lessons!
Nature: Campers are learning so much from their hands-on experiences with the wide range of animals in the Nature Hut. Our Head Nature counselor, Margaret Matens, is a permitted wildlife rehabilitator and she brings those animals with her to camp. We have opossums, corn snakes, tadpoles, toads, Muscovy ducklings, Box Turtles, as well as fish and a Musk Turtle (scooped up from the lake by 2 campers!) which are kept in the large outdoor fishpond/aquarium for the summer. The girls were all very excited to learn about the births of 13 baby rats and 3 new Guineafowls during the 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: Campers started the week with instruction in the forehand stroke as well as controlling the ball. Next came the backhand stroke. The girls continued to work on their strokes as the week progressed, and also learned about the importance of footwork and moving around the court.
Campers can expect the next week to be full of fun, learning, and friendship.
Nakanawa love –
Your Junior Camp Staff