It was an amazing sight to see all the new and returning campers drive in through the camp gates Saturday morning for the 2017 camp session. With excitement in the air, the campers were ready to adjust to their camp life and make new friends!
That same Saturday evening, the campers participated in the weekly bonfire. Bringing with them the skits their cabins have prepared, instruments, and their talents to share with everyone. As everyone watched the presentations, the sun set and the night rolled in. Campers joined their cabin leaders and counselors in singing traditional Russian folk songs, all while learning the traditions of ORPR Camp that have been passed down for generations.
On Independence Day, the campers woke up the Star-Spangled Banner playing over the camp sound system. That day, the major event was Varka. Varka is a fun, yet competitive activity where each cabin must build and light their own campfire. After they have built a sustaining flame, they must cook soup for lunch. Since this event has taken place on the fourth of July, the campers dressed in red, white, and blue while the counselors dressed significant American figures from history. Throughout the event, there were sparklers shimmering and confetti pops booming. During the midst of it all, the cabins had to stop what they were doing when they heard God Bless America over the sound system and join in with the signing. This unique twist brought joy to all and honored our country. That evening the campers gathered on the beach and admired the fireworks, soaring high in the night sky. The ambient display was a great ending to our day.
On Thursday, the cabins competed in another camp favorite activity called “Beg”. Beg is a scavenger hunt style activity that takes place in the woods. There are items hidden throughout the woods that normally wouldn’t be noticed without careful observation. During their hike, the cabins would encounter counselors dressed in costume. This week’s theme was “Clean Vs. Dirty”. At the first station the campers learned of two families with two very different lifestyles. There were a pair of brothers, who were exceptionally clean and a pair of sisters who were extremely dirty. The campers enjoyed going down mudslides with the sisters and getting caked with mud. Then they encountered the “Bubble Brothers” who had a super bubbly swimming pool set up to clean the campers from all the dirt. The cabins had a great time on the Beg getting dirty then clean. Not only did the campers have fun, but this activity promoted good hygiene. Upon their return, there was refreshing watermelon snack waiting for them.
In conclusion, the first week was a huge success! Campers have made many new friends and amazing memories. The excitement continues as everyone begins to bond closer and closer together.