The games begin!

The girls had obviously been back to their room, changed, and left for the ‘all camp’. Their room looked like a tornado had hit it. As my son attempted to get himself dressed and organized for the beach, I did a quick tidy and then organized my back pack for an afternoon at the beach.

The flagpole area was a buzz of noisy activity as the campers, sitting with their teams, were singing and chanting and ‘dancing’. We walked slowly past listening to each of the teams.

“Everywhere we go! People always ask us. Who we are. So we tell them….”

“From coast to coast, our team is the most. From east to west, our team is the best. From town to town, our team can get down…”

“When I say go, you say fight. Go! Fight! Go! Fight! When I say boogie, you say down. Boogie! Down! Boogie! Down!”

It sounded an awful lot like a high school football game! The energy was pretty high and the counselors were really pumping them up. And there was lots of dancing…really, really bad dancing! My son and I looked at each other and giggled as we continued down the path to the beach.

When we arrived at the beach we greeted Alisa and Ryan who were busy gathering life jackets and flutter boards and tossing them into a canoe.

“Hey guys! Whatcha up to?”

“We are organizing the ‘Blowin in the wind’ activity for the ‘all camp'”, Ryan replied.

“What do they have to do here?”

“We are tossing twenty lifeys and flutter boards into the lake. The teams have to canoe out there, retrieve them, and bring them back to the beach.”


My son and I found all the beach toys we could and we set up shop well out of the way of the four canoes that were parked on the beach. Ryan had paddled out on the lake in a fifth canoe, and was occupied with randomly throwing the lifeys and flutter boards into the middle of the peninsula. We had just started in on building a tiny city in the sand when the first team arrived. We could hear them shouting as they came down the main road. We stopped our work to sit back on our heels and watch.

“Bang bang choo choo train. Come on team, do your thing. Get it! Get it! Got it! Got it! Uhhhhhh and let it roll!”

Alisa greeted ‘The Crime Stoppers’ team, led by Alex and Caroline, and had each of them each put on a life jacket. She explained the plan.

“So the culprit who is messing with Camp Acorn managed to toss twenty lifeys and flutter boards into the lake. We can’t have swimming classes or canoeing if we don’t retrieve them. We need you guys to help Ryan rescue them all for us before they blow away. Can you do it ‘Crime Stoppers’?”

“YES WE CAN!” The kids and counselors responded.

“OK guys. You will start behind this line in the sand. You will run to your canoes. You start when I blow the whistle and it ends when the last camper returns and crosses back over this line. So, time is of the essence. Be as quick as you can. You have twenty floaties to retrieve.”

The campers huddled around Caroline and Alex, and they discussed who was going to stern the canoes and who would sit in the bow and the hull. There were obviously attempting some sort of strategy by having the more experienced canoeists steer. It just took a couple of minutes for the kids and the two counselors to line up, paddles in hand, and prepare to take a running start at pushing their canoes into the water. Alisa, in the meantime, had walked past us out to the L dock. Ryan, out in his canoe in the peninsula, waited patiently in the midst of all the floating equipment, which was beginning to drift away.

“Ready ‘Crime Stoppers’?” Alisa called to them.

“Ready!” They shouted back. Alisa blew her whistle.

The team ran to the canoes and then chaos ensued. Splashing, flailing, thrashing, tipping, yelling, screaming. My son and I sat with open mouths watching as one canoe tipped and two other canoes collided. The first three canoes managed to finally make it past the dock and were headed toward the peninsula when the passengers in the fourth canoe had righted themselves and carefully this time, got back into the canoe. There was a significant amount of water sloshing around on board but they started to frantically paddle to catch up to their team mates.  


My son was completely mesmerized. He got up, shovel still in hand, and walked along the L dock to join Alisa as she stood supervising. I followed behind him. It was complete entertainment as we watched the counselors shouting directions and the kids struggle to use their paddling strokes to get close enough to the floating debris and then awkwardly pull them out of the water. One of the canoes ended up capsizing as one of the kids reached too far out and threw the delicate balance off. The three of us couldn’t help it. We giggled as the kids fell into the lake squealing and laughing.

“That’s really going to slow them down!” Alisa noted as she watched to make sure the kids were not hurt.

“Are you keeping track of time?” I asked.

“Nope. There is no winner of the ‘all-camp’. Cuz everyone is a winner at Camp Acorn.” Alisa repeated the oft used phrase as she continued to closely supervise the activities.

The rest of the canoes continued picking the flotation devices from the waters. They managed to collect them all. The water logged canoe clumsily started a slow return back toward the shore. The other two canoes, guided by the two counselors, returned to the capsized canoe. They performed a fairly efficeint and graceful t-rescue and got the kids back into their canoe. Then, in a desperate frenzy, the three canoes headed back to shore. My son and I, drawn into the building excitement, clapped and cheered them on. The three canoes caught up to the water logged canoe in the shallow end. 

“Hurry guys! Hurry! Run to the finish line,” Alex shouted as they hopped out of their canoes. The twelve team members ran to the finish line and jumped, cheered, and hooted. 

“You totally rocked that t-rescue guys!” Alisa shouted.

“Ya we did,” one of the campers shouted back.

High five-ing each other and clapping each other on the back the team started into their cheer again. As these wet and spent kids sang and danced around, I watched their animated faces. They were loving every minute of this.

“We may be the slowest team but ‘The Crime Stoppers’ are first in fun. Am I right?” Caroline bellowed.

The campers cheered! Alisa and I looked at each other, nodded, and exchanged a smile. 



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