There has been nonstop cheering in camp throughout the day. The Olympics “broke,” and the energy level has reached a fever pitch. For those of you not familiar with the Camp Takajo Olympics, it is similar to a color war. However, rather than breaking the entire camper population into two teams, we divide each age group (Warrior, Junior, and Senior) into two teams. The Olympics take place in all three age groups simultaneously. However, we do not combine points throughout the three age groups for one overall winner. While we love the thrill of competition, many color wars become overly competitive, and older campers inadvertently put incredible pressure on younger campers to perform in order to win points for the overall team. The Olympics are divided by age division, which allows the boys to compete against other boys in the same grade level for points. While this is competitive, points are awarded for effort as well, so games are not scored on a winner take all basis.
The Junior Olympics began last night during an ice cream sundae party. While the boys were enjoying their sundaes and dancing to music, group leader Neil Minsky appeared holding a raffle bag. The boys erupted in cheers and got caught up in the raffle, when all of a sudden, the final item pulled from the raffle bag was a banner indicating that the Olympics had begun. The boys marched up to the Indian Council Fire Ring and under a starlit sky and a roaring bonfire, they were given green or grey bandanas to indicate their teams for the competition. Two boys were selected to be captains for the Junior Green Division and two for the Junior Grey Division.
This morning during breakfast, one of the Junior Captains came to me and made a suggestion that reinforced why he was selected as a leader for this competition. He mentioned that one of his teammates had an injured foot and was unable to compete in the competition. He wanted to share his responsibility as captain with his fellow camper. He was asking for permission to have this boy to be his co-captain. This act of kindness and selflessness made the Junior staff proud, for they had selected this boy to be a leader.
The Warrior Olympics broke this morning to the sound of Warren playing the Olympic theme. The boys came running out of their cabins and down to the lake where the Songo River Queen II (a double-decker river boat) that cruises the lake daily was docked. The Warriors boarded the boat for a breakfast cruise, and teams were revealed. The sounds of cheering echoed across the lake in the early morning hours.
Our Senior boys had their Olympics break during the dinner meal when the raffle theme came into play once again. When the raffle bag entered the dining room for the senior boys, they cheered because this was their first raffle since they returned from their big trips. As I pulled the first item from the bag, the boys noticed a green shirt that had lettering on its chest indicating it was to be worn by the Olympic captain of the green team. The dining room erupted as Warren called out the name of the designated captain. This was done three more times as the grey league captain, and green and grey league Sub Senior captains were revealed.
The enthusiasm level is at an all-time high. For the next few days, every boy will be fully ensconced in this iconic event in camp.