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Red New York Wins Color War

Our last day of Color War started out with morning  games. All the campers played hard and were great competitors. It’s been a great 4 days of competition and today was no different.  The rain came in and that didn’t stop us. It fueled us and there is nothing like playing in a little rain. It was full force ahead and everyone understood  the assignment- It was time time to win Color War. All the campers had great attitudes and played their hearts out to try and grab those last points for their team. Camp was buzzing this morning and everyone could feel the energy grow.

After our morning games, it was one last push with an afternoon with Apache Relay. Everyone matters in Apache and every camper plays a key role. No matter if you are being wrapped in toilet paper, running around the quad track, painting an entire oak tag board or are heading into the School of Rock for the infamous “unknown”, you count. It is a race that includes EVERYONE. It is fun, it is intense and it is Apache. When you think of the true meaning of this camp wide relay, you understand how connected we all are and how each part makes up the whole. The intensity, the focus, the anticipation, it’s all there and it’s why we love Apache. It was and incredible day and we literally didn’t stop. We played hard today and everyone knows that the finish line is getting closer.

As we always know, it really does come down to SING and tonight was no different. The artwork and songs were just incredible. Ask anyone who was in the hall tonight and they will confirm that tonight was pure magic. Both teams brought the “A” game tonight and it was a battle. Each team kept elevating the intensity as every song was stellar, every piece of art was mind blowing.  When the art was presented and shown to each team, the look of amazement blanketed everyone in the hall. Mouths were literally wide open and the look of wonder was on everyones faces. It was just SING perfection and we all knew this race was going to be close. Take a look here at our game of musical chairs. This is how we announce the winner and it was INSANELY fun!! The energy could move mountains and your kids felt the magic.

Congratulations to Red New York for being crowned Summer 2023 Color War Champions!

For five days our camp was divided and tonight we are again one camp family. Back together for the end of a great summer.  We made memories that we will never forget and have gone through experiences that will impact who we are. What we learned during Color War was  profound and we will carry these lessons throughout our lives. Only a few short days left and not a moment to waste. Tomorrow is carnival and everyone is super excited to just play, have fun with games, rides, prizes and cotton candy. It just keeps getting better, till the very end. We have a few more days to go and not a moment to waste. There is more fun to be had and more memories to make as we are determined to make every last day here count.



Fear Can’t Stop Our Greatness

Not a day goes by where I don’t witness a moment that tells a story of why this experience is so profound. In Color War, there is ample opportunity to bear witness to greatness, strength, grit, determination, sportsmanship and selflessness. Today was no different and I was blown away at one of these many moments I am so fortunate to be present for. It happened at the pool where the girls were competing in a swim meet and one camper was a bit panicked and nervous for her portion of the relay. She didn’t want to let anyone down but was so fearful she would be the reason her team wouldn’t win the race. I overheard her telling her counselor how nervous she was and what that counselor said back was just beautiful and inspiring. She said, “The most important thing is that you get in that pool and try. Don’t ever let fear stop you from your greatness.” These moments are just so powerful and they go way beyond  what happens here. I watched that camper jump in the pool and finish her race. She found her greatness in finishing that race and not letting any self doubt stand in her way. What a lesson that she will carry with. her way beyond this color war. Fear can’t stop our greatness!

Knowing what Color War means to our campers, makes these 5 days not only emotional but it inspires each of us to dig down deep and reach our own potential.  Every one of us matters. Every point we score helps our team move closer to our goals.  You can see it on their faces and feel it in their effort and hard work. Your kids are finding strength inside themselves they didn’t know was there. You would be beyond proud of them. The cheers of victory are deafening and the anguish of defeat is real. This Color War matters to each of us and it is providing meaningful competition and pushing ourselves when we think we can’t, we are being encouraged knowing that we can. When we think we’re tired, we get up and push harder. Crazy to think about the impact this Color War has on each and every one of us. It inspires us, it motivates us, and teaches us that we can do great things together.

This Color War is so close and the teams are within a mere 24 points of each other. Yes, only 24 POINTS – We have had 4 full days of competition and a mere 24 points separates us. A shoutout to our Division Heads for some pretty amazing splits. It is anyones game  as these teams head into Staff Game Night.  Our campers cheered on our staff tonight who competed in soccer, basketball and wiffleball. Every game was like watching game 7 in the NBA finals or a Superbowl. The energy was intense and the spirit was high. There isn’t a camper or staff who isn’t giving it their all and pushing it to the limit. It is an outstanding Color War and with just 1 more day to go and the scores so close, it is anyones game. So here is to 1 more amazing day of exhaustion, exhilaration, competition and meaningful moments. The ride may be coming to an end but we are determined to make every single moment count.


The Ties that Bond Us

Today we welcomed our our Alumni to camp and the joy they spread was contagious. Everyone was so happy to be back on camp and they couldn’t contain their enthusiasm. The sprit was electric and the energy was just joyful. It felt great to be part of this Chen-A-Wanda family and it’s truly incredible how everyone feels so connected,  even those alum and campers here now who just met. There was something that ties our campers who were playing a game of steal the bacon to our alumni who watched every move as if it were them on that biddy court. Some things change and some stay the exact same and a good game of BBG in Color War has consistently provided joy to generations of past and current Chenny campers. There  are no two summers alike but traditions like Color War experienced at Chenny will always remain the same. Our alumni floated through their day with perma-smiles on their faces and memories of their time here on Chenny filling their hearts. It was beautiful to see and amazing to watch how important this place still is to so many. One alum said to me, ” There is just a feeling I feel when I am here and I would do anything to go back and be able to experience this again. This place impacted my life so profoundly and was where I felt the most happy and free.” That was just one of the sentiments shared with us on how this place impacted their lives. All of our alum that came back today, have gone on to create lives lived with purpose and meaning and every one of them shared with us how this place gave them a foundation to go out to the world and do great things. Our hearts are most definitely full being able to continue this journey to positively impact the lives of those who made and are making this place their summer home.

Psych speeches are integral to Color War and they provide inspiration to each team at line-up and having our alumni here was a perfect opportunity to include them and inspire everyone. Former campers and staff, Mychael Schnell and Dani Beck gave a psych speech to our entire camp that took us all on a ride with laughter and joy to tears of heartfelt sentiment to finale of a giant sing-a-long dance party to Don’t Stop Believing. They defined what a psych speech needed to be and they delivered it so beautifully. There wasn’t a person at that line-up that didn’t feel something incredibly beautiful and inspirational. It was a perfect way to head into the last 2 days of Color War.

Tonight was a great event as we all headed to see the long-standing camp tradition of Rope Burning and Water Boiling. Counselors for both teams have been collecting wood and preparing for tonight all week long. Their faces are painted with zinc to protect them from the burning fire that they have created and the entire camp, watches with great anticipation as to which team while burn the rope and boil the water first. Tonight’s win went to Gold LA as they burned their rope boiled their water first but that was not the end of tonights story. Red NY had a challenge with lighting their fire but they just never quit. They stayed calm and collected and worked together even though they knew that Gold had finished their task. They were destined and determined to complete their mission and with the help of their entire red team watching and cheering them on, they kept going. Yes, Gold got the points last night but Red also won. They stayed the course, worked together, inspired one another and they too got it done. What important life lessons this is for our kids to have and hold onto.

Life was and still is Great at Camp Chen-A-Wanda.




Today, I was lucky enough to walk by a game of Newcombe between the Inter boys and what I saw defined what Color War is all about. The game was mid way through and gold was dominating this match. One by one, the Gold team picked off all the Red players except one, Jake Zamkoff  who stood solo on his side of the net and looked determined to survive. Odds were most definitely against Jake as he was facing 7 gold opponents. But there was something inside Jake that just wouldn’t quit. Every serve, every catch and every throw was going his way and one by one Jake was defeating the gold team until there was just one single player left standing in front of him. The crowd grew bigger with every opponent Jake took down and it was becoming obvious that this game was one to watch.  It was Jake vs. Cade Modica, his best friend btw. They went back and forth and each camper was giving their absolute all but in the last play Cade threw the ball in the perfect corner spot and  took Jake out for win. Jake fell to ground in exhaustion and the crowd went nuts as everyone was chanting “MVP”to Jake even though he didn’t bring home the win. What he did bring, was pure heart. Jake never gave up, not for minute and everyone wanted to celebrate his effort. The entire Gold team showed respect and shook his hand and told him how incredible his game was. It was Color War perfection right in front of me. Everything we want from our kids was displayed in that Newcombe match and it was incredible to see. Every camper recognized Jakes effort first and foremost regardless of getting a win. A true Chenny win for everyone who was at that game of Newcombe.

There was a freshman boy who was having a bit of a struggle at dinner and when I asked him what was wrong, he replied “I don’t know if my friends like me.” My heart hurt to hear that he felt this way, even for a minute. I walked over to the red  kid captain, Caleb Gene who is in his division and I asked for his help. I explained that his friend was feeling a but down and Caleb  immediately found his friend and what happened next took my breath away. Caleb marched directly to his teammate and friend, put his hand on his shoulder and said, “I want you to feel safe here and camp is better because you are here. The Red team is better because you are on it.” That sweet boy made his friend smile and feel not alone. This is what camp does to our kids, they step up, show up and help one another when needed. There is no mystery to why Caleb was chosen as a kid captain.

This Color War is so close and the teams are within a mere of each other.  It is anyones game as these teams head into Quiz night. Tonight was all mental, as campers and staff had to answer questions about anything and everything from pop culture to math equations to Camp Chen-A-Wanda facts and everything in between. All day, our bodies were challenged and tonight we stretched our minds.  There isn’t a camper or staff who isn’t giving it their all and pushing it to the limit. It is an outstanding Color War and with just 3 more days to go and the scores so close, it is anyones game. So here is to 3 more amazing days of exhaustion, exhilaration, competition and meaningful moments. We are making every single moment count until we get on those buses next Saturday and all head home. The end is near but not a day will be taken for granted. There is bit more to do.


Tugs, Games & Contests

Day 1 – Kids got dressed head-to-toe in their colors and went right into Tugs of war. The battle was fierce and the kids dug down deep to do their teams proud. They pulled hard and worked as team and showed a strength that they may not have even been aware they had. The faces of fierceness and the grunts of grit, Tugs of War brought the spirit of the games to life and set the tone to what is looking to be an incredible War.

It was fun afternoon full of games and competition with steal the bacon, BBG, softball, basketball and soccer, kickball to name a few. Your kids played all day and I say play, they played hard. After six weeks of non-stop action here at camp, their energy is pure adrenaline as they are giving everything they got. Campers and counselors went hard today and didn’t hold back on effort and so much spirit.

What happened tonight was a standout night. After mass games, it was contest night and there was something in the air. The energy was just INSANE. Kids were going crazy with dancing and singing in between their games of hip-pity hops and relay races. The vibe was just electric and the energy tonight was something special. Everyone was feeling good and having the best time.  It was a GIANT party where everyone was in the best mood to party and dance. There is no doubt that from the physical energy your kids produced today, that at this very moment, all our camp is fast asleep. Camp is quiet but not for long – In just a few hours, we have to get to Day 2!