The Apache Relay defines what Color War is all about and it was an absolutely perfect day for this race. This race includes every single player everyone matters in the Apache Relay. No matter if you are wrapping your teammate in toilet paper head-to-toe, rowing a kayak across Fiddle Lake or heading into Shields Hall for the infamous “unknown”, you count. There were 57 events that make up the Apache and each one of them are essential to the integrity of the race. It is a 3-hour event that utilizes the entire camp and being a part of it is something you will never forget. To run the Apache is like nothing you have ever done before and after you have done it, you can’t wait to do it again. The race was close the whole way through with lead changes happening at every turn. You could hear the cheers from each team that took the lead but in the last few challenges Red Summer crossed that finish line only to beat Gold Winter by a record breaking 2 minutes. It was close and a race well run. Apache 2016 is in the books as one of the most exciting races ever run at Camp Chen-A-Wanda.
There was no time waste as the afternoon was full of last day games. Soccer matches, softball games, steal the bacon, volleyball and basketball games were being played all throughout camp. Everyone knew that this was the last day of competition and they were ALL in. You saw the fierceness in every camper. They dig down deep today and brought their “A” game. There wasn’t a camper who didn’t believe in these games and what they meant. There is pride, commitment, loyalty, dedication and a deep sense of spirit that comes from being a part of our Color War. Your effort is all that matters. Stop and imagine for one moment that your kids were part of a life changing experience where they contributed their best while being supported for their hard work. They shared a common goal withe their teammates and they believed in themselves. They never gave up, not once. They pushed themselves to their limit and watching it up close, was just awe-inspiring. It takes our breath away to watch all your kids take part in this journey. Five days of hard work, five days of exhaustion, five days of personal growth, five days of pushing forward, five days of knowing they can do anything, five days of getting behind their teammates and inspiring others to be their best and five of the best days at camp.
Tonight was a silent meal and never was The Lodge so quiet. It was oddly silent as this is the place where we dance and sing but tonight in Color War tradition, we ate silently. The campers wanted more than anything to talk but knew that every word spoken would loose points for their team. Try and visualize The Lodge full of campers and counselors that just don’t speak. It was a sight to see and not hear a word spoken.
As both teams entered into Shields Hall dressed as elves, rays of sunshine, snowmen and surfers there was a sense of elation and true Color War pride. This was it, and everyone knew it. Each team presented their plaque and banner and they were truly works of art. Masterpieces if you will. It was time for Sing and both were ready to perform the songs they worked so hard on and had so much meaning in every verse. There were tears as Red Summer sang their Alma Mater and included beautiful lyrics that embodied the feelings they have as their summer comes to an end:
Can’t believe this is the end
We can’t pretend, please hold my hand
I’ll try Not to cry as we say goodbye
Just 4 days left with you – this just can’t be true
It was emotional and everyone knew that the end of Color War signifies the end of camp. What we have all gone through will be with us forever but for now is ending and the last four days as two teams are now back together as one amazing unified camp. Gold Winter so poetically conveyed in their Alma Mater:
You’ve changed my life, now its my turn to change yours
Who knew that time could go by so fast?
Reality is slowly setting in
Always knew that this day would come
Thinking of all the memories and good times forever mine
I’d be lost without you
In a Chenny tradition of musical chairs, the last Judge to grab his seat was Red and that relayed the winner of Color War 2016. There was elation as the realization was true, Red Summer wins Color War. But only a mere 66 points was the difference between winning and losing this War. It all came to Sing and tonight was just spectacular. There were so many tears tonight. Some were of joy from winning this 5 day battle, some were of loosing and the heartache of defeat but regardless of why we all began to cry we all ended in tears because we know the end to summer 2016 is near. The hugs and embraces wrapped us all in this Chenny Love we feel every single day. From the freshman who were weeping to our CIT’s that cried from a very different place. Their journey as a camper is ending. One CIT, walked over to a very teary Middy boy who was overcome with emotion, he kneeled down, put his arms around this young camper as said, “I would do just about anything to start Camp Chen-A-Wanda all over again. You are so lucky,” He then said, “Don’t waste one minute of your summers here at Chenny. They will change your life. I promise.” This is what it’s all about.
We walked into Shields Hall tonight as two very separate teams, dressed head to toe in gold and red but we all walked out back together as one camp. Sad tears quickly turned into tears of joy as everyone held onto one another and walked back to their bunks and cherished the night being together. We have four more days and much more fun to be had here at Chenny. So with Color War behind us, we are headed for the absolute best last 4 days to go!!!