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.