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Many thanks to Lynne Murphy from Ireland for this fun memory! Lynne was the evening program coordinator and Web manager at Camp Chinqueka in Connecticut this summer. Send YOUR summer story to media@ACAcamps.org.
As I look around my bedroom, a wall-to-wall shrine dedicated to camp memories, it is almost impossible to select one highlight of camp or explain how much camp means to me. It is a place where I feel more at home than I do in the house I was raised in; a place I have met the most spectacular people and children I will ever meet; and a place where I have grown, changed, and loved.
It was just two years ago that my life changed at sunny Camp Chinqueka. I had found a place where I could be myself and be happier than I have ever been. This summer was phenomenal! Despite the fact that every day at camp is packed with fun-filled activities, there is always one day that stands out in my mind. WATERSPORTS DAY!!! These are two words that are uttered with pure excitement and anticipation from the very first day at camp, even though it isn’t held until week six!
Camp Chinqueka is an all-girls camp; however, we also have a brother camp, Camp Awosting. On this very special day, we join together and have a massive swim meet for our campers. Each year, each camp has a theme for Watersports Day. It is a great excuse to get everyone excited, pumped up, and dressed up! This year, we were Egyptians (queue “Walk Like an Egyptian” — a song that will be forever stuck in my mind because of this day!), and the boys were Romans. The week building up to this day, we spent hours making costumes, building a giant pyramid and sarcophagus, and most importantly, singing songs and learning new chants to cheer on our girls and scare off the boys! It is incredible seeing all the campers become even more spirited than they usually are (which is truly saying something!).
Watersports Day isn’t just a day of swimming competitions, it is also very important for another reason: WAR CANOE — a test of speed, technique, and distance against the boys. The girls and boys train so hard each summer, and each summer we cheer them on until the entire camp has lost their voices! Even now I catch myself singing “I SAID, LET ME SEE YOUR WAR CANOE!” Win or lose, we are always so proud of them.
After many hours of swimming, cheering and excitement, we have a delicious feast, and the campers dance the evening away at a social! I’ll never get sick of joining in as the entire camp does the “Cupid Shuffle”!
Not only is this day full of fun, dressing up, and an excuse to get in the water on a hot Connecticut day, it is a day that shows what Camp Chinqueka is all about. Our campers learn all about working as a team, supporting one another, being proud of yourself knowing you’ve done your best, and being yourself — but most of all, having FUN! It was a spectacular day, one I will ever never forget, and it’s just one of my many, many cherished memories of my time at Camp Chinqueka.
Photo courtesy of Camp Chinqueka, Litchfield, Connecticut