What day is it when hugs earn points and strange hats with funky costumes are the norm? It’s Wacky Wednesday — a fun-filled day where everything is topsy turvy, a bit bizarre, and very extraordinary.

Wacky Wednesday is a unique all-day programming event that encourages relationship building between campers and staff and sparks friendly competition between cabins. The day’s activities are designed to help campers earn points toward services administered by counselors (e.g., backrubs, serving cookies and milk, serving breakfast in bed, etc.), which are auctioned at the end of the day according to the total amount of points earned by cabin groups. Here’s how to start the wackiness at your camp.

Auction a Service
On Tuesday, ask counselors to list a service that they are willing to do for a cabin group. The total number of services on this auction list should equal the number of cabins to allow all campers to enjoy at least one service. Tell counselors to turn the list in by evening meal.

Notify campers that the auction list will be in their mailboxes after evening meal. Request that each cabin group rank the items on the list according to their preference and turn in their rankings at breakfast Wednesday morning. Tell campers a note will be in their mailboxes at the end of the day on Wednesday, after total scores are tallied, informing them what service they purchased with the points they earned. Auction services will be awarded to cabins in preference order according to the points earned; for example, the cabin earning the most points will enjoy their first auction service choice.

Points for Play
Establish a point system for cabins to earn points for participating in Wacky Wednesday activities. Points can be earned by individual campers or by the entire cabin. The following are activity suggestions with possible point values.

Wacky costume contest
A wacky costume contest can be held to start the day. At the morning gathering or meal, judges critique the most unusual outfits, awarding 100 points to the wackiest camper, cabin group, and cabin counselor.

Get your camp’s kitchen, administrative, and maintenance staff involved and give them a chance to interact with campers even more. Dub them not only as judges of Wacky Wednesday contests but as Hug-o-matics, too! In Wacky Wednesday terms, a Hug-o-matic is a person wearing strange-looking garb, a large, outlandish hat, carrying a clipboard, and roaming camp.

On cue (a dinner bell, gong, or horn that can be heard throughout camp) campers have two minutes to find a Hug-o-matic to hug. Campers should be instructed to stand in line at the Hug-o-matic in an orderly fashion and give quick hugs! Campers are awarded one point per hug, which is recorded by the Hug-o-matic.

Cabin tours
Instruct campers to decorate their cabins with a clever theme and then schedule cabin tours. Let creativity flow. These cabin tours can be as inventive as campers’ imaginations will allow. For example, cabins could be arranged like campers’ homes, a "zoo," or campers can pretend to be real estate agents selling their cabin. Judges tour cabins and evaluate them for creativity, camper participation, use of everyday objects, and being ready on time. The wackiest cabin is awarded 200 points.

Scoring and Awarding Auction Items
Develop score sheets for judges (impartial counselors, kitchen staff, maintenance staff) to record points earned throughout the day. The program director will record points earned on a master score sheet at the end of the day for final judging. The cabin that gains the most total points at the end of the day wins first pick of their chosen auction items. But, the fun doesn’t stop there. Each cabin will enjoy at least one of their chosen auction items (maybe not their first pick) according to the amount of points earned by their cabin.

Depending on the type of auctioned service, counselors can pair up to deliver services or do them individually. Counselors may not be able to render their services immediately. Remind counselors to schedule a time with the cabin group to administer their auctioned service.

With Hug-o-matics bringing automatic smiles, silly outfits causing outbursts of laughter, cabin tours helping campers think creatively, and counselors making campers feel special, you’ll soon begin to understand why wacky is really wonderful on Wednesday at camp.


Originally published in the 2000 January/February issue of Camping Magazine.