getting off bus simone Wow! So much has changed here at camp in the past five  days. After a week or more of staff orientation, Camp Kamaji came to life last Friday afternoon when the buses rolled in. There’s been a constant buzz now that Kamaji’s 97th camping season has begun. We thought we’d write you a note with a few highlights of past few days.

One of the first thing parents want to know is “How’s the weather up there?” Quite honestly, until Monday, it was kind of yucky. If you’ve seen the pictures of Opening Day on Smugmug, you probably noticed it was sweatshirt weather on Friday. That wasn’t too bad, however, on Saturday morning, it wasn’t “kind of yucky”. It was yucky. We postponed the scheduled morning swim test until the afternoon when the temperature reached almost 70 degrees. The good news is that since Saturday, things have improved dramatically. Although we had some rain on Monday night, every day has gotten warmer and a bit sunnier. Tuesday turned out to be stunningly beautiful. High temp about 80 degrees and bright sunshine. This morning it’s a bit overcast, but sun is expected with a high temp in the upper 70’s.

Even though the campers just arrived, some of them have already left the shores of Wolf Lake. Kamaji’s Wilderness trip program began in a big way very early on Tuesday morning when 15 Pine Manor campers and 4 Kamaji staff left for a week long trip to the White Otter Wilderness Area in northwestern Ontario. This is the BIG ONE of Kamaji’s wilderness program. One group from Pine and another from Manor will spend the week paddling for hours and hours on crystal clear lakes; portaging canoes and backpacking all the gear for what will seem like miles and miles; and camping on some of most pristine campsites in North America. What an adventure! Later that same day, campers and counselors from Cabin 2 Porch 1 left on a three trip Mississippi River trip to beautiful Lake Andrusia; and campers and counselors from Cabin 1 Porch 1 left on their 2 day upper Mississippi River trip. Today, Wednesday, Cabin 4 Porch 1 takes off for a three day trip to central Minnesota’s Crow Wing River. We hope all the Kamaji trippers have a wonderful time.

Here some highlights from the past few days.

Friday’s travel day was probably pretty hectic for you as well opening day greetingas us . Despite a few flight delays, things went pretty well at the Minneapolis airport. No doubt all the campers were delighted to get off the buses after a four hour bus ride to camp. As the campers bounded off the buses, they met their counselors and headed to their cabins to begin settling in to their “home away from home”. After dinner everyone headed to the archery field for the traditional opening evening program – John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. The sun was setting by the time the game was finished, so everyone headed back to the cabins to get ready for bed. Wow! What a day!

As mentioned earlier, Saturday morning didn’t exactly lend itself to the Kamaji swim test. The good news is that by the afternoon, the temp had risen enough to put everyone in the water. Not exactly anyone’s favorite camp event, but a necessary one. Saturday’s evening program was a special one, especially if your daughter is a first year camper. It was Tribe Initiation and each new camper and counselor became a member of one of Kamaji’s six tribes. Trust us. This is a big deal. If you daughter was initiated on Saturday, you should already know what tribe she is in and, more importantly, what color you should be painting your living room.

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On Sunday morning we took pictures of your daughter’s porch group. Chances are you’ve already found your daughter’s picture on Smugmug. On Sunday afternoon the campers tried out one or two of Kamaji’s instructional activities. Saturday’s evening program was Toy Story Night. Everyone got dressed up as Toy Story characters and ran around camp performing unusual activities and acting, well, toy story-like. If you haven’t checked out the pictures of Toy Story Night on Kamaji’s Photo Gallery take a look.

On Monday, we followed the normal Kamaji schedule for the first time which meant the first day of Kamaji “regular” activities. That’s probably not a great name for Kamaji instructional program, because there’s hardly anything regular about them. There are four instructional activity periods each day and campers choose (with some input from counselors and Ye Directors) from Kamaji’s 20 instructional activities. Most of the things the campers do here are things which they can’t do at home. So whether it’s scaling the climbing wall, trying out the windsurfing boards, riding a horse or learning to develop film in a darkroom, we hope campers will gain a huge amount of self confidence from their activity choices. If you want to follow along your daughter’s day,  click here.  Monday’s evening program was supposed to be our first Council Fire of the summer. Council Fire is one of those camp programs which you may remember from your camping days. Heck, if your grandmother or grandfather went to summer camp, Council Fire would seem familiar to them. Everyone sits in a circle around the big campfire watching the flames “reach towards the sky”. There are songs, stories and a few camp rituals. Old fashioned, but not out of fashion. Unfortunately, it started to rain just before Council Fire, so our first “Council Fire” of the summer had to be held in the Lodge. Oh well. During the program, there was a special ceremony to announce this session’s Tribe Leaders. Tribe Leaders are elected by their tribe mates and carries a great deal of responsibility including organizing, supervising, and leading 22 or 23 other tribe members. It is a big job!! The following campers were elected by their tribes: for the Ishkadays, Dana Schwartz, from St. Louis and Rachel Mego of Little Rock: for the Waubuns, Rachel Steindler and Ilana Dutton, both from Chicago: for the Mundahmins, Bex Schulman of Columbus, OH and Nia Smalley of Phoenix: for the Metigs, Alexis Schwartz of St. Louis and Frankie Burik of Chicago: for the Geshigs, Emma Stanicek of Northbrook, IL and Danielle Gray of Chicago: and for the Nanahtahgas, Mandy Wolter of Norfolk, VA and Sadie Woolf of San Francisco. Congrats to them!

Tuesday was our first Adventure Day of the summer. ridingAdventure Day is a day when the campers spend the day doing activities with their porch groups. Yesterday, some porches went sailing, some went waterskiing, some had fashion shows, some filmed their own commercials, just to name a few. It was such a beautiful day, most porch groups spent time at the waterfront during their Adventure Day.

sailToday, it’s “regular” activities again. Tonight’s evening program is Alice in Wonderful night. You’ll have to check Smugmug to find out the details.

It’s been a remarkable few days. We have 38 new campers here this session, and each appears to have adjusted quickly to the new surroundings. (If you are the parent of a new Kamaji camper, you should have received a call us regarding your daughter’s canoeingadjustment to camp. If you haven’t spoken with either Sarah Cort or Kelly Appleton, give us a call.) Ye Directors have not had to help anyone overcome homesickness and there are tons of smiles all over Kamaji. Kamaji’s 97th camping season is off to great start.

We’ll keep in touch.

Mike, Kathy and Kat

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