It was a terrific summer! The sun shone most days, and there was enough rain to keep the lake full for much of the summer. Campers and staff came from 15 different states and ten different countries, creating a culture that was as supportive as it was inclusive. One of Killooleet’s strengths is that many families attend for several generations and counselors often have parents or siblings who have also been counselors. These counselors are excellent teachers, caring and charismatic.
Campers were involved in a ton of sports and arts activities. The lake was busy with campers kayaking, canoeing and using the paddle boards as well as swimming. Many campers kept track as they swam the length of the lake multiple times. The riding program had campers learning lots of new skills while joyfully riding the horses around the ring and on hikes. Children were on the basketball court, and soccer and softball fields during recalls (their free time) as well as for organized activities. Campers organized a Newcomb league that ran during recalls and Koob was a popular game at Choice.
The shop was busy all the time, with campers wearing wrist bracelets made out of leather, silver pendants and rings, and proudly displaying their woodworking and stained-glass projects. In sewing they were making pillows and a variety of clothing. The ceramics room was busy, with campers creating pieces on the wheels and by hand, before they were glazed in a glorious array of colors. Popular camp games included Magic, as well as ping pong, Apples to Apples, and chess. Many Killooleet campers do not list team sports in their top three activities, yet 92 out of 100 campers joined the softball league, which provided an opportunity to explore sports and being on a team. The soccer league had dozens of good players and was particularly vibrant this summer. One parent remarked how wonderful it was to watch children playing team sports without anyone yelling at them from the sidelines! The culture of Killooleet, where oldest campers, the captains of these teams work hard to make the experience supportive and inclusive, is different from most other places.
It was a musical summer, and there were several music counselors helping campers and staff create their own soundtracks to Killooleet life. We had a half-dozen counselors who could play multiple instruments and had magical piano skills, while their primary activities were woodworking, sports, archery and boating. Camp parent, as well as educator and talented musician, Warren did his second drum making residency. The musical this summer was Madagascar, directed by a 3rd year returning counselor from the UK with able assistance from colleagues. The stage crew did elaborate costumes and props as well as lights and sound. The performance was terrific! Banquet Folder Songs included classics such as: Red Velvet Steering Wheel Cover Driver, Body in the Bag, Landslide, Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos), Turn, Turn, Turn and Rocks and Trees.
While it was a short summer, our ten days of hikes and overnight trips were action packed. Usual trips included Mt. Mansfield, Granville Brook, fields of alumni who live in the area, horse hikes in the Rochester Hollows, mountain bike trips, canoe trips to Chittenden Reservoir, trips to local farms and watergun ambush hikes. While Killooleet campers mountain biked in Rutland and also Burke, a local group (RASTA) is opening up many wonderful trails around Rochester. For second overnighters we had three trips in the Adirondaks: back packing, rock climbing and canoeing. Most trips stayed closer to home, exploring brooks, streams, farms and mountains.
It was our two chefs 7th summer working their magic and feeding us all delicious meals. Traditional favorites including lasagna, congo bars and toasted cheese sandwiches with tomato soup have been joined by chicken parm, coffee cake, and “secret salad”, which is available almost every lunch and supper, and often includes fresh Killooleet garden produce.
As we entered the last week of camp, Commando Raids were sprung from a fire drill and enthusiastic play was enjoyed by all. After strong teaching by oldest campers during Camper-Counselor Exchange, the theme of Barterday was “Classy”! There were some inspired ties and creative formal wear in the parade, and the currency was three Pleases to one Thank you. We were lucky with the weather and got in the All Star Softball Game on Thursday and the All Star Soccer Game on Friday. Excellent play by the campers and staff on both teams but… staff won.
The last week was action packed with oldest campers teaching activities, Barterday, All Star Games in softball and soccer, craft shows, the final sing and the performance of Madagascar. All too soon the buses arrived at the Basketball Court, parents picked up their campers, staff headed back home, and the summer was over.
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