On Monday, we welcomed our campers to Elmwood Outdoors. In our 64 years, our community has never had such an important opening day. In addition to our regular opening day jitters, this year we worried how children and staff would re-enter a social community.
It has been too long since kids have been able to form connections, play outside and be together. When schools closed in March, being a child changed. Kids could not see each other, play sports or do any of the wonderful activities that children should be doing. Play is the work of childhood, and for many months it seemed like the special time of childhood was fading away.
That changed this week. Kids were together, being silly, swimming, singing, trying new things and being with their friends. Did camp look different? Yes. Masks were worn by staff and groups were kept far apart from each other. We had to say goodbye to some of our favorite Elmwood traditions like all-camp meetings, but we focused on all that we could do.
We could swim, participate in drama, build an art project out of clay, participate in Outer Space Relays, play kickball, talk to our friends and so much more.
Here are a few thoughts from each of our villages that we wanted to share:
This week, the Explorers got to go in the water every day, play with friends, play in Elmville and have snack together. The smiles were real. These kids need to be together and feel the love of the Elmwood community.
The Scouts spent the week finding joy in small moments. They got to see their friends for the first time and used their creativity to play favorite games in a socially distant way. They loved pool dancing and dancing all day even in the lunch area!
For the Adventurers, this week was all about friends. For most of our oldest campers, it had months since they had seen their friends. The look in their eyes when they got to be together was indescribable. Each child could not stop taking advantage of every ounce of the day. They loved fitness, music, arts and crafts, softball and each moment in between.
This was the happiest we have ever seen children here, and we are very proud of the program we have created. Elmwood Outdoors is about finding every opportunity for children to be together, outside, and week one was a success!
As is tradition, each group names themselves. Here are our 2020 group names!