One of the challenges to camp is that it’s too short. Even with the extra day that’s been added since last year, it just doesn’t seem like 5 days is enough time to truly be able to build a team, to be able to see a true growth in skill. At least that’s what it seems like until you experience a few days at Camp Ultimate Peace. These kids just keep bringing it. They run hard, ask for more instruction, cheer like crazy, and focus on simply, being awesome. I think the key to it all is that the kids are completely free to be whomever they truly are, with adults who are goofy and crazy and weird, all along with a hundred other kids who are just like them in their desire to have fun. Because they never have to worry about only presenting a part of themselves, the kids are able to put their complete selves into working on whatever they’d like on and off the field. Devoting your full self to UP is something we ask of all UP staff members, and it’s all the more easy to accomplish because the kids are so dang good at it.

Simultaneous, full devotion from 185 people is a powerful force. With that force all around us, anything is possible in 5 days.

Flickr Photo Album – 7/6/13
YouTube Video – 7/6/13

Morning in Mohodoun was much like the late night — Sarah was working on the evening activity for tonight and coffee was being served. With the printer continuing its streak of being cooperative, I managed to print off the necessary copies of the day’s issue of Get UP! and get out to our team’s meeting point by 7:55. Shortly after, all the girls had made it out to the rally point, although we are still working on being completely on time. Ah, the internal time clock teenagers! It was clear from the walk over that everyone was excited for the day, but still a bit tired.

Goooood mornign Gabe!

Breakfast was the standard round of total full-force spirit cheers and cornflakes. It’s quite impressive that such amazing behavior is now “normal” at Camp UP. That in itself is impressive. My girls were getting to be fully awake by the time we moved into the auditorium for morning announcements. The highlight of the morning was naming all the spirit award winners for each team. Yesterday, Mona won our team’s award. Today it was Lior’s turn to be recognized.

Summer Camp 2013 spirit award winners of the day!

The morning announcements meeting finished with 1/3 of the teams heading out onto the green in front of the dining hall to start their time at the CIT activity stations, while the other two-third of the teams heading out to the fields for practice. Our shift wasn’t until last, so we had 2-hours of practice to kick off the morning. On the way over to the field, check out what we saw!

Mr. Chameleon!

Out on the field team Maroon 5 warmed up, threw, played some Wah!, Ninja, and Look Up Look Down, and ran through some drills before ending with a short scrimmage against the blue team. At this point we knew some of a basic stack and were able to put out new knowledge into play. The girls managed to cut to the right side, complete a bunch of passes, and play hard D. Both teams ended up scoring a few goals and having a GREAT time! We wrapped with a line of high-fives and then we moved back to the other side of campus to start out shift at the CIT activity stations!


The girls had a fantastic time at the five stations. They started with an intro to the activity from Pirate King Jez who explained they would be trying to recover his treasure.

Pirate Jez!

They started with throwing discs at balloons to knock them off of string or pop them. Next, they had to fish baskets or treasure out of a pond which contained a live (human) crocodile. At the third station they had to fish candy our of bowls filled with flower and hunt for more coins in a dark room. Next, they “navigated” a river course and then finished up with a mad dash through a course filled with very funny people trying to get them to laugh out the water they were carrying in the mouths. Massive kudos to the CITs for creating such great stations, and especially CIT Yonathan for being such an active  boisterous activity leader!

CIT induced camper bonding at its absolute best

With the great music permeating the air, we moved across the dining hall quad and inside to eat lunch. With the whole camp pumped up from the CIT activities, lunch was even more loud than yesterday. Afterwards, made it back into the auditorium with a slight detour made by the last 1/3 of the teams who worked their way through the CIT stations, so that they could get their final prizes. 15 minutes later with everyone in the auditorium, David made a very-well received announcement that everyone was going to stay in the auditorium to watch Despicable Me. 10 minutes into the movie half the kids were laughing along with the movie, and the other half were asleep. Not all of the staff were needed to cover the auditorium, so many got some rest.

Movie time!

After the movie and a round of outside free time activities, the kids grouped up in the quad to head out to practices. We converged in the far left corner of the field and after our standard warm up routine, I worked the girls through a stack position drill. They now seem to have a pretty good idea of where to setup in the stack! We moved through different cutting patterns and the girls showed great improvement on where to be and how to complete tough catches. We finished up practice with an extended button-hook cutting drill that I added a continuation pass to. The girls really got it down by the end. With the sun heading towards the horizon and warm breeze cooling us down, we ended practice with a very strong Ebo Lay Lay cheer. Go Maroon 5!

Everyone then had about 30 minutes of free time before dinner which most of the campers spent getting cleaned up. Out on the quad, people socialized and enjoyed each other’s company while waiting for everyone on each team to show up before walking over to the dining hall.

Zolo and Mais

Dinner was packed with its usual crazy level of spirited cheering. My girls got up and started their own cheer, which uses a Maroon 5 song for the chorus — Instead of “Moves like Jagger”, they say “Throws like Brodie”. It’s pretty dang adorable :) After dinner the whole camp packed back into the auditorium for announcements. The first year CITs were recognized for their work putting together and running the morning activity, and then everyone was sent out to participate in the evening activity.

First year CIT awesomeness!

As the evening activity ran its course and was capped off with an amazing dance circle and signing of the camp song, I worked on media here in the Mohodoun. While listening to my work playlist, the staff came pouring back in and as has been the case every night here at Manof, I was treated to a happy vista of smiling faces. Tired faces, but enormously happy. As David said in our staff meeting, it was a tough day — lots of emotion, intensity, competition, and spirit — but it was so enormously enjoyable. I just got back to my media station after running the nights’ head coaches meeting and I’m pumped for tomorrow. The heads group is just plain ridiculously awesome. Yah, I know I overuse that word, but it’s been entirely applicable every time I’ve put it into play these two past weeks, especially so about the head coaches that have worked here at Camp Ultimate Peace this summer. They bring so much to the table and I’m going to sorely miss our freeform nightly conversations.

Alex just came by to say tomorrow’s issue of Get UP! has been completed, which means tonight might be the earliest we have wrapped up the media coverage. Sleep before midnight? It’ll sure help for all the activity is lined up for us tomorrow: the tournament and the talent show!

One last full day of camp awaits!