I know I’m at an Ultimate camp, and the Ultimate games should be my favorite point in the day, but, they aren’t. I am thrilled to see my girls play. They play hard, show daily improvement, and have so much fun. But, the most intense moments of happiness I feel at Ultimate Peace are during the meals — or my aptly put, the crush of Spirit that are UP meals. I’ve been in several environments where far past the critical mass of a group has fully bought in to an organization’s mission. The spirit of my school of 11-years, St. Johnsbury Academy, absolutely terrifies every other school in the state. We shake the house during home sports games. We have regular pep rallies. Our homecoming football game regularly draws 5,000+ people in a town of 7,000. The jump in Spirited expression from a “normal” school to St. Johnsbury is the same distance as it is from St. Johnsbury Academy to Camp Ultimate Peace.
I think the meals are my favorite place because they remind me, in such a clear way, of Ultimate Peace’s end goal — to live in a world where everyone is human and no one is “the other”. Where everyone believes in mutual respect. Where everyone believes in integrity. Where everyone believes in non-violence. Where everyone believes in fun. Where everyone believes in friendship.
Not only believes, but lives.
Coffee in hand almost as soon as I came into the Mohodoun, I sat down to catch up on some email from the outside world. I was pulled back into UP as the staff started coming in. I watched Lisa Kanner plan our her day and other talk about everything that had happened the day before. Soon enough, it was time to move outside to the quad to meet up with all of our teams for the walk over to the dining hall. With only a few stragglers to find, we made it over to the dining hall only slightly late. We are trying to really hammer being on time, but alas, like all universal constants, some teenagers in every group are always going to be late.
While enjoying my morning cocoa about 3 minutes into breakfast, the table cheering began in earnest. “We got spirit, yes we do. We got spirit how about you!” It was 8:15. AM. Rock on. There are few places where it’s impossible to be in anything other than a good mood. Meals at UP are one of those places.
In the auditorium we ran through a few announcements before everyone was sent out for the first morning practice sessions. Before we left, David made sure to run us through our first stretching session of the day.
A short time later Maroon 5 was out on the Manof field, warming up after a bit of paired throwing. We then did some more focused throwing before moving into several versions of GoTo. The girls are picking up on their fundamental skills quite quickly. Footwork is getting better, pivoting is looking sharp, and their catching is already improving. With frequent water breaks worked into the morning, we transitioned to some Hot Box before we ran several rounds of “Triangle of Death” with Lior doing the pleasure of throwing. She was a beast and made it through three rounds with 9 cutters. Go Lior!
Oh, and we definitely had to work in some Wah! and Ninja :)
After finishing our drills, we took the line for a short scrimmage against the Green team, aka, team “Shrak”. I gave my girls two goals for the game — spread out and throw to the open person. We hadn’t talked about stack, a specific choice on my part. I want the girls to just play in their first game. They did just that! They had 7 consecutive receptions at one point. We definitely have lots to work on, but the potential is definitely there and they are already quite good at many fundamentals like cutting to space, and going strong to the disc. After the game we had a spirit score and took some fun group photos.
The kids then had a bit of free time before gathering up for another spirit shaking lunch. After filling up on various dining hall fare, we grouped up in the auditorium for some announcements before the kids were set off for free time — half of the kids went off to the pool, and then the grouped switched half way through. I retreated to Barak to get some work done and to sneak a quick nap. By 4:45 we were gathering up on the quad to head over to practice when I snagged my glamour shot of the day.
As an added bonus, Yarden joined our coaching team. He’ll be at camp until tomorrow night, so we’ll have him with us for at least another two practices. A short walk later, we were at our practice space on the far edge of campus on a grassy area outside the gym. During practice we worked on our throws, had a strong warm up session, introduced vertical stack, did a couple catching drills, and also put Lao Baci bracelets on each other. The kids also brought things up a notch by launching into their own “Maroon!” “5!” cheers, which was a wonderful thing to hear. We ended practice with Ebo Lay Lay and then walked back to the main part of campus. Out on the quad, we gathered up for dinner, an naturally some goofiness ensued.
Dinner was loud, fun, and full of yummy Shabbat food. I’m a fan of the rice and potatoes, topped off with some hummus and harif. After passing the spirit cheer back and forth several times between adjacent tables, we all gathered up in the auditorium for evening announcements, the naming of yesterday’s spirit award winners, and then to kick off the start of the evening activity. Teams were paired up and sent out into the night to complete a set of tasks designed by the evening activity team. All seems to be going well.
Later tonight we’ll have our all-staff meeting and then I’ll check in with all the head coaches. Alex will finish up tomorrow’s issue of Get UP! and I’ll polish off all of the media postings for the day. Some late-night coffee may be brewed, the CITs will eventually get to sleep, and soon after, hopefully all of the campers. Everyone is so excited to be here that even with all the physical activity, sleep can be hard to find.
Sleep eventually find us all, and not too long after it does, yet another beautiful day of Camp UP begins.