Jun 13, 2018

Posted by: Kelsey O'Hara

Campfire and Gold Rush

Session 1, Day 6 

The days at Ranch Camp are full of action. In cabin groups, activity groups, or during Chugs, campers get to experience the many activities that camp has to offer. But there’s only one time at camp when the entire community gets to do an activity all together – and this is during the evening program.

For many campers, the evening programs are the most memorable moments at camp. After dinner, campers have time to change into warmer clothes and fill up their water bottles before meeting in the camp commons to learn what exactly they’ll get to do that night. From dances on the basketball court to talent shows in the Mo (short for mo’adon, meaning “room”), there’s an evening activity for everyone. Of the multitude of programs that are run throughout the session, two of the most beloved are campfire and Gold Rush.

Campfire is usually held twice a session – once to open the session, and another to bring the session to a close. This session’s opening campfire was held on Monday night, the sky clear and stars visible as the camp gathered around the fire, clad in sweatshirts and brandishing flashlights. Campers sang songs, listened to stories, and roasted marshmallows (kosher ones, of course) as the sun went down. After the past few days of getting to know each other, campers had a blast singing and dancing with friends old and new.

After a more relaxed evening program, the next night held something much more active in store – Gold Rush. A camp favorite, the program consists of cabins running around the camp to collect pieces of gold (or painted rocks), then exchanging them at the bank for fun prizes like root beer floats, face painting, and even a chance to pie a member of the staff in the face!

Though most evening programs begin after dinner, this one began during it, and it began with a bang. While dressed in western garb, staff member Rachel told the camp of her travels through the country, and how she had come here to Ranch Camp to hide her gold. The story had only just drawn to a close when several bandits, all dressed in black, burst into the Chad and stole her gold!

The bandits are a staple of Gold Rush. While cabins travel back and forth between the bank (situated in South Village) and the sports field (in North Village) on their quest for gold, the bandits run amok. By holding hands and capturing a bandit in a circle, cabins can turn in these vigilantes in exchange for even more gold.

Dinner ended and everyone flooded out of the Chad, the entire camp transported back to the old West. As the teams amassed gold, they got their pictures taken, ate snacks at the saloon, and bartered for golden mementos. The festivities ended right before sunset, all of the campers happy with their purchases and all of the gold returned to its rightful owner.

Over the course of the session, there will be many more evening activities, some full of energy and others more relaxed. Though each program is unique, they all have one thing in common – they will be full of new experiences and moments for each camper to grow, and though they may only last one night, they will create happy memories that will stay with each camper for a lifetime.