Jul 05, 2018

Posted by: Kelsey O'Hara

The Fourth of July: Traditions New and Old

Session 2, Day 10

There are many programs, loved by all, that are run almost every session – Maccabiah, Gold Rush, campfire. But there’s one special day that only happens once a summer: the Fourth of July. It may be too dry at camp to have fireworks, but they’re not missed among the myriad of other things that we do to celebrate.

The day started off normally enough, with campers splitting into their tracks after breakfast for a morning full of their favorite activities. But as soon as lunch rolled around, the festivities began, starting with a picnic lunch outside of the pool. With hamburgers, potato chips, pasta salad, watermelon, and red-white-and-blue jello, everyone ended the meal full and satisfied, full of energy and ready for a fun-filled afternoon. Luckily, they didn’t have to wait long, as the carnival began immediately after lunch!

The afternoon was packed with activity, as campers had most of the time between lunch and dinner to make the most out of the carnival. The kids jumped in the bouncy castle, played in a mud pit, and splashed around in the pool. Whenever they needed a break from the action, they took part in a mid-day snack of popcorn, cotton candy, and snow-cones.

An hour before dinner began, the carnival ended, and everyone made their way back to their cabins to rest and clean up. The day had been long and eventful, and many were grateful for the time. After a dinner of macaroni and cheese, the camp’s energy was up again, and everyone was ready for an active evening program.

This particular evening program is new to camp, and this was the first time it had been played. Excitement was in the air as everyone went back to their cabins to change into their team’s color (red, white, or blue), curious about the new program and enthusiastic to try it out.

And the program was… the Fourth-of-Dodgeball-Capture-the-July-Flag-Game-Party-Extravaganza! The name may be confusing, but the rules were not. In a three-way capture the flag competition, each color tried to grab the other team’s flags, each attached to a counselor who was running around and trying to evade the campers’ grasps. As players crossed their team’s boundary, they were targeted by dodgeballs from the other teams. Run fast enough, and they were safe – but if they got hit by a dodgeball, they were out, sentenced to time in “jail” until the next jailbreak.

The game was more than a success. As the sun began to set, clouds moved in, and a few stray raindrops fell over the field – but the kids were having too much fun to notice. By the time two games had been played, and it was time to go to bed, campers were exhausted with the effort they had expended, and rightfully proud of themselves at the teamwork that each group had displayed. Everyone fell asleep quickly, tuckered out and satisfied with the day’s events.

The Fourth of July is a day that is often full of tradition – and for many campers, especially those who are at camp for the first time, it can be difficult to adapt from their families’ traditions to ones that are unfamiliar. But the support that each camper receives from the Ranch Camp family makes this transition smooth, so much so that it is nearly unnoticeable. By the end of the day, each camper was glad to be at Ranch Camp, full of joy and excitement, and the knowledge that these traditions, and this community, are things that will be there for them for the rest of their lives.