After the first week of Session C, I can spot a first year camper from the back of their head. Sounds crazy, right? Honestly, it’s true. You see a first year camper is walking along in their happy little world soaking up every minute of camp. They are experiencing every activity, every meal and every Evening Program for its face value. While they walk around, there is a freedom in their spirit, a naiveté of the one thing that is consuming the thoughts of all the returning campers…COLOR WAR.
So, how exactly can I differentiate campers from the back of their heads? Well, its not so much their heads…it’s their backpacks! Everyone has pulled out the backpacks, or break bags as we call them, in anticipation for the super, secretive, surprise COLOR WAR BREAK. This is one of the most amusing and entertaining parts of Color War - the waiting, the expectation and the curiosity that is literally driving them crazy. THEY LOVE IT!!
The “break bag” is a bag that campers carry around 24/7 until the break of Color War. Stocked with team colors, team t-shirt, hats, wigs, face paint, glow sticks and costumes, these break bags contain the valuable items that identify them as a member of the team.
The first year campers are not so sure what all the fuss is about. They don’t know what to expect, and right now they would be pretty content just continuing in camp life without Color War (at least that’s what they think.) Once Color War breaks, the campers and staff are divided into the two teams, and the returning campers cannot wait to find out what color their new friend will be when the teams are called. As each name is announced, the teams go wild with enthisiasm as they welcome a new member to their team and Color War family. New campers are christened with face paint, given t-shirts, gear to wear and immediately they feel like they belong. It is such a cool thing to witness!
Honestly, I am not a fan of competition, but I love watching how Color War brings out incredible compassion, empathy and teamwork in our campers. I love the way each camper has an opportunity to contribute to their team, as they compete twice a day in an event that highlights their strengths. I love the creativity that is displayed, the sportsmanship that is practiced and the heart that is given each day for the love of the team. It is truly an inspiring thing to witness.
I probably get asked 25 times a day “Is Color War breaking today?” “Is it true that Color War is breaking at EP?,” “I just heard you say Wednesday, does that mean Color War is breaking Wednesday?” The tension is building, and the campers are ready! They cannot wait for Color War to break and the games to begin. This week I have received texts, emails and phone calls from alumnae asking if Color War has broken. It is such a big deal to our alums that they will be watching Facebook and Instagram for updates on events and to see how their team is doing. These alums feel a part of the team, even though it has been decades since they were here.
Tonight the power went out for about 60 seconds due to the rain, and the whole camp went crazy! Everyone thought Color War was breaking, and it was so fun to see their excitement. I realized that I’m just as excited as the kids are. Until it breaks, I will wait patiently with great expectation for the joy and wonderful memories that Color War 2018 will bring.