When you go to Camp Alleghany, you’re able to choose four activities to fill your days during your stay. There’s lots of things to choose from; tennis, dance, canoeing, rifle, arts, sports, nature studies, archery and more. They’re all so fun that it’s tough to narrow it down and pick only four! But on the evening of opening day we get to watch the counselors perform skits about each activity, which helps new campers get a taste of everything.
These past two years, I had nearly the same schedule twice in a row; my first year I took arts & crafts, rifle, tennis, and canoeing, and this past year I swapped rifle for sports & fitness. It may seem dull to take the same activities two consecutive summers, but it’s really not. In some ways, it’s actually better because there’s a chance to build some real skills and gain some mastery.
On the waterfront
When I first started canoeing, I was an Intermediate, which means I had a partner and we worked together to pass a series of tests in order to achieve the next rank, which is Solo. The key during Intermediates is really working with someone else — your partner — because it’s that skillful communication and working together that shows you’ve paid attention, are focused, a good listener, a good team member, and so able to take the paddle alone and move to Solo.
Last year, I was a Solo, and had to complete several tasks by myself. I had to demonstrate my steering, turning, and landing abilities and was graded by the counselor running canoeing. Once I finished the tasks — thank you very much — I became an Aide.
Being an Aide is important; you get to canoe with less experienced campers, pass on your sage wisdom ;), and help them to rise up in the ranks. When I return to camp this summer I’ll be an Aide — yay! Helping other kids do the things I’ve already done will be a lot of fun. It will be good experience for me, too, since I’d like to be a Junior Counselor in two years and everything I do this year and next, like being an Aide and a Hopper, will help me learn more about how to help newer and younger campers with the true ‘Ghany Girl spirit!
Wimbledon, watch out!
Tennis, another activity I chose to continue with, is a bit different for me. I was never really on a set level because I hadn’t taken tennis before. I just decided to give it a try and signed up with my friend Emily for fun.
(Confession time: It turns out I wasn’t very good at tennis. Ahem. BUT — it was still a lot of fun to learn!)
Last year, I was in a tennis class with some campers I didn’t know very well. Most of the kids were younger, so I usually rallied with Audrey, a JC at the time. She’s a fantastic tennis player! It was really challenging to play with her because of how good she was. But, on the other hand, I was surprised at how much I absorbed simply from working with her consistently for three weeks.
Audrey was great. She never lost patience when I couldn’t hit a ball back, and she was always encouraging when I was frustrated with myself for not being as good as I wanted to be. Yet I did get better and I guess I caught the tennis bug because I want to continue with tennis this summer! Even if I’m still not very good (or as good as I want to be), there will always be someone at camp who’s willing to rally with me, and that will help me improve.
One activity I decided to switch from was rifle. I didn’t really have a reason to switch because I had done fairly well in it my first year. I just really wanted to take sports & fitness to get into better shape for school sports — cross country and soccer. However, it turned out to not just be a way to help me improve my athleticism, it helped me to make new friends. There were a lot of campers I didn’t know in that class, and it was nice to work with new people.
Everything old is new again
Continuing with the same activities may seem like it could be boring, but the activity will never really be the same from year to year because you’ll be different each year. You’ll also have new people to work with, new counselors, and you’ll constantly be learning new techniques and improving your skills.
So while you may want to take other activities to learn new things, sticking with one or two of the same activities might not be such a bad idea either, because it helps you to improve your own ability and you can become more experienced in that field.
See you at camp!
–Chloë Cook, Third Year Camper, Upstarts, Hopper, Camp Alleghany for Girls