June 4, 2013


Ryan Charles Frazer, CIT/Leadership Program Director at Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

Rookie Camp: Year 5 has just come to a close. Friday started as any first day of camp, with parents rolling up in their various modes of transportation, apprehensive to leave their children in the hands of a stranger. On the other hand, wild-eyed children were excited for the infinite potential of camp and enthusiastically greeted the friendly staff of Peconic Dunes. Parents helped their children unload and provide comfort and encouragement to their children, whilst the counselors tried to do the same for the parents who were equally as unsure and concerned for the long weekend ahead. Eventually parents parted ways with their beloved children and set off back to their respective homes, where they would surely eagerly be awaiting the final day of the experience so they could be reunited with their children.

After the parents left the children quickly acclimated to the camp lifestyle and began building new friendships. Friday night, the campers played various group games including Capture the Flag and Park Ranger. Unknown to the kids, these games were a plot by their counselors to help exhaust them and prepare them for a good night sleep, which would be the first night away from home for some. Campers were unfazed and went on to challenge our efforts and in fact push their counselors to the brink of collapse. The campers had plans of their own. The end of the night closed with a ceremonial campfire that introduced campers to various camp songs such as “Rare Bog Rattling Bog", "No Bananas In the Sky", and "Donut Shop.” Campers couldn’t understand the significance of this night as this particular campfire they sat around was a record setter for camp reaching 15 feet in height at its apex!

The next morning we began with the normal regiment of flag raising and breakfast. Following this the campers had the opportunity to live out their dreams and partake in great activities such as archery, kayaking and canoeing. Disillusioned by limited sleep and the infinite energy of this particular group of campers, counselors again tried their luck at getting the campers to rest during siesta, but to no avail. The day would continue on and campers would eat up any opportunity they could to fulfill their goals of trying new things. The night would end with another campfire of which many of the new faces that had now firmly settled themselves in the camp culture would participate in skits and flaunt their respective talents to their new friends and family. After many songs and skits, campers returned to their cabins for their final night at camp. Finally, the counselors had achieved their nightly goal of exhausting the children and in most cases, the children went to sleep with little resistance and slept soundly until the following morning.

Sunday morning came and the campers knew that time was dwindling away. They would begin the day with breakfast and the final activities soon ensued. The counselors began the closing process and helped the children pack up their things knowing full well, no matter how explicit they would be with their instruction, and no matter how many times they reminded the campers not to forget anything, a straggling sandal would probably remain. After lunch the children played some final games and felt the combination of love and disappointment as their parents would again slowly trickle into the camp and pick them up. Tears and smiles littered the faces of the campers as they left camp, but a new spot in their hearts had forever been dedicated to Peconic Dunes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Taylor had a blast and can't wait to return in July! Thanks guys!