The third week of our Big Bold Summer kicked off a new summer adventure: Field Trip Week! Our campers got to experience so much in and around the Athens community, and we are so excited to share some of our favorite memories. From touring the University of Georgia to attending a Gwinnett Stripers baseball game, our participants got to have a week of fun outside of their comfort zone.
Monday started with a trip to the Athens Cotton Press. Our group was joined by the UGA Low Ropes Course team for a fun filled session. Our friends from UGA lead our campers through a range of fun team-building games. The focus was all on participation rather than winning! The fan favorite was obvious though, as the rainbow parachute made waves. The objective was to run underneath and catch as many balls as possible, all of which were of different colors and sizes.
After lunch, the NKA crew headed to Southern Brewing Company to take advantage of their outdoor stage! Campers enjoyed belting out their favorite songs during an afternoon of karaoke. Crowd favorites included “Greased Lightning”, “This Is Me”, and the “ESP Song”. A special surprise: Brian B. got a behind the scenes tour of the brewery operation with SBC owner, Rick. A welcome cool down came from some yummy bomb pops before loading up the buses and heading back to ESP. Monday was the perfect precursor to the week, setting the tone for fun, adventure, and curiosity for the following days.
Tuesday was full of physical activity, as campers took part in a “Pound” workout class at the Athens YMCA! It started with a warm-up consisting of a few laps around the room, and it felt like everyone’s inner Usain Bolt came out! They then moved into the full drumstick workout with their instructor (and Jake’s sister), Lauren. It was a heart-pounding exercise session set to some of the camper’s favorite tunes, including some more ‘Greatest Showman’ songs. Everyone loved it. All of the campers were so excited to give the workout class their all- and that enthusiasm carried throughout the entirety of the class! It was so fun to be a part of. After a morning of activity, our campers took it easy with an afternoon at AMC Ovation Cinemas. Campers were treated to a private screening of ‘The Incredibles’ complete with buttery popcorn.
Wednesday was a special day, because the whole trip was devoted to Georgia’s favorite thing: their Dawgs. They met at the dorms to drop off their luggage, then enjoyed lunch at the dining hall. Who can deny the appeal of wings, pizza, and all the soft-serve you can eat! We’re not saying a few campers started up a chicken-wing eating competition, but it’s certainly possible… After fueling up for the day, the campers toured the University of Georgia’s North Campus with the Arch Society. They got to visit many of UGA’s landmarks with a few essential detours. After ringing the Chapel Bell, everyone cooled off with an impromptu dip in the Herty Field fountain! Our tour guides were amazing, and we are grateful for their help in creating a tour that was exciting, informative and interactive for our campers.
After what already felt like a full day seeing the famous arch, a few different libraries, even the million-dollar stairs, our participants were lucky enough to move on to UGA’s indoor practice field! It could have been easy to mistake a few of our campers for actual players on the team. They know how to throw a perfect spiral! Finally, the day ended with a trip to Legion Pool. We enjoyed pizza and soda poolside while enjoying an evening swim. This perfect day was capped off with a sleepover in the dorms. Everyone felt like a UGA student!
Thursday was another day for diehard sports fans: a trip to the Gwinnett Stripers! Our campers enjoyed breakfast on the bus as we headed to the baseball field. Everyone was grateful for the opportunity to sit back and watch the athletes at work while we enjoyed the shade! It was a quintessential baseball experience with hotdogs from the concession stand and chants to support our team on the field. Our NKAers even got a visit from Chipper the mascot. The best surprise of all: plenty of foul balls coming our way! It was a fun way to stay engaged with the game. Everyone was on their toes, hoping to catch a ball. Two of our campers were lucky enough to do so.
Friday marked the final day of Field Trip week, and arguably, the most fun! We traveled from Watkinsville to Helen, Georgia, where we tubed down the river, enjoying the warm sun and refreshing river water. A huge thanks to Cool River Tubing (i’ll insert the website link here) who were more than gracious and helpful when it came to our campers- we felt so special! After a mostly successful trip down the river- some of us got stuck on the rocks once or twice- we had lunch outside and enjoyed the scenery of the river and the historic town! Another special treat was provided, as all campers enjoyed a delicious dessert of cookie cake and ice cream. It was almost guaranteed the ride back would be a quiet, sleepy one!
Now- off to Camp Twin Lakes for a night of overnight camp. We can hardly wait!