After a restful Fourth of July week off, everyone was ready to welcome our campers back for a great third week of day camp! At ESP, we don’t just have any welcome; we have a Welcome Wagon!
Welcome Wagon is our way of welcoming our campers to their second home. Our staff lines both sides of the front door as we dance and cheer our participants from the car to their unit room. Welcome Wagon is a place to meet your buddy, hug a friend or bust a move-all up to you on how to best start your day at camp!
“We have to change our whole plan to walk into the building because my daughter refuses to go to camp without walking through Welcome Wagon”, says one of our participant’s moms. Parents line our carpool line recording our staff jumping around, dancing with our campers and watching the joy at being reunited after a week apart.
We were back together as a whole family at ESP for FLAG! With flag, come brags, and we got the chance to highlight a lot of the brave new chances our campers took at Camp Twin Lakes as well as the bright attitude our campers bring to each camp day!
We hit July running as all week campers were doing cool, new activities left and right. There were lots of activities for the chefs of our family. One unit made homemade ice cream. On Taco Tuesday, we made salsa that had the whole building filled with mouth-watering aromas. To wrap up our cooking activities for the week, everyone made muffins too!
Outside of cooking, there was also crafting, so our campers could show off their creativity in a different way. We had one unit tie dye socks, everyone made slime, and we even had a unit erupt their very own volcanoes! Our vocational unit also got to show off their craftiness as they learned to crochet as one of their activities this week.
Another activity our vocational unit did this week was have a talent show at Hendershot’s Coffee in downtown Athens. While they were singing music, our campers back at the ESP building were learning how to conduct from one of our own staff members, David. Isaac especially embraced his inner conductor and lead his unit during their time at David’s station.
There were also outdoor activities that helped our campers embrace nature. They fished off the dock and made boats for sailing down the stream! Each camper created and designed their own boat that allowed them to express their individuality and keep track of their boat as it sailed. Drew had an especially good time putting his boat into the water with his buddy before they watched it take off down the water. Also outdoors were some water games! Campers also put an extreme twist on the classic game of duck duck goose. They chose the next goose with a splash of water. It helped everyone stay cool out in the sunshine. There were also targets campers got to aim water soakers at (although they may have also ended up aiming at each other)!
Our campers hit the pool or bowling alley in the afternoon! Everyone at ESP loves the pool especially as summer progresses, and we hang around with our new friends as well as our buddies. Bowling was extra intense in week three. Megan and Parker were bowling strikes completed by running around the ESP lanes to receive their congratulatory high fives. Rod set an ESP record and bowled a 222- almost a perfect game! Hip, hip, hooray for our bowling champ!
We couldn’t have asked for a better end to our week with the third Friend Friday and our FortFite Friday! FortFite involves our campers building and defending their own fort while planning attacks on the other team’s forts-all while searching for the golden duck (believe me you really want to be the team that finds the golden duck). FortFite was planned by our awesome AmeriCorp team integrating exercise, water, teamwork building skills and a lot of fun! We got fueled up for all this fun with a delicious lunch from our friends at Publix, and UGA’s Dawg Camp stuck around to help run our FortFite supply stations.
I think one of our campers, Emily White, said it best at our Monday morning Welcome Wagon when she screamed over the loud, upbeat music: “Ah I just love it here!”. It is indeed good to be back at ESP.
You still have one more chance to experience the magic with our last Friend Friday of the summer July 19th! Friend Friday is an energetic way to start your day with Flag, our crazy time of dancing and celebrating campers, or through a cup of Java Joy coffee. Either way, your Friday morning will be extra special.