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Friday, July 18, 2014

Camp Winni 2014

Just 1 day after we got back from our amazing wedding week, it was time to turn right around and head back to the coast for 3 days of fun at Camp Winniaguamauk.   This meant an abrupt bursting of the wedding bubble, a dumping of all the wedding and vacation detritus into the house to be shuffled, stored and/or repacked for several more overnights away, and saying goodbye to my wife as she went to work and we went to play.  

To be honest, I wasn't entirely sure I was up for it.   

We all adore Camp Winni.  It is like a safe haven in a crazy world.  Our girls childhood summers are shaped partly by their time there as were Sandi's.  We went last summer with my niece Michaela (when Ella and Michaela were true campers for the first time) and two summers before when the girls were quite a bit younger and went as volunteers with us.  We had to skip the year in between because it conflicted with Sandi's graduate school assigned summer vacation which we spent instead at Schoodic.  It is a marvel to watch how the girls have grown through the years using Camp Winni as the steady benchmark it is.  

The camp is run by Trish (Tia) and many of the camp staff are family members so it is such a safe and adored place for our kids.  They gets hugged and loved by adults everywhere they go (as do all the campers).  This is a small camp for kids Ella's age and there is actually more staff than campers.  It is a place kids are taught about kindness, inclusion, conflict resolution, love, and God.  There is also as much playing as can fit into 3 days. 

Needless to say, although my energy was in a completely different direction and I was dragging my feet a bit, the girls were super psyched to go.  And, as always, it didn't disappoint. 

Maya and Makenna are both too young to be campers so they are "mini campers."  They help out with their moms, participate in whatever camp activities they want, are doted on by all the older girls and generally have free reign to catch butterflies, change their shoes 100 times in an afternoon and come into the kitchen to have a cookie while the campers are still in theme class.  To be honest, it may be difficult for these two to go from mini camper to actual camper status since they kind of have the run of the place right now.  
While the cabins were busy making up their team names and their team flags on the first day, these two decided they needed a name and flag as well.  And thus "Team Butterfly" was born.  They even had a poem.

I was the kayak instructor and the cabin inspector again this year and I take my job of insuring cleanliness (more like teaching about cleanliness) very seriously.  Trish actually gives me a lot of power and I get to assign points and give out awards and such.  When inspected the girls cabin I found this sign made my own daughter.
The boys cabin was kind of a stinky disaster the first day.  But they totally stepped it up the next day after the girls got all the awards.  They cleaned, swept, organized, used air fresher and even decorated.  They also left me this hilarious note:

One of the highlights of camp for the kids is the water slide.

It is incredible to watch my big girl so competent and independent.  She knew where to be, what to do and came to me for very little.  (I told her that she could come to me whenever she needed but I would leave her be otherwise.  It was an odd feeling to be so close by my child and so far from her. I actually missed her a lot at camp.)  She found herself accidentally embroiled in an ongoing frenemy situation with two girls who both wanted to be her friend but not each others'.  I was proud of how she handled it and all she learned from it.

One gorgeous evening we took the kids to the beach.

I think this is the world's smallest green crab.
Check out this jellyfish!

Can you tell these two are related?

Peace sign watermelon.  This confirms what I have always suspected:  the way to peace is through the watermelon.

Can you tell these two are related?!
Camp ended at noon which meant bringing two exhausted girls home on a blistering summer day.  I had mountains of compounded unpacking to do but I knew that might make us all cry.  So instead we rounded up the twins where were leaving in 2 days to spend the rest of the summer with their father in Texas and we hit the pool.
Maya, always the jokester, loves to pretend to "wear" the decorative flip flops on her beach towel.
So much fun packed into 10 days and we were all toast when it was over!

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