Bringing Out the Play at Chestnut Lake!

An interview with CLC Athletic Director, Kevan Reilly!

May is a very exciting month!  Not only are there a mere 52 days until Opening Campfire, but it’s also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! This is the perfect time to bring out our inner athletes and celebrate the ways we love to play at CLC. What better way to do this than by having a chat with our very own Athletic Director, Kevan Reilly?

Kevan is from Geneva, Illinois and discovered his love of sports at a young age. If a sport or activity was made available to him, he played it! This passion for all things sports motivated him to get a job as a junior high school physical education teacher. In 2011, he joined the CLC family as the Baseball Director, and in 2016 he was made Athletic Director.  Now you can find him on the Chestnut Lake fields and courts, ensuring every camper gets to bring out the athlete in themselves.

Luckily for us, Kevan joined us for a chat about sports at CLC and what “Bring It Out“ means to him.

Hey Kevan! What’s your favorite sports moment from your time at Chestnut Lake ?

The number one moment that stands out to me happened in 2014. We hosted a Wayne County championship game for Varsity 1 girls softball. For any inter-camp game, we walk our team down to the field before the game for warm-up and final preparations. On this particular day, I was not able to walk down with them. I can still remember meeting our opponents at their bus to escort them to the field. The first thing I saw as we approached the field was our girls warming up and practicing. They had completely organized on their own.

I knew in that moment, before I even addressed the team, that they were going to win. I don’t remember many of the details of the actual game once it started, but I’ll always remember how close-knit they were, and how much they cared about and played for each other, and how proud I felt that day. That group of girls epitomized what it means to be part of a team and bring out the best in each other.Softball at Chestnut Lake Camp

That sounds amazing! Any other special sports memories?

Right around the same time as the softball game, we also started a tradition of giving championship winning teams a golf-cart “championship parade,” which I also love, because they get to act like the pros and feel like big stars for a moment.

Over the summer we love to live by our motto, “Bring It Out”. What does “Bring It Out” mean to you?

To me, “Bring It Out” means unlocking someone’s hidden potential. One of the best things about CLC is that we really encourage campers (and even counselors) to try everything. It’s always awesome to see someone discover a new activity that they love to do. At camp, it’s about not being afraid to fail; it’s okay to not succeed at everything, everytime. At CLC, there’s always someone who cares to pick you back up and support you.

Football at Chestnut Lake CampAs Athletic Director, why do you believe sports are an important part of the camp experience? 

Sports at camp are a controlled environment to explore your own limitations, challenge yourself, and overcome obstacles.  

Sports are also great for camp, and kids in general, because it’s physical activity with a purpose. It encourages decision-making, communication, movement, and personal expression. In addition to the fitness benefits, kids gain social and cognitive skills through an outlet where they can also show off their unique personalities.

One of the best parts of camp is that campers with a variety of personalities and interests come together to create one camp family.  Now, what would you say to a new camper who may not consider themselves to be an athlete, or may be nervous about playing sports at camp?

If sports aren’t necessarily your thing, camp offers something for everyone, from the arts to science and nature, or even media. With that said, our sports programs are designed to be all-inclusive. Our area directors and specialty counselors run activities that teach basics for beginners as well as offering electives to challenge and develop more advanced campers or those who want more individualized instruction. If you want to play on a team, all you have to do is sign up. There are no cuts, everyone gets an opportunity to play and represent their division against other camps.  At Chestnut Lake, we believe in Attitude over Aptitude, and everyone gets an opportunity to play.

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves – at CLC, “everyone gets an opportunity to play”! Whether you hope to spend your summer competing in as many out-of-camp tournaments as possible, or you just can’t wait to have fun with your group while splashing around in the lake, summers at CLC are all about bringing out the play in you!