Tag Archives: Discovery Camp

Campfire Tales | 7/29/22

By Aaron Selkow, Owner/Director

The Tribal Campfire is fantastic. We gather the campers in our usual spot near the woods on the way to the lake, and we use storytelling and ritual to inspire excitement and camp spirit. The two Tribal War teams (Unami Turtles and Minsi Wolves, dressed in their white and green outfits and belting out cheers and songs) sit in two sections of the site, while our first-time campers are wearing their red Chestnut Lake Tribal t-shirts awaiting the official news of which team they will forever join. Tonight, without the threat of rain, we were able to incorporate all the rituals we cherish at Chestnut for this special night.

To begin, I read the Tribal Story (you can click here and see the same words we shared tonight). The story connects the dots between Chestnut Lake Camp’s history and the sustenance of the Tribal tradition. Following the recitation of this tale, our campers on the Minsi Wolves and Unami Turtles move to line the bridge to the lake, each team standing across from each in the Tribal colors. The first-time campers in red make their way through this gauntlet and arrive at the lake to perform the Tribal Oath (also available to read here).

When the campers return to the Campfire Site, they learn of their team by virtue of the white or green pain that is added to their cheeks by our camp leadership team. They turn to face their friends, and they react to the responses those new teammates have to the paint seen on their faces. Now, they are part of a new community. Forevermore, they will be either Minsi or Unami.

The ceremony tonight is analogous to our first week at camp. Our Full Summer and Second Session campers that have either been here all summer or are back after a previous season here are our leaders. Their job – while they are enjoying themselves and able to just be kids in such a remarkable place – is to help our new campers settle in and discover the joy that we have here in Beach Lake. During the first 5 days, they did so with 50 additional campers here to experience Discovery Camp. And now, as they continue through a sprint through our remaining two weeks of the summer, they have indoctrinated their peers into the Tribal experience. All that remains now is to wait and see when Tribal will be “broken” in a creative way, and then the actual games will begin.

We keep track of the Tribal winners each session and from summer to summer. But there is no doubt that we all win when we can dive into such a meaningful activity and connect each camper to one another and to the rich history – and future – that we have at Chestnut Lake.

Discovery Camp at Chestnut Lake

Chestnut Lake Discovery Camp is one of our favorite weekends at Chestnut Lake. Discovery Camp offers future CLC campers the opportunity to spend a weekend with us and discover what the Chestnut Lake Camp experience is all about!

This past weekend our Discovery Camp Campers arrived and had the opportunity to experience what it’s like being part of the Chestnut Lake family. Upon arrival, each Discoverer was given a CLC big sister or big brother. Siblings, cousins, friends from home and CLC Big Brothers and Sisters gave them a spirited CLC welcome as they came off the Discovery Camp bus. The first thing they did was visit their bunks and receive their special Discovery Camp t-shirts. Then the CLC Big Brothers and Sisters gave them a tour around camp.

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After they had lunch, the Discoverers started in on all the great activities that CLC has to offer. Discovery Camp Campers could be seen around camp flying through the air on the zip line and flying squirrel, making special projects at Arts & Crafts and skimming across the water on the banana boat. After dinner, the Discovery Camp Campers were introduced to the whole camp at line-up. As the guests of honor, they were given the privilege of lowering the flag. Then they enjoyed S’mores at the Campfire site. After S’mores, they were introduced to one of the many traditions at Chestnut Lake, Nancy Tucker. Nancy Tucker is always a huge hit at CLC as she plays her guitar and sings Chestnut favorites such as “Jelly Fish”, “One Meatball” and “To Stop the Train”.

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By Sunday morning, the only way you could tell the Discovery Camp Campers apart from the rest of the CLC campers was from their special tie-dye Discovery shirts! They continued their CLC weekend with activities like gymnastics, gaga, swimming at the pool and Outdoor Adventure. After lunch, they participated in a special scavenger hunt led by their CLC big brother or sister.

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After “discovering” what it means to be part of the Chestnut Lake family, the Discovery Camp Campers were all saying the same thing: “We can’t wait until next summer!”

And we can’t wait to see them!

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Olivia Marshall Discovers Chestnut Lake Camp

For one weekend every summer, prospective campers have an opportunity to take a journey through the life of a Chestnut Lake camper and experience all that CLC has to offer. Discovery Camp is a two day adventure for current 1st-4th graders which will give them the opportunity to see and feel the warmth and spirit of Chestnut Lake Camp.  We spoke to Olivia Marshall, one of our 2013 Discovery campers, to find out how her weekend experience helped prepare her for her upcoming summer at Chestnut Lake.

Olivia Marshall

Hi! My name is Olivia Marshall. I am 9 years old and I am in 4th Grade in Howell, New Jersey.  I do not have any brothers or sisters but I do have a whole lot of cousins and a beagle named Buddy.  I like to sing, dance and act.  I also like to play school, the clarinet and Mine Craft.  When I grow up I would like to be a teacher.

 

olivia-tunnel

Describe your Discovery Camp Experience:  My Discovery Camp experience started when I got off the bus.  I went through the tunnel and at that very moment I knew that I was part of the Chestnut Lake Family.  Everyone made me feel welcome and special inside.   I was very nervous in the beginning but I was assigned “Big Sisters” and they were always by my side.  I knew I wanted to come back to CLC.  When it was time to leave after Discovery Camp I got very sad and didn’t want to leave.  As soon as I got in the car I told my mom and Dad..”I HAVE to go back for 3 weeks! Pleeeeeeease!!!!”

 

What was your favorite thing about Discovery Camp:  I can think of lots of favorite things about Discovery Camp.  I liked hanging out with new friends, going on the blob in the lake, having Big sisters, S’mores, activities at night and the games you play in your bunk before you go to bed.  Actually, I liked everything.

olivia marshall-arts

Favorite Band/Musician:  Selena Gomez

Favorite Song:  Slow Down by Selena Gomez

Favorite Book:  Dork Diaries Series of books

Favorite Foods:  Pasta-with butter and garlic, salad, pizza, macaroni & cheese, mozzarella sticks, raspberries, Ramen noodle soup

What is one thing that you are looking forward to the most about your first summer at CLC:  Doing theater and seeing my counselors, swimming in the lake and playing games in the bunk at night before bed. (sorry-couldn’t pick just one)

Click here to watch the Discovery Camp Video.