It feels great to be back at camp!

It’s been a great week to be a Live Oak camper!

After a summer away and a year unlike anything we have ever experienced, it feels so great to be back at Live Oak with your amazing kids and our incredible team. As the week wraps up we wanted to share a few highlights from across camp. We hope this gives you a picture of the fun and excitement your campers are experiencing being back at Live Oak.

Since arriving last Saturday we have settled into our routines as cabins and pods. Some highlights include:

Great food and fun meals. We are eating delicious breakfasts and dinners in our pavilions outdoors, and we are enjoying a reprieve from the heat with lunch each day in the Chateaux (also known as the dining hall). Our menu is designed to be a tour of world cuisines, and our chef team has worked like crazy to prepare and distribute great meals including: fried rice, gyros, tacos, beef stew, lasagna, cuban sandwiches, poboys, breakfast burritos, and more. The food is homemade, healthy, and a huge hit with campers and staff.

Exciting evening activities. We have had a fun slate of activities, including Opening Campfire, Carnival Night, Auction Night, and Manhunt. These evenings give campers a chance to hang out as a pod while being in proximity to other pods. No matter which activity the evening brings, our whole camp community of 175 campers and staff closes every evening by circling up; recognizing our recipients of the Bravery, Awareness, and Kindness awards for the day; and singing Taps as the sun goes down. It’s a beautiful tradition.

Fun explorations chosen by campers. On day 2 of camp each camper chose three Exploration activity periods that they would complete for the next 5 days. Tomorrow they will complete their first round. These activity periods have included embroidery, basketball, swimming, Dungeons & Dragons, sketching, Makerspace, bb guns, dance, arts & crafts, archery, and much more. Tomorrow night we will attend an Explorations Showcase event where campers will show off what they have learned, built, or participated in over the five day Exploration.

Challenging IT activities. These team-building challenges look different depending on campers’ age, but there are some universal truths across all cabins. All IT challenges push teams to work together and overcome natural conflicts that emerge amongst young people working on a team. Camp would be boring if there were no conflicts and challenges! Fortunately, our team of coaches is there to help young people work through the growing pains of working on a team and being a part of a community at camp. Our younger cabins have attempted a different IT challenge each day, while older cabins have been working on a 2-week challenge like creating a mural or building a wooden bridge. In either case they are getting real practice working on a team, planning a project, and driving towards its completion.

Tons of work from our CITs to help make camp go. Our team of Coaches in Training (CITs) is made up of ~30 of our 15, 16, and 17 year-old former campers. The 15 and 16 year-olds generally spend their time in the dining hall, given that this year they are responsible for designing and executing our food distribution system. They are the Uber Eats of camp, shuttling great meals out to sites each morning and evening. They are also cleaning dishes, organizing workspaces, and helping keep the dining hall systems going. Our 17 year-old CITS are spending time with cabins and helping to lead activities and support coaches.  Both cohorts are also finding time for specific coaching sessions and workshops designed to help them not only improve their professional skills, but also plan for their future academic and professional goals.

After being away for a year, it is just SO GREAT to be back at camp. And, as we pass our one-week mark, we are reminded of just how much happens any given day at camp. It’s a whirlwind, and no doubt campers miss the comfort of home and the familiarity of loved ones. But, for 132 campers and CITs, the signs of homesickness that may have shown up in a letter home from the first few days have melted away, and the throttle is all the way open on fun. And after the isolation that the COVID-19 pandemic brought, it’s more important now than ever to have the fun (and growth) that comes with camp.

We hope you enjoy the photos and we look forward to sharing more with you next week!

The Live Oak team