Day Two Monday of Carnival Week

 An early morning dip…

Campers surprised staff this morning when a significant number of them chose to wake up early and take the plunge…the polar bear plunge that is. Here at CYC it is a tradition for campers to have the option of getting up before breakfast — sometimes as early as 7:30 which any camper will gladly remind you is particularly early in the summertime! — to take a quick dip in the lake. Lifeguards are on hand to assist on the docks and counselors stand on shore with towels and sweatshirts at the ready.

Why would anyone willingly choose to do such a thing? Well two reasons really:

Camp provides a number of opportunities that kids might not otherwise have. Some of these are chances to take some (reasonable) risks have adventures or try out some silly new dance moves but others are more than that. In some ways you might say that camp provides a sort of "magical context;" it’s the sort of place where a clue to help find the CYC Carnival Token might be revealed during dinner (today’s by the way is "four") or where a (planned) jello fight might break out at any moment (say during ooey-gooey week). The polar bear plunge is one of those activities that kids get to use as a way to challenge themselves. It’s a teambuilder. It’s a story that they can tell their friends in the fall when they get back to school ("really I got up and went swimming BEFORE breakfast!").

That and they can earn some killer spirit points. Each week Lead Staff keep track of each cabins’ involvement and cooperation. If they’re caught working together or sharing some of their things campers can help propel their cabin to victory at the Friday afternoon ceremony. It’s not always the main reason why campers choose to take the leap off the dock and into Big Sandy but sometimes the promise of spirit points helps to rouse the youngsters out of bed on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

…and a busy afternoon!

After a full morning — including a breakfast of biscuits and gravey a cabin’s choice activity and a nature activity that included a scavenger hunt and charades — campers took another leap this afternoon and jumped right into the activities they signed up for at the Sunday night campfire. Some were off to the throwing field where Becca and Dana led them in bow shooting and tomahawk throwing others headed down to the boating bay and found a paddle and a lifejacket still others joined Joe for a game of four-goal soccer or Alex for an hour of dramatic activities. The joyful voices carried and there wasn’t anyplace at camp where shouts cheers or laughter couldn’t be heard. 

And the fun continues into the evening…

Right now campers are busy tie-dying their shirts and creating cabin flags. Some are practicing cabin chants and songs and others are hard at work on matching bracelets and headbands. By five-thirty we’ll all be ready for some dinner and after replenishing their energy campers will be off to another cabin activity before Praise and Worship and an all-camp game of Angels and Demons (a capture-the-flag style game that has been a favorite at CYC for years).

By then it will be dark and the kids will be sent one group at a time to Sweeney Down for Heads Meds and Beds (clean ’em take ’em and get ready to sleep in ’em). Another successful day will have past and campers will lay in their beds looking forward to more sunshine tomorrow. A few may even drift off to sleep thinking about tomorrow morning; the alarm will off and their counselor’s voice will greet them loud and clear: "let’s get ready for another day of polar bear plunge!"

"To me Catholic Youth Camp is a place I can be myself and know others will not judge me. Plus it is a place where I can learn more about my religion and proclaim it to the world freely." - JP

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