I hope everyone had a fantastic week. I don’t know about where you live, but in the Midwest of the United States, we were hit with a heat wave this week. Heat index reached 100 on several days and we had scattered thunderstorms almost everyday. I know people hate driving in ice and shoveling snow, but when it’s hot, I feel like I can’t get any sleep. Like I want to wrap up in some blankets, but it’s too hot for that. Plus I don’t have air conditioning in my bedroom, so I have to deal with fans and sometimes that’s not enough. What I’m saying is that I think I’d rather have the cool, but of course once winter rolls around, I’m going to miss the sun and the swimming pools. You really can’t win. Anyway, here on the website we had another fantastic week and another bump in new views, likes, and followers so hello to everyone new and old. Welcome to the Blog/Creative Writing Outlet! This past Sunday I published a Weekly Blog talking about Friendships As An Adult and different possibilities childhood friendships can go once you reach adulthood. On Wednesday I wrote a poem all about Puddles which was on my mind because of all the rain we had. And on Friday I posted a continuation of my Dungeons and Dragons universe with Battle In The Streets of Bishop.
Now this week’s heat wave really made it feel like summer and it reminded me of all these fun summer memories I had from being a kid and going to summer camp. I was lucky enough to be involved in both 4-H and Boy Scouts when I was a child/teenager and therefore participated in both summer camps. I attended 4-H camp for a few years when I was a kid and attended and worked at a Boy Scout camp until I was in college. With all those years of camp comes a ton of stories, but I won’t be able to tell them all here. Honestly, I could probably do a whole summer of Weekly Blogs rehashing old camp stories, but I don’t want to bore you too much. Today I’m just going to focus on some stories I have of 4-H camp and the activities and team building exercises I participated in.
The 4-H camp that I attended had a ton of different activities for us to do throughout the four days we were there. Some everyone participated in and some were based on interests you had. Everyone participated in activities such as Sports, Nature, Pool, Arts and Crafts, Theater, and even Dance. That’s right, this camp taught us basic line dance and square dance moves. Later in the week we had a dance to finish off the week and really up the ante on all the summer romances campers had. The important thing is that to this day I still remember the dance moves to Electric Slide. Basically you just do the same five dance moves over and over again until the song ends or the sun explodes. Fun stuff. But there were also additional optional activities you could choose from. There were a few different crafts based on the theme of the week, a “wood working” workshop (building a birdhouse, etc.), and 2 liter rockets. Basically you decorate a two liter, plastic bottle, filled it with water, used an air pump to build pressure, and let it soar into the air. That one was always really popular. Anyway, that give you a sense of what fun activities we had when I attended 4-H camp, but that merely just scratches the surface.
On Day 1 you would be split up into groups based on a color and an object that fit the theme. For example if the theme was jungle, your group could be Red Tiger or Blue Lion or Green Monkey. Your color group was one group of people you’d hang out with and go to activities with and your themed object was another. So one day all the Tigers would go to nature together while the Lions went to dance. Hopefully that makes sense. Well the color groups would be what determined your main group for the week when it came to team building exercises. So the first day they would split everyone up into their groups and they’d form a circle to play team building games. We would play a game where you throw the ball while saying the person’s name so you would hopefully learn everyone’s name. Also we would hold hands and pass a hula hoop over our bodies and do the human knot. If you’v ever been to a summer camp, you probably played these games or stuff similar to it, and if you didn’t, you might be really confused.
Anyway, one of my favorite team building games was one we played during Nature. First the more nature-savvy camp counselors would take on a nice nature walk through the woods pointing out interesting trees or bushes and poison ivy while spouting off nature facts and getting us interested in nature. It was a bit of a hike, but I always enjoyed walking in the woods and I found it super relaxing. Eventually they would lead us to this area among some large pine trees where pine needles would cover the ground. There we would find wooden planks and wooden platforms. I tried to find this exact game online and the best I could come up with is “River Crossing” or “Lava Flow”. Basically it kind of looks like this (The Diagram on the right was made my me, so go easy on me. I tried my best. Hopefully it helps more than hurts your understanding of this game):
As a team you must form a bridge using the planks and the wooden platforms. There was three planks and maybe eight platforms or something like that. The whole team would have to squeeze onto the board and pick up the one behind them, pass the board down the line, and then place the board to continue the bridge. In the version I played, the platforms were immobile and you had to do them in a certain order, touching each of them once. The pine needles were lava. If you fell off, you died and had to go to the beginning. Then the whole team would have to backtrack to get you. Also if you dropped the board, you lost it, making it almost impossible to win. The counselors could also add difficulty by making us do it silent. It was so much fun. I wish I could find a better picture of it, but hopefully from my description, you get the gist. I found this game to be the perfect mix of challenging and fun. It had strategy, teamwork, physical strength, and balance. It had it all.
Another fun team building event we would have at 4-H camp is an afternoon filled with a water-based activities. One event had teams using a towel to catch and throw water balloons over a volleyball net. Another event had people using the pool to pick up diving sticks and bring them to the surface. There was a third event where you had a long PVC Pipe that had drilled holes in it. At the bottom of the pipe was a rubber ducky. As a team you had to use your fingers to plug the holes while other team members ran back and forth with a plastic cup collecting water and dumping it into the pipe. This resulting in everyone getting soaked from the water leaking as well as the cup spilling water on you. People’s fingers would get pruney from all the water, plus it was another team building game. The biggest event however would be one where each team would put forth two people into the shallow end of the pool. Then they would toss in a Vaseline-covered watermelon. Whatever team could bring the watermelon to their side would win the game. So not only is this watermelon super slippery, there are also a total of 8-10 people fighting over it in the pool. It was a spectacle to watch. And it probably built teamwork while people burnt off their energy. It made for one, fantastic afternoon.
Super quick I want to toss this in because I’m talking about 4-H camp and all these memories are rushing to the surface. Whenever we had downtime between events or whatever, the counselors would keep us busy by playing structured, organized games. There’s one game I remember in particular that I’m like 99% sure they don’t play these days. We might not have found it inappropriate in the decade of the 2000’s, but in 2018, I’m not sure how well it would fly. It’s called “Honey if you love me…” (Just wait.) The basic premise of the game is that you would all sit down in a circle with one person being “It” and sitting in the middle of the circle. That person would go up to someone in the circle and say “Honey if you love me, won’t you please, please smile” and the person they went up to would have to reply “Honey I love you, but I just can’t smile” without smiling or laughing. If they smiled, they lost and traded places with the person in the middle. Now the person asking the question could get as close as they wanted but there was a strict, no touching policy. Again, I didn’t find a problem with this game when I was a kid. I just thought it was funny and embarrassing, but in 2018 when people emphasize consent and personal boundaries, I don’t see this game being played. Although maybe it’s more of a teenager sleep over game alongside things like Truth and Dare or Seven Minutes in Heaven. I don’t know. I’m not a teenager.
I think I’ve told enough stories for now. I could easily do another topic about 4-H camp in the future and many more about Boy Scout Camp. If you want to here more stories about my experience at summer camp, let me know by giving this piece a like and leaving a comment down below. You can leave something encouraging and/or tell me one of your stories about summer camp if you’d like. You can also leave compliments and criticism down in the comments if you’d like and I’ll read it. Just make sure it’s respectful of me and everyone else who is reading this Weekly Blog. Again if you haven’t checked out the other pieces I published this week, feel free to read them and give them a like as well.
Thank you again for all the support and I hope you have a wonderful week!
Header Photo Credit to The University of Tennessee’s 4-H Extension Page
Team Building Game Photo Credit to Shorter Mission Trips WordPress Page