This was something of a transitional year here at Stowe, as we had six new counselors. Four of those counselors had been campers the previous year. In total, of the nine counselors we had on the staff, seven of them are former Stowe campers! This says a lot about the type of community we hope to create: one where our former campers are eager to continue to be part of the Stowe tradition.
We had a record number of campers this year, including teams from New Canaan and Ridgefield Connecticut, as well as Old Rochester and Wilmington in Massachusetts. The sheer number of campers fostered in a great year of intra-team bonding and an amazing environment full of tournaments, games, and, of course, running. However, having so many people show up seemingly at the same time comes with a mayhem of unpacking and settling in. Day 1 always has a poor stigma of awkwardness due to strangers colliding in a very small space, and yet this year everyone hit it off almost immediately creating one of the most comfortable immediate communities yet.
Camp co-directors Dan Flynn and Fran Cusick officially marked the beginning of the week with an opening speech going over general safety procedures and an overview of the schedule. Of course, Dan’s traditional clap to amp everyone up became a trademark of the week. After getting through the boring stuff, we headed to the front lawn to go for our first run. Despite a wrong turn from Connor Bailey on a straight bike path which briefly sent the camp into a panic, everything went smoothly and the campers returned feeling pretty good about themselves.
The campers headed back inside for their first taste of the stupendous array of food served up by the Round Hearth Staff, including Sue, regarded by some as “the greatest woman in the world.” After dinner, Dan Flynn gave his annual rousing speech about the importance of setting goals. Counselor Emilia McGrath, on the spot, came up with the perfect summation of Dan’s premise, “If you don’t know your destination, you can’t start the journey.” The campers filled out goal sheets detailing their short-term, long-term, and dream goals. They then sealed and addressed envelopes to themselves, which will be mailed post-cross country season to see what progress has been made. The activity was a success despite some questionable envelope addressing (we’re looking at you Maddie B!).
We closed out some night with some more bonding and down time.