I continue to find it remarkable that we fit so much into our days here at Tripp Lake Camp. From the second your girls hear the reveille call, to the moment their heads hit the pillow, the hustle and bustle does not end. Athletic drills are practiced, banana boat rides take course, pottery wheels are spun, and cheers are… cheered. Though your head may spin just reading about it, to us it’s simply the norm. One look at the shirts of our seven and eight year old campers, and the chocolate stains will reveal whoopee pie creations in culinary arts. Our nine year olds are scooting around each other’s legs to be the last ones out in the Gaga pit. Ten year olds are leading their Little Teams with spirit and energy as they rotate amongst the sports fields for team practices. We have always taken pride in the well-rounded nature of our program, yet we also keep a continuous ear out for ways to supplement the schedule in a way that meets the current interests of girls today. Partnering up with professional coaches and outside programs allows campers to opt out of their regular schedule. We would be remiss to not mention the teachable moments and lessons that build from these experiences.
QUEST Intensive arrived back in Maine earlier this week! This talented New York City dance troupe has teamed up with Tripp for a couple of years now to provide studio sessions for our campers that focus on different forms of performative expression and movement. Upon hearing about their arrival, a twelve-year-old camper approached me while sitting under the trees. Though she expressed that she did not feel like she was the ‘best’ dancer in her age group, she was still interested in attending some of the sessions. She also made it quite clear that she had no interest in the culminating performance that would occur in OTW a couple of days later. I listened to her talk about how she enjoys dancing but dislikes performing, and I simply advised her to enter the classes with an open mind. Though I explained that the decision would ultimately be hers in the end, allowing herself to simply be in the moment with her friends and partake in what was meant to be a fun experience could surprise her. Throughout the four-day stay, I popped into our dance studio and gym house multiple times. It was hard for my own self to not get swept up in the blasting music, the shaking hips, and the complex choreography. Each girl was encouraged to take the moves that had been provided and add their own ‘flair,’ setting a supportive tone that encouraged each girl’s individuality. I watched as this same twelve-year-old worked up a sweat, and the smile was genuine as she listened to the instructors and improv’d some of her own moves. I was then not surprised to find her name in the program for the early afternoon performance. When touching base about it later, she expressed that she was simply having too much fun to let her stage nerves get in the way of finishing up the program on solid footing (I know, me with the puns…)
But, of course, that is not all! Mike Turtle, owner and director of Soccer Specific Training in New Jersey, has been coming to Tripp for the past eight years to train our girls in their soccer skills. Many campers play either for their town or school teams, and hope to keep up their level of practice during their summers. Running well-structured, fast-paced, and exhilarating intensives is what Mike has become well known for on our fields. Well, yesterday he took the game to a whole new level. Perhaps bolstered by the current World Cup excitement, the entire camp made their way down to the large soccer field to play, referee, or spectate a Round Robin soccer extravaganza! We had three games going simultaneously, and teams of six playing in ten-minute rounds versus one another. Finally, we reached our final two teams to play for the championship! To see the entire camp supporting one another, writing up signs for their camp sisters, and embracing the competitive spirit was exactly what camp is supposed to be about! These girls with a passion for soccer were tearing up the sports fields.
In reflecting on these moments, I cannot help but feel pride in the opportunities that we provide for Tripp Lakers to cultivate their niche, and explore and discover new passions.