It’s a beautiful day up at Camp Tall Timbers. It’s our second full day of camp, which means our campers are finally settling in to the routine. Excitement was high at breakfast as campers compared schedules: one has improv and then riflery. Another has soccer and then challenge course. Whether they’re improving their skills in a sport, dousing themselves in glitter in the Art Shack or rehearsing for the much-anticipated camp play (Zombeo and Juliet: I’ve read the script, and let me tell you, it’s going to be too fantastic for words), everyone is diving into camp fun.
My name is Sydney, and I’m going to be your fearless blogger, reporting from the front lines of the ridiculous magic that is a summer at camp. I’m a brand new counselor here, which means that everything is new for me too. I get to tell you about the traditions, the songs, the activities and the people, with fresh eyes. Today I’ll be telling you about a certain Camp Tall Timbers tradition known as the Camp Hug. It’s the best kind of tradition: a little cheesy, and a lot over-done, but perfect for those exact reasons. It’s performed at the opening campfire, which we just had last night.
There are three main characters in our drama: the narrator, and the two inexperienced huggers who must be coaxed into performing a loving, comical hug. The first few times, the huggers bump into one another ungracefully, and perform their confusion quite well. The narrator offers instructions. “Try tilting your heads to the side. Don’t just keep your arms at your sides, wrap them around each other.” Following these instructions, the two huggers grasp one another and don’t let go. “No no no,” says the narrator. “Try this. This time, give each other two pats on the back and then let go.” In front of all the assembled campers and counselors, the two huggers give this a go, and perform a successful hug. They even ask permission first.
“Now you try,” calls the narrator, and the whole camp gets up, asks permission to hug, and hugs their neighbors with huge grins on their faces. I don’t know how it works, but this one simple skit turns Camp Tall Timbers campers into a family.
Maybe that has something to do with how excited everybody was at breakfast this morning. Were they remembering the hug from the night before? Even though they had classes with kids they might not have met yet, I think the campers knew that everyone they would be meeting today would be part of the same extended hug, and therefore, part of their new summer family.