What a day here at the Realm. We spend 10 months planning and trying to figure out the best way to keep everyone happy and safe. Then it rains for the first 4 days and we pivot to what CRH does best which is to make everything we do together fun. Nothing stops CRH as I have told the kids since our covid summer.
They Today was the first day since the summer of 2019 that the realm felt like normal. It was so long ago that I forgot what it felt like. We hosted a 11u boys soccer tournament this morning that attracted 5 other camps. Our boys made it to the finals under hot sunny skies. 200 people came out to watch us lose a tight match right before lunch. Our staff played the hit song World Cup over and over. It felt so good to watch our groups support each other. Our 15u girls played soccer and basketball at Birchmont yesterday. This allows kids from different groups to spend quality time together. It really brings the camp closer. We have sent groups out every day not only climbing mountains but back to enjoying the sites and sounds of New Hampshire.
You could feel the energy from the moment we got up today. Twenty kids were fishing at the lake while nine enjoyed an early morning ski on our two boats which arrived yesterday. People are more comfortable in the dining hall as witnessed by all the cheering between boys camp and girls camp. They sing over every song that plays on the speakers. Not only the former campers but all our new staff members sit with kids draped over them. They laugh and talk about the summer and what is still to come. Tonight’s evening activities felt like color war in the fields. Groups were running everywhere playing scavenger hunts and challenges. Our three oldest boys groups have started a football league which was like watching Monday night football. I saw the end of the Quill / Arrow dodgeball game which is an instant classic and will be on ESPN tonight. Four groups took sunset boat rides. As I walked the bunk line this evening saying good night to everyone the laughter and joy was emanating from the bunks.
This is not to say that everyday is perfect up here due to many variables. But I believe that we can and will overcome all obstacles together as one family that has now spent a full week together. A family that trusts and understands each other. Like true brothers and sisters who love and sometimes disagree with each other.
One true family of people from around the world with different beliefs and customs but a shared love for the realm.
What a day in The Realm today! The sun decided it had been away for long enough and we had ourselves a perfect day. In the morning we had a full slate of activities and a ton of highlights in every group. For example, the Lancers were excitedly surprised to find out that they’d be playing mini golf at a local course this morning! Upon returning, Spencer said, “I liked playing mini golf with my friend Hugh. I hit this really good shot and it was so close to going in and then it rolled in. It was so cool!” Rex chimed in and said, “I hit a crazy hole in one but I still lost terribly. I still had fun!” Speaking of fun, it was also being had at camp. Amelia of the Bows said, “My favorite part of the day was pickleball because I like playing with my friends.” Abigail of the Quills said, “We played Newcomb on the sand court next to the barn. My team lost but we put up a good fight.” Corey chose to do riflery for one of his activities and later said, “We shot paper targets and I got a bullseye!” Lucas said, “I loved breakfast because it’s always really good here. Today I ate cereal but I have no idea what kind.”
The afternoon brought its own excitement. After four years, we eagerly welcomed some intercamp competitions! The Girls 16 and under basketball and soccer teams traveled to Birchmont, ready to represent Robin Hood in the green and white. The afternoon started with basketball and well, they had fun. Marney said, “It was an amazing experience.” As for soccer, the game ended in a 4-4 tie. Lila scored 2, Izzy scored, and so did Rebecca. The competitions didn’t end there! Here at camp we welcomed the 15 and under basketball and soccer teams. The basketball game started with Robin Hood losing 11-3 until Eli caught fire and finished with 29 points. The final score was 41-24. In soccer, both teams left it all on the field. The final score was 2-1 Birchmont with the lone Robin Hood goal being scored by Tyler. He said his goal “felt great.” Overall, we were so excited to see the Robin Hood spirit alive and well. Sports bring people together and we saw that here today on our fields and courts!
It is day four and it feels like we have been here forever, and I mean that in a good way. The kids have fallen into the camp routine in every way. They are all starting to sleep later which is great for them and their staff members. We no longer have any new campers as all the groups are beginning to act like a huge extended family. Everyone now has a CRH story to share and feels like a part of the entire community. Always one of my biggest pleasures is watching the kids come together and form a family. Most kids are pretty nervous when we meet in the offseason. Seeing them work through the new adventures here at camp is very rewarding.
Of course it is my staff that deserve all the credit. A large percentage of them have been at camp for three weeks preparing for our summer. The new staff have gone through the same transition and are now part of our community. Our 18 group leaders 14 of whom have grown up here before our eyes and the remaining four who joined us during the magical Covid summer of 2020 are leading their groups beautifully. They form the key engine in our leadership team. They spend 14 hours a day caring for and making sure your children are both safe and happy.
In spite of the near constant threat of rain it has been our best opening we have had in 20 years as owners. It feels different this summer in many ways. For me personally it is the addition of 30 more counselors and the limiting of numbers in most of our groups. We have less kids on the ground with dozens of more staff members to watch over them. Having over 250 Robin Hood summers on my administration team is the perfect recipe for success. We are not only colleagues of mine but life long friends.
Sweet dreams from the Realm
Chuck here to tell you a little bit about our new complex. All of our Jr. camp boys are now located within easy view from my office. This includes TPs, Jugglers, Squires, Archers and Yeomen. First activity just started, and they are marching off to it. I can hear the excitement as they wander past to get to their activities which include Basketball (TPs), 9 Square (Jugglers), Hockey Rink (Squires), Crafts (Archers) and Gaga (Yeomen) I heard a lot of talk about Crafts and Gaga – Two favorites!
The great thing about this complex in Jr. Camp is that it is all in one area. Each group has for their bunk in their area, a Tetherball, Ping Pong table, benches for sign up, and down near TPJs a small basketball court and playground set up with swings and slide.
The Squires and Archers are in a new bunk which was once the Art & crafts / Woodshop building. This whole area of camp is close to the Dining Hall and most evenings will be quiet by 9:15pm.
My bunk is on the backside of Archer / Squire bunk. I can easily keep an eye out for them and the whole area from my porch. As I mentioned above, because Arts and crafts/Woodshop have become a bunk these 2 activities had to be moved. Woodshop is now on the backside of the red garage (weight room) which used to be the trip department. This area gives them a little more space for work and play. Arts & crafts has been moved to the back of the playhouse. A beautiful deck has been added and they have 2 rooms in the back of the playhouse for storage and inside work, really more space than they had in the old Arts & crafts/Woodshop building.
Several other new things were done this year. On Sr. Camp Boys the basketball was resurfaced and looks great with a R.H. crest in the center-next to it is an old asphalt volleyball court which was torn up and a sand volleyball court added, making a great lakeside view play area. Girls Camp also got a new playground set up for younger campers. Swings, slides and small climbing wall. Several bunks got new bathrooms.
Lastly the staff got a new staff den – a large 2 room building sitting in the end of the far field baseball area. Nice set up with new furniture and TVs for their use. This is further away from when they used the Lodge and will keep the noise made there away from bunk areas.
Today was a busy one. Although it rained, it stayed dry for enough time to allow multiple groups to reach the top of nearby mountains. After a fun night bowling for the oldest groups, it all concluded with a late staff meeting. More details to come tomorrow.
Sweet dreams from The Realm.