Friday, July 17, 2015

"She literally can't stop crying. And sweating. She's just crying and sweating."

They thought we were joking at first when we woke up at 6:40 am and said that all the CILTs were going to Polar Bears. We weren't kidding. 10 minutes later everyone was on the porch in their swimsuits, ready for an early dip in the pool. 

We met up at the pool with the CILT guys, girls from every Blazer cabin and dozens of other kids. Ellyn pumped everyone up and had people doing cartwheels and tricks to show how excited they were.

It was easily the largest Polar Bear swim in years, maybe ever in Tecumseh history.

The Polar Bear challenge is to do all four dives, both slides, the rope traverse and to swim across both shallow ends before the long whistle blows. Ellyn and I were buddies for the challenge and she found goggles for both of us to wear. Polar Bears only lasted for 11:32 instead of 15 minutes because we got a late start, but Ellyn and I were only missing one spring board and the shallow ends.

Because the time got cut short, Meg let everyone that showed up this morning sign the giant Polar Bear for the summer.

We had a special surprise guest at River chapel this morning. Lucy and Wylie's older brother Austin, a long time camper himself, stopped by Tecumseh to say good-bye to them before heading to Special Forces Helicopter Training. Lucy sprinted up the stairs and the look on Wylie's face was priceless. She teared up and jumped on her brother. Their cousin Olivia Phillips is a Blazer this week too and their cousin Paige is a Day Camp counselor. It was so good for them to see Austin because they probably won't see him again till Christmas.

Bailey is a veteran Day Camper and has been a Blazer this week. She's one of those kids I usually hang out with when the CILTs shadow Day Camp so it's been so fun seeing her so often.

This morning the CILTs did their final one on ones with the counselors, made graduation hats and wrote their graduation song to the tune of Time of Your Life. It's a morning full of memories and reflection and nostalgia.

For the past seven weeks I've worked side by side with Tim, Liz and Alli every single day. They were all new to the CILT program when we started and I'm so thankful for the ways they've embraced, improved, celebrated and invested in this program. We've put our energy and heart into these kids, all 120 of them, and they too have been the main characters of our summer.

We had our last giant picnic lunch today as a CILT Pack in the Party Room. The counselors reminisced about all three groups-- our favorite cheer, song, the different ways they approached the 12 ft wall, the Sherpa walk, RFAJWD and the culture each session created. We love Session 3 and we miss all of our kids from 1 and 2.  I'm so glad that we have the reunion in December to look forward to.

to the tune of Time of Your Life by Green Day

Another session ends, the CILT Pack must go home
The campers grab your hand and ask you not to go
We've made the best of these weeks, but how time flies
This is the end, but it's surely not goodbye

CILTs is unpredictable but in the end we're tight
We've all had the time of our lives

Accidental trips to Upper Pioneer we made
Leaving a trail of glitter all along the way
Night chapel in the Party Room, we love it there
We found a faith in God that we all want to share

CILTs is unpredictable, but in the end we're tight
We've all had the time of our lives

We've made some memories that we will not forget
To Tim, Liz, Sarah, Alli we'll always be in debt
Bird poop, pinatas and hiking to the Gish
To do CILTs one more time would be our only wish

CILTs is unpredictable, but in the end we're tight
We've all had the time of our lives

It's something unbelievable, and we are all impressed
Adopted campers you have been the best

It's something unforgettable, and we are sad to leave
We hope to see you next year as DCs

Some of my favorite moments are when campers run up and grab their CILT's hand like this little girl did to Katie Giovani after we finished taking pictures before lunch. There are soooo many different memories and campers and CILTs and conversations and adventures and laughing fits and dance parties and long walks that tell the story of the past six weeks. It's been so good.

Friday night theme dinners are one of people's most favorite things about Tecumseh. And Country Hoe Down is easily one of the best themes of the entire summer.

I think the CILT counselors and friends should start a traveling country band. That way we can all stay together and have a great time.

And of course Erin O'Awesome and Molly Henry would be part of the crew too. And Ellyn. She can drive the tour bus and design our band posters.

I realize I keep saying this, and I'll probably say it again, but I just can't believe CILTs is over tomorrow.

You better believe dinner was a party. The first song was Taylor Swift and our whole table was up on our chairs, belting out the woods. I used a fried chicken leg as a microphone half the time, cause you've got to figure out how to sing and eat.

The Party Room was the headquarters of the RV Party tonight and plenty of people came in to sing, do the hoe down throw down or just dance around.

Check out this CILT Pack-- aren't they just so great? I'm a big fan of them.

We will all miss Caroline's daily stories.

By the end of dinner Tim and I got people doing the Electric Slide...

Caroline was telling stories by the fireplace like usual.

I'm such a fan of Rachel and Grace and their best friendship. Grace is awesome and tonight I felt so special when she gave me a friendship bracelet that she's been working on.

Everyone came in the Party Room to watch Tumbling, Ukelele and Drama perform what they've been working on all week.

It was clear enough outside to do Trading Post so we all headed out. Luckily the rain held off until right before Closing Campfire so we all took busses up to Kampen Lodge.

When the CILTs performed their cheer tonight they surprised everyone when they did the cheers of all three sessions of 2015 CILTs. It was so dang cool and so much fun.

The CILTs did a fantastic job with their graduation song. I really loved it. Liz, Alli, Tim, Ellyn and I stood off to the side and watched the CILTies sing one last time. There may have been just a few tears.

I love this so much. Amen.

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