Just in case you've been wondering where I have been the last week, it's
been off to Camp for me :) My childhood camp participates in a flatwater canoe regatta put on by the Palisades Interstate Park Commisson every year since I can remember & I have been helping Aunt Nancy coach our team since I was 14. Even though I now live in Vermont, I travel down a few times in July and then have the priviledge of helping sort through the chaos of Regatta Week...these are some photographic highlights, starting with these highly serious regatta flip flops - made for me by a young paddler almost ten years ago!
Tuesday night is marked by a very serious Marshmellow Roast, where after a super windy day of Regatta Run-Through, the team meets to go over the rules, discuss sportsmanship & welcome new paddlers to our team by officially presenting them with their yellow shirts.
For every year a paddler participates in the regatta, they get to write the year on the back. One shirt for many, many years...For me, Twenty-Six consecutive years...and counting!! But this year, I finally got a new shirt! I received my old yellow shirt in 1991, when we made the move to one shirt for the rest of your life. The paddlers used to get a new shirt every year, but the kids would rather spend the money on paddles & canoes! Obviously, after twenty years, when you can fit two paddlers in one shirt, it's time for a new one!!
The day before Regatta gives the older paddlers plenty of time to reflect on their technique & the younger paddlers an opportunity to freak out before the start. But most importantly, we talk about the soul of any good canoe team: UNISON!! One of my favorite parts of morning stretching are the activities which bring us closer as a team. Here we have our eyes closed and hands on the shoulders of the paddler in front of us. The idea is to FEEL our teammates motions and try to move together as one....and of course, even through all the screaming and cheering, I still have a few minutes of time where my brain can relax and enjoy the beauty of our Little Long Pond. It's amazing how something so beautiful can survive so peacefully amidst the awesome jeuvenile chaos!!
A close-up of this year's banner: United We Paddle, Divided We Tip. This girl is extremely unhappy, obviously having tipped her canoe. The kids are responsible for designing and painting their banner, as well as coreographing a cheer to be presented to the judges on Regatta Day. While they enjoy the teamwork of the banner, come the day of the regatta - our camp would rather just paddle.
Some serious pre-regatta preparations include spending hours working on boat assignments which coordinate the kids' physical abilities, mental grit and social tolerances but also simpler things like washing the gear. Note the vast variety of the kneepads collected over the years as they hang on the line to dry for Thursday's Regatta.
...and, of course, some not-so-serious pre-regatta preparations include the painting of the nails - blue and yellow, of course - as well as shopping for face & car paint, yellow megaphones, and all the toppings for the post-regatta ice cream sundae bar. A few of this year's highlights? Pop-Tarts & Bacon-Bits, cookie dough straight from the tube and real Vermont Maple Syrup!!
Great job to All of this year's Paddlers (and their parents!).
See You Next Summer..but for now, Just Keep Paddling!!
See you on the Mountain,