August 9
12:32 am

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Today, the last of the 2013 season, was another overflow of emotion.  We call it Thank You Thursday.

There were formal notes written to friends and staff members at the Appreciation Station, and meaningful mentions heard now and then. As you know, a sincere thank you is cherished forever. 

Tonight’s Final Banquet is the night to remember, with a fabulous dinner, speeches, awards and our beloved “Retrospect”.  It’s a tremendous show celebrating the summer, presented on a theatre-sized screen.  Produced by our alum and “guardian angel”, Bruce Fink, the photo and video spectacular makes us laugh, cry and appreciate every Skylemar moment.  Many thanks to our video wiz Kaz, and photographers Leslie, Shannon and John.  To Bruce: our gratitude goes beyond the setting sun.

Most importantly, thank you to our Skylemar parents.  It is you who has shared with us the greatest gift of all, your amazing son.  Thank you for entrusting us with your most precious possession.

Tomorrow we return him to your loving arms, wishing him a winter world of happiness.  Take good care of him for us!

P.S.  This photo, taken from the Bunkline, inspires us to share the Apache blessing recited at the close of each Spirit Night:

“May the sun bring you new energy by day; may the moon softly restore you by night.  May the rain wash away your worries. May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty, all the days of your life.”


August 8
2:35 am

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After last night’s Songs and Cheers, Red had finally separated themselves a bit. 

The Tiger bocce match this morning was indicative of the entire Color War….back and forth, one team ahead, then passed by the other, then back again.  A large gathering had built around the participants, with boisterous support from the onlookers after every throw.  On and on it went, a few 2-point “kisses” thrown in, 3 full-length games that each went down to the last toss, and 2 ½ hours later, Gray finally won on the last throw of Color War bocce. 

And so went the rest of the morning…..Red won Cubs baseball, both Junior football games, Senior softball, and one Stars basketball game.  Gray was victorious in Sophomore golf and bocce, and the other Stars hoops game.

Although the Gray fought valiantly, Red had control as we headed to Color War’s closing activity – Tugs of War.

Red gathers at the hockey rink.  Gray meets at the Mailhouse.  One final psych-up meeting.  “Chain it up!” the Captain declares.  The team links arms, standing proud.  Leaders from the Stars division pace inside the circle, round and round, like cougars.  They are determined to pump up their team and proclaim:  “THIS IS OUR TIME!”, “WE WILL NOT FAIL!”, “we will WIN!!!”

Then comes the final hour.  Each team silently marches to the Fred Pierce Field as one strong wall of power.  There, the rope lies still. 

Shep calls down each division.  The crowd cheers wildly for their team.  “Tuggers take the rope!” he announces.  Shep lines up the gray and red flags perfectly in the center, gives the signal, and George blows the whistle!

Now they PULL.  They pull with every ounce of inner strength which they never knew they had.  Muscles pop.  Faces clench.  PULL!  PULL!  PULL!  The intensity is overwhelming.

One team crosses the line and it’s over. The winners are greeted by joyful crowds, as the losers trudge sorrowfully back to their places. 

When each group has pulled once, it’s time for the second round.  Two out of three takes it.  One more tug and……RED WINS COLOR WAR 2013!

The Red men leap into the air.  Exaltations of unimaginable joy!  Rounds of high fives, hugs and chest bumps. 

Oh, but for the gray.  Each Gray man is devastated.  Some cry.  Others fall to the ground in sadness.  It’s painful to watch, for we feel their disappointment.

Then the moment comes.  Captains are lifted high on the shoulders of their Lieutenants.  Moley and Jakob embrace as the best friends they will always be.  This is the signal for the opposing groups to come together in congratulatory greetings.    

Down to Trickey Pond we go, with the Captains carried every step of the way.  They swim to each other from opposite sides of the docks.  Then all the teammates jump in, splashing and sputtering about. 

Now the magic happens.  The miraculous waters of Trickey wash away the competition, and Camp Skylemar is again one!  Brothers all are we!

Tonight’s Evening Activity is a cherished and much loved tradition:  Waterfront Ceremony.  The Captains, each wearing the other’s colors, lead a torch lit procession to the Waterfront.  The entire camp follows in one single line.

On the beach is a tremendous bonfire, with one-of-a-kind sparkling flames of green, blue and pink.  We take a few moments of silence, to thank those who gave us the gift of Camp Skylemar.  Inspirational words are shared, and then comes a favorite time.

Every boy is called to the water’s edge, and is given a wishing boat to launch in the lake.  It’s a slice of wood with a lit candle on top.  The legend holds that if you place the boat in the water and make a wish for someone other than yourself, it might just come true.

After singing “Skylemar You’ll Linger”, we head up the hill for special little campfires.  Each cabin has their personal site for enjoying treats and cementing the bonds of friendship forever.

It’s been an emotional day, with highs of success, lows of disappointment and tears of knowing that the season has come to a close.  As we look at each camper and counselor, we are overwhelmed with a feeling of success and pride.

Thanks to all for a great Color War, plus a personal shout-out to sports “ghost writer” AFink.  Everyone needs a friend like you.


August 6
11:41 pm

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Day 4 began with the Red and Gray leaders pleading with their troops to give that little bit extra, asking for every ounce of effort to finally break away and put some distance between the teams.  Three days had passed, and only ½ point had separated them.

By lunchtime, neither team had budged.  Red won both Cubs football games, with Dylan M and Stevie breaking long TD runs in each.  Red won big in Tigers lax, with Sascha doing the bulk of the damage.  Gray won two close games on the Skylemar diamonds.  The Sophomores fell behind 4-1, then rallied to win 5-4, while the Juniors jumped out early 5-0, then held on for the 5-3 victory in softball. Gray Seniors then won on the soccer pitch, 3-0 behind Joe B’s hat trick. 

The highlight of the morning came on the golf links, where Jake K had the first hole-in-one that anyone can remember for Gray, although Red took the golf point as well as Stars bocce.  Not only didn’t either team take control, the lead had disappeared as the boys headed to lunch…..The score was knotted at 24 ½ each.

The afternoon was a different story altogether.  The Red Cubs edged the Gray 3-2 in the most tightly contested soccer game of Color War.  Dominant Red wins in Tiger tennis, Sophomore lacrosse, and Junior golf followed, before Gray won bocce to stop the run. 

The Senior hoops games saw each team get a win.  In the ‘A’ game, the best so far, both teams traded threes in overtime before Red, behind 17 points from Max B outlasted the Gray by 4 in OT.  Gray, though, won the other game with a strong 4th quarter to pull away.  Red won both Stars hockey games as well, 2-0 behind Spicey’s pair in one game, and a great comeback from 3-0 down to win 6-4 in the other.  Then the all-camp archery score was announced, with Red coming out on top.  Red had moved to the front as both teams prepared to take the stage this evening for Songs and Cheers.

It was a spectacular night, thanks to strong direction, creativity and patience of the team leaders:  Alex K and Isaac for Red, and Joey C and Jake K for Gray.  The kids were phenomenal on stage – each knew every word and truly gave it his all.  You could see the passion in their handsome faces during each team’s Fight Song, Camp Cheer, Team Cheer, Old Camp Song and Original.

The Production numbers were super too.  Red presented “High School Musical” and Gray’s was called “Beyonce Live”.  There were lots of solos and everyone had their own part.  Both teams did a terrific job including campers of all ages.

The judges deliberated long and hard.  Red heads to the last day in the lead.      


August 5
11:52 pm

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Two lead changes in two days. Gray now doing everything they can to hold the lead, with Red giving their all to overtake them.  The early returns from this morning’s activities let everyone know that Red meant business.

Red victories in both Tiger hoops games (Dash and Alec R led the way), as well as both Senior hockey contests and Red had, in fact, taken the lead before the morning events had finished.  Two goals in the last minute won the first hockey game 6-4, and Bennett was terrific in goal in the 3-0 shutout in Game 2.  Throw in the Red win in Cubs golf (Ryan J swept his match) and the Red team was rocking…..or so it seemed. 

Word from Trickey was that Gray came back to steal the Waterfront point behind Sam H’s keen work in the canoe stern, and also came from behind in the 2nd Stars Softball game with another power display (4 homers late, including Harry’s 3-run blast) for an 11-7 win.  Gray then held on for a tough 5-3 Junior baseball win (JKap’s overall field acumen shined), helping them regain the lead as we hit the halfway point of Color War and headed to lunch.  Two more lead changes just this morning.

After a spirited Songs and Cheers practice and quick “psych up” meetings, the teams headed back out for the afternoon activities.  Gray was determined to not only hold the lead, but hopefully build on it.  Red had another thing in mind. Gray did dominate in both Tigers Soccer and Stars Lacrosse, but this time Red was determined to make their move.  Cubs Tennis, both Sophomore basketball games, both Junior hockey games, and Stars Waterfront all went Red’s way.  The most exciting game took place at the hockey courts, where Max S tallied two late goals to come back for a 2-1 win. 

Back and forth we go.  Only one half point separates the teams after 3 spectacular, competitive days of action….it just couldn’t be closer. 

Why are these teams so evenly matched?  Because they were drafted secretly by those who know best – Skylemar campers.  The draft selections are not about who knows who, history, how they get along or anything along those lines.  For four and a half days of summer it’s simply about trying our hardest on fields, courts, the lake and stage.  That’s Skylemar Color War.

Remember:  Color War is kept out of the bunk.  We still eat, sleep and spend time with our bunk-mates as usual.  We also “pause” every once in a while, as we did for tonight’s big play.

“Grease” was a smashing success, thanks to our fantastic Drama Directors Jake and Suzie, plus a wonderful cast.  What makes Skylemar dramatics so much fun is the variety of people involved, and our willingness to not take ourselves too seriously.  “Pink Ladies” ranged in age from 9 to 50, while Danny’s gang, “The Tbirds” ranged from 4’1” to 6’4”.  We were especially proud of Jack K, Jed L, Eli D and Justin I who somehow learned a lot of lines, despite the demands of Color War.  Way to go!


August 5
12:03 am

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Yesterday’s emotion-packed, unforgettable first day of Color War showed its effects on nearly everyone, as only very few early risers were moving before “Reveille”.  However, as the day’s competition unfolded, a re-energized Red and Gray again gave us well-played, exciting action all over the Skylemar fields and courts.

Red began the day ahead, and did everything they could to keep it that way.

The morning saw the lead grow slightly larger, as Red scored with wins in one Cubs basketball game, Sophomore football and tennis, Senior bocce and Stars lacrosse. Hot shooting by Ethan F and Logan’s B’s all-around hustle keyed the 4-point hoops victory.  Will B showed great elusiveness as he led the football win in another high-scoring affair, and the value of great teamwork was on display in a convincing, yet many felt surprising, Stars lacrosse game.

But Gray battled to keep it close with morning wins in the other Cubs hoops game, both Tiger hockey games, Junior waterfront, and Senior golf. The most exciting Cubs basketball game in years went down to the last few seconds as Dante led Gray to the one point win. Goalies Sascha and Jake made one great save after another to prolong an edge-of-your-seat hockey game, before Will M finally banged home his second of the day, the game winner in overtime, on a slap shot off the inside of the far post. Grady had a pair of goals in defeat for Red.  Waterfront highlights included the best canoe race so far, a one-second victory, and an awesome swim from Woods in the butterfly.

Rest hour Songs and Cheers practice for each team, then a very big statement from Gray in the afternoon activities. 

Other than the Senior tennis split and Red’s victory in the Stars soccer game (a 4-1 win led by Suds’ 2 goals), Gray swept all the other events.  Will and Alex led the Cubs to a 7-3 lacrosse win.  Jace was incredible both swimming and skiing the rough afternoon waters of Trickey, while Danny R dominated in the kayak in the waterfront win. Liam seemed unhittable as the closer, and Max K provided the big 2-run double in the tight 3-2 Soph baseball victory.  Both Ben L’s led the way in two Junior basketball wins (42-25 and 29-24).  Wins in both Senior football games were highlighted by great play by Jonny S and Joe B for the winners, and great efforts by Benny and Zach G as Red fought to the final whistle.

After 2 days, Gray has now surged in front to lead by just 1 point…..stay tuned folks, this one looks like it’s going down to the wire!!

 

P.S.   Just to keep you in the know and sounding cool:  Other camps may have Color Wars, but Skylemar has Color War.  The one and only.   Mess that up in front of your son and you’ll never live it down.


August 4
12:04 am

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Squealing voices were heard well before sunrise.  Camp was loud at 5am.  It’s so exciting to find that Red or Gray pin!

Only saving grace for the sleepy counselors was the famous First Day of Color War Buffet Breakfast.  Rich, Junior, Willy and the crew put on an amazing spread.  Absolutely delicious!

Following Inspection as usual, Red team gathered at the Pine Grove and Gray at the Mail House.  From there it was a march of color to the Fred Pierce Field to watch the first inning of the Stars (Bunks 23-25 + JCs’) softball game.

Opening Ceremony began with Wellie presenting the American flag, Eli D singing the National Anthem, and AJ throwing out the first pitch.  The first two innings may have given us a hint as to the days ahead. 

After Gray scraped out a run in the bottom of the first, it took one swing of the bat in the top of the second for Sam K to even the score, as he blasted a shot deep into the left-field trees for a long home run.  A well-played game was highlighted by a bunch more long shots over the fence, with Gray doing the bulk of the damage. Charvez hit not only his first ever, but another one later, joining teammates Bailey, Captain Mole, and Tucker in the homer barrage that carried Gray to the win. 

In Cubs (Bunks 1-5) hockey, Gray won the first game 2-0 in a tough defensive battle, while Sam S (Bunk 2) scored a hat trick in the other game, for a 5-1 Red victory.

Two high-scoring Tiger (Bunks 6-10) football games saw each team get a win.  In one, Jack S did it all for Gray as they seemed to score at will,  but Red showed the real meaning of a team win, as 6 different players crossed the goal line.

Gray dominated Sophomore (Bunks 11-13) golf , but again, Red kept it close by surging ahead late in the tiebreaking game to put away the Sophomore Bocce match.

The Juniors (Bunks 14-17) headed over to the Hejduk Field for soccer.  A scoreless first half changed quickly as Josh B tallied his first goal early in the second half, then added two more later as Red won 3-0.  They then headed to the tennis courts where the teams split the tennis point, with each winning two matches.

Trickey Pond hosted the Seniors (Bunks 18-22).  Gray’s Sam R was the top-scoring skier, but Red won the waterfront led by outstanding performances by Marc R in the breast stroke, and Duncan in the canoe race.

The morning closed with Gray slightly ahead, and it was evident early on, that we should be in for plenty of excitement for the next five days.

Just like the Stars at this morning’s first pitch, the Seniors get the “royal treatment” on the first afternoon, as the entire camp watches their first inning before moving on to their own contests……and this one started off with a bang.  Ben C deposited the very first pitch of the game well beyond the fence in left for an early Gray lead.  He also hit another later, but Red came back to win 10-5 behind home runs by Corey, and later Jake G, a 3-run blast that broke the game open.

The Red Cubs swept all 3 activities at the Waterfront (swimming, boating, and skiing).  Luke S won the freestyle and anchored Red’s relay win, and Sam F was the fastest breast stroker.

In Tiger baseball, an amazing 5-run rally in the bottom of the last inning brought Gray back from a 5-1 deficit, turning what looked like certain defeat into an unbelievable 6-5 win.  For Red, Jack Qs triple was the big hit, but Eli D’s long extra base hit keyed the comeback for Gray.  Jake G also proved instrumental behind the plate, with a late defensive gem to seal Gray’s win.

Two shutouts were the story as the Sophomores took to the hockey court.  In one, Blake tallied a pair, and assisted on the other two goals in a 4-0 Red win.  Matt I scored the lone goal as the stout Gray defense held together for a 1-0 win in the other.

Hedjuk Field again hosted the Juniors, but this time for an afternoon lax game.  Luke U’s all around play, along with Spencer’s solid work in the goal proved too much for Gray as Red dominated, despite a valiant effort from Sam B.

And finally, in two fantastic Stars football games, Red came out on top in both.  Charvez was incredible in one game, capping off one of the more memorable days in Color War history. After this morning’s softball feats, he not only picked off 2 passes, but scored 4 Tds (including two spectacular, acrobatic catches) in this one. The other game may have been the most exciting of the day.  Gray scored on a long, touchdown bomb with just over 40 seconds left to grab the lead, only to have Captain Jakob’s twin brother Myles heave a “hail mary” with 6 seconds to play, brought down in the endzone by Drew for an unlikely, come-from-behind win, 69-64.

As the day’s activities came to an end, Red had taken the lead. 

Next up, the traditional first night Ping Pong Tourney for Evening Activity.  And this one was oh so special.  It’s anything but relaxed.  The pressure of playing in front of the entire camp is tremendous. 

The team that wins 11 out of 21 matches wins the point.  Red and Gray were neck and neck for hours.  The match between the Bennett C and Bennett A was so intense and professional that they had to pause for a water break. 

By 9:30 pm the score was 10-10 with just one more match to play.  It was LJ vs Matt Ap, splitting on the first two games.  Third game was a point apart consistently, and you have to win by two.

The silence was deafening, and you could hear a pin drop as each point seemed to last forever (several rallies had both hitting more than 20 shots each!).  LJ ultimately won 22-20, and, with his usual classy style, went straight to Matt for a hug, as opposed to celebrating with the throng of Red supporters chanting LJ….LJ….LJ)  They gave us quite a night.

Whew – what a start!


August 3
12:08 am

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You may be thinking what a lot of moms are thinking:

What about the ones who weren’t chosen captain?  Are they heartbroken?  Will they be ok?

Yes, some are disappointed.  Even the boy who knows that he won’t be the winner holds just a tiny bit of hope that maybe it will be him.  You know, like when you check your once-a-year Power Ball ticket.

Truth is, everyone does have a chance, and each young man standing proud in his jersey would be terrific.  The women in the room would like to change the rules, so that everyone gets a turn, six or so would win, and the least athletic would be the stars.  But that’s not how a man’s mind works, and Skylemar is their world.

The good news is how things do work at Skylemar.  We call it “a blip on our screen”.  It’s that not-so-good feeling that looms large for just a bit.  Then we change channels.  We move on.

In fact, we see it with inter-camp games all the time.  Imagine a big lax game that went into OT, our middie had the window to score but he missed.  We could have won, but we didn’t.  Now that’s a not-so-good moment.  But when the game is over it’s over.  We change channels and move on to the next.

In similar fashion, so it goes with Color War Elections.  It stings for a bit to not be chosen, but the channel is changed and we’re behind whoever was elected.  Here’s where the life learning begins.

First, every person witnessed personally how a single vote can make a huge difference.  This was the first time in 65 years that simultaneously one person was one vote away from being elected, another three votes and another four.   

But most importantly, all on the ballot will soon learn that you don’t need the title of “Captain” or “Lieutenant” to be the leader of the team.  The ability to lead comes from inner strength, combined with the decision to use that strength for benefitting others.  Certainly sometimes one with a title is also a strong leader in life.  But think about the work place, and note how some with a title are simply not the ones who make it happen. 

Spirit Night is the ideal evening activity to precede the start of Color War.  It’s a warm gathering of friendship, gratitude and camp songs.  Counselor Crowe gave a meaningful and encouraging sermonette.  He urged all to enjoy Color War, but don’t forget to appreciate and make the most of every moment at Camp Skylemar.

By 9:00 the kids were back at their bunks, but it’s hard to settle down.  It’s all so exciting.  Once the teams are secretly drafted tonight, each pillow will be pinned appropriately.  It’s a tiny bit Santa, a little Tooth Fairy and 100% Skylemar.


August 2
12:45 am

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It’s the most talked about event of the year.  Predictions, expert opinions, topics of debate.  Non-stop chatter.  International interest from Spain to Mexico. 

If you’re a senior camper at Skylemar, it’s the night you’ve waited for since your very first year.  It only happens once in your entire camp career.  Whether in the race or not, every boy is pumped, psyched, nervous and super excited. 

Shep welcomes all to Camp Skylemar’s 65th Color War election!!

It’s one of Skylemar’s oldest traditions, whereby participants decide who will be leading the teams.  Each camper’s vote, whether age 7 or 17, counts equally. 

In Color War, Skylemar spirit is as important as the activities.  It’s about respect, cooperation, fair play, kindness, friendship and sportsmanship.  Competition takes place only out of the bunks, on the fields, courts and stage.

Teams are fair, because Captains draft them in secret.  Friends, brothers and bunkmates may be on different teams.  Its our chance to demonstrate true friendship.  It’s fine to play as hard as you can and try to win, as long as you follow the rules.  The key is to not overreact whether you win or lose.  No bragging, no blaming, no ruining someone elses fun.  At the end of each game we shake hands.

Shep invites the former captains in the room to stand.  It’s a handful of current counselors, plus a couple of alum.  Then he asks those in the room who were once on the ballot but were never elected to please stand.  Many do, both staff and visitors.  Those standing represent our true honor role, for they fought hard and did their best without the captain’s title.  The crowd cheered and stood in ovation. 

29 candidates, dressed in their favorite team jerseys, were introduced, and once again, a standing ovation.  Each has what it takes to be an excellent leader.  Shep explains that you can’t get wrong voting for any one of them.  He turns to the little guys in the front and says, “I want to you to grow up just like these guys.”

Every  camper comes to the stage and casts his vote.  First go the seniors, who then go over to the Counselor Lounge as one big group, until the winners have been determined. 

The way each senior camper feels is difficult to describe.  Think about the feeling in your stomach on your wedding day.  Or when you dropped your son off at camp for the first time.  Or when there were two outs, bases loaded and your son goes up to bat. 

Once the voting is over, Shep reads out each, and George keeps tally.  First person to reach the magic number is captain.  Votes were the closest we’ve seen in decades. 

No winner.  We vote again.

This time it’s even closer.  The guys head towards the door to swarm the captain, counting down aloud on the last few votes.  It continues to basically be a three way tie.  One senior needs one more vote, one needs two and one needs four.  But we’re out of papers in the voting box. 

Round three!  We vote again.

We’re on pins and needles in the Rec Hall, so can only imagine what the guys on the ballot are feeling over in the Farmhouse.  They’ve been so edgy all day, from the Sky II Lobster Feast to this very moment.      

The countdown comes, and there’s a winner!  Jakob Katzen!  JACOB! JACOB! JACOB!, they chant.  He runs into the room and is mobbed at the door with well wishers.

Additional ballots are read, until the next captain is revealed.  Matt Litwin!  MOLEY!  MOLEY!  MOLEY!

Jakob picks Red and takes second and third pick for Star Lieutenants.  Gray captain Matt picks Jake Kannengiser and Tucker Roy as his right hand men.  Jakob picks Gonzalo and Sam Kahn.

Looks we’ll have an incredible Color War!


July 31
11:21 pm

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It takes just a few summer weeks to form the bond that cannot be broken.  The Camp Skylemar band of brothers.

Our band sings and laughs together.  We share happy times, and bicker as well.  As brothers we’re sometimes alike and often different.  From time to time we blame one another, and occasionally get into a bit of trouble together.  When one is sad or sick, we worry.  When one succeeds we might feel a twinge of envy (after all, we’re human), but ultimately we’re proud.  We help and encourage each other, to climb the wall, listen to the counselor or talk to the girl at the social.  When we argue we ultimately forgive.   

Skylemar brothers come in all ages, sizes and styles.  The big is what everyone wants to be some day.  The little is who the big instinctively care for.  Some call it Color War “electioneering”, but that’s just a front.  The older guys love being loved too.

Like at home, we even have that temporary second when we secretly wish the unthinkable – that our brother belonged to somebody else.  But as long as there are mentors to help us along, time has a way of healing and teaching us to cope. 

Just today alone there were numerous heartwarming demonstrations of brotherhood.  One group of cabin mates lurked around the Farmhouse, knowing that one of their brothers was having a difficult phone call.  Another couple of nine year olds patiently reminded their “brother” of some social inappropriateness.  The JC’s hosted a softball game on Hejduk Field for our guests from the Special Oympics.  At Evening Activity our “band” filled the Rec Hall to celebrate…

The Talent Show Part Two!   The kids adore this show, but from an adult point of view, it’s the ultimate testament of what makes Skylemar “SKYLEMAR!”.   Here’s how it went:

Eli D sang “The National Anthem”.  Honestly, it was one of the best renditions ever.  The evening was respectful from start to finish.

Hunter and Luke S’man were quite skilled with their lacrosse tricks.  Bunk 9, with Shuey as the “angry Irish guy”, performed “Shipping Up To Boston”.  They definitely had fun doing whatever they were doing.  Alex R followed, making noises as he hit his head.  Hmmmmm…

Benny was remarkable at the yoyo.  Really cool, advanced stuff.  Then came a moment of shining brotherhood.

Ten year old Nicholas M stood in the middle of the stage, and all by himself, a cappella, sang Taylor Swift’s “Love Song”.  The older guys started it, and then all joined in clapping.  At the chorus, everyone sang.  To see Nicholas proudly shine made us all feel good.  When the song concluded he said into the microphone, “Thank you Cory for giving me the music to this song.  Thank you Jake and Suzie for letting me be in the show.”  The crowd cheered wildly.

Next act was adorable.  Stevie, Will S, Ethan F, Sam S, Alex D and Luke changed the words of the song “Radio Active” to their original called “The Color War Song”.  The audience roared.

The room was darkened while Charlie M did his twirling light tricks.  Lots of oooohs and aaaahs.   Matthew F did water bottle flips without spilling.  At least not much.  Jed L sang Train’s “Drops of Jupiter”.  As before, the camp sang and clapped along.  Dylan M, Ethan F, Luke Shin, Logan B, Dante and Ben S did the Harlem Shake wearing Shep’s costumes.  They were cracking up inside those crazy head pieces.

Once again, we felt the love waves in the room as Sam S took the mic and sang the Sponge Bob song.  Everyone joyfully sang the refrain.  Sam was SO happy!  His hands flew high into the air for “YEAH!!”  The older guys cheered, whistled and gave him a standing ovation.  It was that beautiful sound again!

Ben R and Jack Q followed with a handshake.  Sam F also was terrific with a solo version of “Pay Phone” by Maroon Five.  We were all so proud of him.  Bunk 25 did something no one understood, but they had a great time.  Bosco and Tomas sang “The Macarena” in Spanish.  They charged on, despite technical difficulties with the music. 

Sam R sang and played Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”.  Sam has been in the Talent Show for the past six years.  This was the first song he ever performed back in 2008. 

It was a terrific night, thanks to a respectful audience and brave performers.  It’s all about support.  That’s what family is for.

p.s.  As they say (and chant), one more day…


July 30
10:57 pm

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Just read a statistic published by the organization called Nature Conservancy.  It said that 88% of children spend time online every day.  Only 11% of children spend time outside almost every day.

The statistician clearly didn’t sample anyone from Camp Skylemar.  Especially on a fabulous, perfect day like today.  We are 100% outside and loving it!! 

Today was picture perfect.  Sunny, dry, warm with a light breeze – juuuuust right.  Ideal for early morning Polar Bear Swim.  Twenty some guys plus the waterfront staff swam across the lake while others were still sleeping this morning.  Way to go!

Boston College plus our senior campers took over a water park in North Conway.  Ironically, it was an indoor water park on the prettiest day of the year.  But the good news was that they basically had the place to themselves.  Lots of fun for all.

The cast of “Grease” is busy with rehearsals.  Stars to watch for are Jed L, Jack K, Justin I, Eli D, Ethan F, Joe B, Sam B, Ben A, Josh S, Dylan and Tyler M, Hunter and Dominic.  Caught a glimpse of them practicing “Grease Lightning” and they were amazing.

Most amazing, and we mean AMAZING, was the magician Norman Ny who performed for Evening Activity.  He was the best we’ve seen not only on the Skylemar stage, but anywhere live for that matter.  As you can imagine, our crowd can be tough on a magician, especially those from the 14/15 age bracket.    We tell anyone who solicits that you’d really need to pull a live rabbit out of a hat in order to trick our wise guys.   Norman took on the challenge, and did far better than a rabbit.  He pulled a real bowling ball out of a pad of paper!  From that trick on he had a captured audience.

Tonight reminded us that the most fantastic, wonderful sound in the world is when every guy in the Rec Hall cheers, claps, stomps and whistles in joy.  It’s Skylemar music that’s hard to describe, but when experienced, it can lift spirits to the sky and back. 

By the way, the buzz has started.  We’re starting to feel it.  Two more days…


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