I'm Erik, and along with Rosemary I will be a blogger for session I this summer. A little bit of background: I was a camper here for four years, each of which I had an amazing time. One of the most exciting days of camp for me was always the first day, and it was truly thrilling yesterday to see this new batch of campers have that same fun experience.
Yesterday morning, the staff woke up to do some last minute cleaning and preparation for the camper's arrival. Staff week was fun, but the true excitement came from knowing the campers would be here soon, and finally at noon campers started to trickle in! As the day went on, more and more campers would arrive, where joyous reunions occurred with no shortage of screaming and hugging. Additionally, many new campers arrived, where they begun to see the true magic of Acting Manitou and started making friendships that will last them the next three weeks, and likely many, many more after that. New or old though, every camper received a health check upon arrival, called home for one last communication with their parents, and began to unpack.
At around 6:30, the bus from Princeton, Manhattan, and Massachusetts arrived (which I was personally chaperoning), where even more joyous reunions of screaming and hugging occurred. These new campers had the privilege of being on a bus with their fellow campers for up to 11 hours, so new friendships were already being formed, and upon arrival they got to see the place they had been hearing about for the whole ride. These campers dropped their bags off, and headed straight to dinner where they enjoyed some home made Lasagna and rolls!
After dinner, all of the campers and staff headed up to the theater for orientation. Here, with the help of a small stuffed animal pig named Piggy, the campers were informed of the basic geography of the camp, the daily schedule, and the staff who will be working hard all summer to give them the best experience possible. Every year, there is a certain theme that goes along with camp, and seeing that this is Acting Manitou's 13th summer, a number that some see as lucky or unlucky, the theme this year is superstition and tradition. This summer, we plan to honor the traditions that make theater so wonderful, but also use superstition both on and off stage to ignore what might be called "rational" and embrace the irrational, using our hearts sometimes more than our head.
Finally, Tim and Steve charged the campers with their job this summer, which is as follows:
Be inspired. Support and inspire others. Challenge yourself creatively. Be a good friend to all. Work tirelessly on your performance. Take care of yourself and others. Commune with nature. Fall in love with your play. Make lifelong friends. And take Joy in all you do.
After four summers myself at Acting Manitou, I can assure you that every camper will look back on this session and see that they will have performed a job well done.