By Jake Herringshaw, Athletics Coordinator and Kelli Beaulieu, Athletic Director
Marge’s Camp, the Club’s traditional stay-over in the great outdoors summer camp concluded at the end of July with rave reviews from campers. More than 300 Boys & Girls Club members participated in the 9th annual Marge’s Camp experience. The two week adventure was broken down into three sessions including a girl’s week, boy’s week, and a week for the Reno Ballers Program. Each week members were prepped and loaded on buses at the DWR facility and transported to camp. Once members arrived they were split up into seven different camp sites with Boys & Girls Club staff members serving as senior counselors and Leaders In Training members as junior counselors. Shortly after the campers are settled in the real adventure begins . . .
On the first day of camp all campers and counselors head out to the swimming pool for their swim tests. Those who did not pass are given swimming lessons throughout the week in hopes of passing the test before they depart Marge’s Camp. This year more than 260 youth were able to pass the swim test by the end of camp. Throughout the next three days campers participated in a series of rotations that included Packer Lake, the swimming pool, S.M.A.R.T. (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) Moves, outdoor education, sports, fitness and arts and crafts. This year Packer Lake gave kids the opportunity to not only swim and canoe, but to learn how to paddle board. Campers also got an opportunity to learn about the woods in the new outdoor education program. Campers learned how to make and read sun dials, learned about nursing logs, and the differences in soil erosion.
The enrichment activities did not end there. In the revamped S.M.A.R.T. Moves program lessons, campers were introduced to impactful lessons covering fitness, healthy eating, and bullying vs. respect. Upon completion of Smart Moves campers got a chance to get creative with arts and crafts. This year featured some new projects including the making of survival bracelets, bird houses, and sand art, while also keeping the tradition of creating their own tie-dye T-shirt. Each day campers had the opportunity to play volleyball, basketball, corn-hole, and disk golf. We wrapped each week up on the final day with a six-mile hike to Deer Lake. After reaching this beautiful lake, campers ate lunch and swam in the crystal clear water to cool down before the journey back down the mountain.
The simplicity of a campfire, a hike, and a lake ties this amazing adventure together for the members of the Boys & Girls Club. During the last night each group of campers are encouraged to stand before their peers and express what camp means to them and explain their experience. The overwhelming message from all of the campers is one of great appreciation for the opportunity to experience this overnight camp. Marge’s Camp is magical, and brings perspective to youth on what is truly important in life . . . supportive relationships, friendship, and growth for oneself.