What A Summer, What A Night!

Posted August 11, 2012 • Share: Summer 2012 is now in the history books. The campers have just left, and there’s an eerie silence across Camp Matoaka. Only the memories of an unforgettable summer remain.

The rain falling from the sky reflected the mood when the tears flowed as everyone said their goodbyes and boarded the buses to take them back home.

We gave Summer 2012 a proper send off though! Yesterday was a busy day. We had a few General Rec. periods where campers could visit their favorite activities for the final time this summer.  Meanwhile, the Queens were hard at work decorating the Dining Hall for Banquet. This event is the highlight of the summer, and Bunk 15 had been preparing for this night all summer long. It was finally time to put on the finishing touches and set everything up.

Meanwhile, down the bunkline the campers’ anticipation was building. They couldn’t contain their excitement, and once they were all ready they held an impromptu parade through the bunkline while they waited for the bugle to announce the start of the Banquet. One Bunk of girls linked hands, and then travelled bunk by bunk to recruit more campers to join their chain. The chain grew bigger and bigger, until we had well over 200 girls holding hands and singing as they encircled the bunkline. They laughed, smiled, and sang songs. It was the perfect way to pass the time and an incredible sight to see!

Finally, the big moment had arrived and everyone was called to the front lawn to line up with their bunkmates. Girls were jumping, screaming and just bustling with anticipation! The Banquet theme was a highly guarded secret all summer long and girls were eager to finally see everything!

Everyone entered a dark hallway that was glowing orange and red emulating flames. What could this possibly be? The Olympic torch of course! When they broke through the end of the flaming tunnel, they emerged at the London Olympic Games! The Olympic theme was playing, there were video clips looping, and flags from all the different countries were on display. We feasted on Greek salad, quesadillas, mozzarella sticks, and sports bars. The fifteen year olds put on a fantastic performance for us, representing many Olympic sports. The amount of time and effort they invested into this event was clear, everything was perfect!

After dinner, we switched gears and rather than Olympic Medals, we handed out our prestigious end-of-year awards. Each activity gave out small plaques to one camper from each division who was outstanding in that department this summer. Girls were thrilled to hear their name called as the rest of the camp cheered!

Outside, the rain clouds were moving in, so Jason made a quick decision to start the fireworks earlier than planned. We gathered outside in the Council Ring and viewed the most stunning fireworks display East Pond has ever seen. Campers and counselors held hands, linked arms, and oohed and aaahed together over the magical display. The perfect example of Matoaka Magic, beautiful moments like this are what these girls will remember for the rest of their lives.

The timing could not have been better, because as we returned to the Dining Hall for the rest of the awards ceremonies, the rain started to fall. It was as if nature was waiting for our fireworks to finish. Nothing could ruin this special night!

In the Rec Hall we resumed our ceremonies by distributing Five and Ten –Year Sweatshirts to the eligible campers and counselors. We also honored this year’s Distinguished Counselors, revealed our new Color War plaque, and revealed our Honor Roll honorees.

Then everyone was dismissed back to their bunks while the Rec Hall was cleared, cleaned, and reassembled. When we brought everyone back, we held the much-anticipated crowning ceremony. The Queens of 2012 welcomed Bunk 14 to kneel before them and they placed a personally designed crown on each girl’s head. This officially marked the end of the Queens of 2012’s reign and welcomed the Queens of 2013. It’s a beautiful and emotional moment steeped in history and tradition.

After that, everyone retreated to their cozy cabins for one last night at One Great Place. Office Staff and counselors traveled down the rainy bunkline serenading each cabin with a favorite soothing camp song. They huddled together by candlelight, singing songs and wishing each camper a good night.

This morning the rain continued paralleling the tears that flowed as we said goodbye to all of our beloved campers. They boarded cars, buses, and vans and were whisked away from One Great Place and back to their homes all over the world. Thank you all for an incredible summer, we miss you already! 

Although we’re sad to see everyone go, we’re absolutely THRILLED to begin our first ever Mother-Daughter Weekend! Moms are arriving and everyone’s eager to kick off a fantastic weekend of Matoaka Magic together!

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