6th Grade Camp: Back Two Years Later

Counselors Esther Wang (left), Isra Kayani (middle), and Charlie Ruben (right) hike to the low ropes.

The name Sherwood Forest carries a plethora of emotions for anyone who attended Wydown during 6th grade. Ranging from homesickness to utter joy, every child had their own unique experience. With Covid shutting down most activities for the past couple of years, 2022 was the first time in the past two years that Wydown has been able to bring their kids back to this iconic setting. With multiple big changes, such as the retirement of the beloved Colonel Carter, this year’s camp looked a little different. 

Most kids remember camp as another dreadful week in their middle school experience, but a group of 60 counselors and CITs decided to go back for their first, second, and even third time. On the bus ride to camp, counselor Charlie Rubin said 

“I was filled with existential dread. What have I just gotten myself into?” 

Camp for Rubin turned out to be much better than he anticipated. After camp, Rubin said 

“You know what, I would definitely do it again. I had a lot of fun.” 

Counselors Allyson Ord (left), Anna Stouffer (second to left), Mira Stahlheber (third left), Alex Cohen (fourth left), Delia Zacks (fourth right), Esther Wang (third right), Isra Kayani (second right), and Amanda Miller (right) huddle together for a quick group picture on our night hike.

Camp was filled with memories that counselors will never forget. For counselor Anna Stouffer, her favorite camp memory was when

 “All of the counselors were eating dinner outside of the dining hall during our break. One of the counselors had a speaker and was just like playing music and we all had glow sticks. We were all singing and dancing together. It was just a really happy fun moment, even though we were all super exhausted and super stressed.” Stouffer said. 

We sat down with Colonel Carter, at Wydown Middle School and discussed his legacy during his 38 years at 6th-grade camp. Counselors described their time at camp as more difficult because of our missing piece, Colonel Carter. Formerly enlisted in the military, Colonel Carter was the perfect candidate to teach the campers order, cleanliness, and discipline. 

“The Colonel Carter character basically took on a life of its own, we never dreamed that it would” 

said Carter, as his legacy was passed down through the unique stories of the campers. “I’m hoping that they can think back on it finally, even though I was pretty harsh”. Camp Director Chris Chisholm described his presence for counselors as 

“just sort of like that person, you could always go to for like ‘what do you do when’  questions, so we didn’t have that kind of that veteran who just sort of knew the place so well.” Camp counselor, Beacon Mottl said 

“Colonel Carter’s presence was very missed, and much needed to align the campers.” Stouffer said,

claiming that many counselors struggled immensely with maintaining cabin cleanliness because the campers didn’t really understand why they were cleaning. If Colonel Carter would have been there, they would more fully understand the reasoning behind the specific things that we looked for. 

Colonel Carter described camp as 

“a brief shining moment, where we are a community that is almost unbreakable,”. 

We see this unbreakable community with everyone ranging from counselors to teachers to campers.

Counselor Anna Stouffer said, “all of the counselors pulled their weight and worked together very well.”

The different memories that the camp shared were also a big reason for the unexpected strength in the community. Everyone has their own favorite memory at camp, and love retelling them with wide grins and giggles.

Another crucial change this year was the introduction of the new Camp Director, Christopher Chisholm. The behind-the-scenes work done by the teachers is often overlooked, and their contributions are oftentimes underappreciated. Chisholm describes the biggest struggle of camp as 

“All the planning beforehand, the preparation beforehand, kind of anticipating all the things that could possibly go wrong or right, just making sure everybody had a cabin, had all the training and all the materials they needed.” 

Working alongside Mr. Thompson and Mrs. Synovec, camp preparation took months, everything focused on making camp go as smoothly as possible for each sixth grader.

Counselors Gabriella Furdek (left), Anna Stouffer (second left), Elliot Wu (second right), and Alex Cohen (right) pose for a pre-canoe picture.

Makeup work was another challenge that high school counselors faced. A total of 60 counselors and CITs missed an entire week of school, so

“catching up with school has been dreadful. We didn’t really think about it for the week at camp, but catching up is pretty bad” said Mottl. 

Sixth grade camp is an important growth experience for every sixth grader and it wouldn’t have been possible without our camp counselors and CITs, camp director, and all of the teachers that helped.