Mid-Term Madness

Sunday, July 7th, 2024

RAINBOW THEATER circa 7:00pm—The menacing sun has finally unfurrowed its brow as it dips toward the western tree line. What would be a temperature high for any normal day feels relatively cool compared to a few hours prior. Golden beams cut across the stilt field and across the Tipi Circle, illuminating Indigo, Blue and Sky Blue tipis in particular. Roughly two dozen campers race back and forth across the Stilt Field in an indecipherable variation of tag, shouting and laughing like cartoon villains. The sloppy joe dinner energy boost is in full effect.

Around 8pm the conch will blow and Camp will gather for Movie Night, but until then free time reigns. At the water fountain ‘safe zone’ one camper douses their head and shirt with a running mister. On the so-called Grassy Knoll overlooking the Stilt Field two campers leisurely volley at the ping-pong table while a third juggles three bean bags. Behind my vantage of the back row benches several unicyclers quietly circumnavigate the baseball diamond-shaped Uni Track, gripping the bar for balance. Five colorful stilt umbrellas and myself bear silent witness to the cheerful chaos.

Last night Camp enjoyed a second Fire Circle, featuring a fire juggling finale complete with a West African drumming ensemble. This morning was the long-anticipated Sleep-In Sunday, followed by the dreaded Mid-Term Tipi Clean-Up. I spent some time this afternoon gathering feedback on the various happenings.

“Hear ye, hear ye, come one, come all,” said Avi, 13, of the Scarlet Tipi, quoting his own speech which opened last night’s Fire Circle. “The Fire Circle is now open. Thank you to Albert Einstein for inventing trees.”

“That was the whole speech,” he explained. “I was inspired by comedy; it’s sort of my thing. I was wearing a blue George Washington/marching band jacket. The fire juggling was really cool. Having sticks on fire and throwing them is cool; it’s just a simple fact of life. Phaedra was a good emcee. She added little anecdotes but kept the show moving. The whole thing was silly and fun.”

“I always get scared when the fire performers juggle fire,” admitted Emi, 10, of the Yellow Tipi. “But honestly I’m more worried at Burning Man where anybody might be doing it; here there are rules. Burning Man is dustier than Camp—if you can believe it—but they’re both places you can express yourself. The main difference is that Burning Man is more about adults and Camp Winnarainbow is all about kids. Overall the Fire Circle was really fun.”

“My tipi went to the Labyrinth last night,” said Kip, 10, of the Sky Blue Tipi. “We could see the totem pole in the sunset; it was beautiful. I like how they have all the crystals in the center of the labyrinth. It was fun but like a different kind of fun because there was no talking. It was calm and meaningful.”

“It’s not gonna be a raving review, I’ll warn ya,” said Puppeteering Instructor Milla Blackwelder of today’s Mid-Term Tipi Clean-Up, sighing deeply. “My co-staff Lastarla held it down while I was doing a little conflict resolution. But we eventually got things swept up. Our tipi definitely should have won the competition, but apparently the judges found a little piece of trash in our pie slice (see: section of Tipi Circle from a tipi’s perimeter to the central fire pit). The main thing is that we made the space more happy and healthy, but the prize was literal candy! The incentive was undeniable.”

“It was inspiring to see everyone struggling so gracefully,” said Lake Shuttle Driver Jasper Skelton. “Thirteen tipis passed outright and two had to do some extra cleaning after inspection. At first it looks like total chaos as tipis are emptied into the Tipi Circle. But as the time comes to an end it settles into a tranquil state of cleanliness and order.”

“One thumb up, one thumb medium,” said Gage, 11, of the Flame Tipi. “It’s kind of a relief. We cleaned a lot of trash and we took all our stuff out so we could sweep up the floor. At the stage we got triple called out for cleaning better. That was unfair. It was hard because it was so hot. I had some gatorade. It was good, medium good. I was glad we did it but it was hard.”

“I almost lost my notebook with my character sheet!” said Abbey, 13, of the Orange Tipi. “My character is Reginald Von Tracey, who is a half-ling bard in the world of D&D. He can use ‘Vicious Mockery’ where you roast someone so bad it causes physical damage. I don’t do that in real life—I’m a nice person—but it’s in my back pocket. Overall it was calming to see the tipi nice and clean. I took breaks to dance to the chorus of ‘Thriller’.”

Stay hydrated,

J. Payseno, Editor