Rainy days and Mondays always get me down … but not at camp!


There is a saying that the worst day at summer camp is better than the best day not at camp … or something like that. 

Even waking up to rain is fun – sleeping in a little bit, hot chocolate for breakfast, and wearing boots … the better to puddle jump! The first rainy day of the season following a few really, really hot days is pretty welcome!

Some campers, and even a few staffers at Camp Avoda, are true “early birds.” But many campers and most of our staff were treated to a late wake-up call on one particular rainy day … and that extra half-hour of cozy under-the-covers snoozing was appreciated. But don’t kid yourself: cozy blankets and sleep are not the typical order of a camp day. But they do have their uses.

On this particular rainy day, after a lengthy “deep clean” of  bunks, campers chose from a variety of morning activities. Balls were in play during dodgeball, creativity flowed in the woodshop and arts and crafts cabin, and the competition was heated during the pingpong tournament in the mess hall. The latter half of the morning offered some of those activities, as well as a movie in the lodge and a pitch tournament in the mess hall. 

Some time during the morning, I realized that at least a half-dozen campers had asked me for big binder clips. Hmmm, something “creative” was afoot! Apparently, many of the freshmen had decided that it was a great day to build a fort. They were so right. There’s nothing like huddling in your fort with a flashlight to play board games and cards and to tell stories.  I kind of felt like an art patroness for contributing the clips that held all the wires at my desk to their creativity!

While the thunder and lightning abated after a while, and the rain was coming down at a slower pace, the fields were soaked and the courts were still drenched. We added Mooseball, known in some camps as Gaga, to the lineup of activities. 

After the rain stopped, we were able to play hoops. Truth be told, there were some diehard campers in yellow ponchos who played in the rain!

As the grounds dried, we knew that our plans for the evening would still work out. One of the campers’ favorite evening events is “bunk night”: Each bunk plans its own activity and spends the evening together. Some of the plans included a game of “man in the middle,” time at the waterfront, sand volleyball, manhunt, and, of course, treats. (I think my favorite part of the evening was having bunk 6B join me in my living room for hot chocolate.)

The aftermath of the rain brought what seemed like hundreds of geese out to every water source we have, wet T-shirts littering the fields, flip-flops on every porch, and happy, tired campers who earned their showers – in fact, it was a scene much like each day at Camp Avoda!

RONNI GUTTIN is the director of Camp Avoda, a Jewish boys’ overnight camp in Middleboro, Massachusetts.