Welcome to the first Camp Kesem UCLA blog! My name is Quinkidinc and I will be writing the blogs and taking photos throughout this week. I’ve been to Kesem 9 years now since its start at UCLA, and I have seen it grow in size to where it is this year, the largest it has ever been. This blog is for you parents to be able to check and see what your kids are up to this week. I’ve already warned them that “What happens at Kesem now does NOT stay at Kesem.”
After meeting everyone’s unit counselors and saying farewells to family, we were off to camp! A two-hour drive to the Idyllwild area brought us to our campsite, a new place for everyone (and a bit of an upgrade from the last).
Once everyone was gathered in their units, and counselors and Counselors in Training were through emptying the buses, all went to their respective cabins to get settled in and make their cabin rules. This is a sort of Constitution made by the input of both campers and counselors, and includes rules and consequences that are to be maintained all week, but they are unique to every cabin. For example, a rule could be that “real names are not allowed,” and the consequence of using a real name is to kiss a tree, or drink five glasses of water at the next meal, or anything the kids come up with and all agree on.
After getting situated, every unit went on a photo scavenger hunt, partially to get acquainted with one another and also to familiarize themselves with the new camp. Once human caterpillars and unit-wide piggy back rides were photographed, and UCLA 8-claps filmed (gotta’ start ’em young), we all gathered at the fire pit to meet the admin and be dismissed to dinner.
Dining hall rules were explained to a fairly squirmy audience, but the food came soon enough and everyone ate their chicken, rice, broccoli and salads gratefully. And as always, we drank lots of water. Once everyone was finished eating and cleaning their areas we returned to the fire pit to watch some skits put on by the counselors. At the end of this we had closing circle; a tradition at Camp Kesem, done at the end of every day. The entire camp gathers in a circle, some last announcements are made, and we softly sing the Closing Circle song:
Hey oh, oh ay 2x
Don’t walk in front of me I may not follow,
Don’t walk behind me I may not lead
Just walk beside me and be my friend,
and together we are here at Camp Kesem
Hey oh, oh ay 2x
Lastly, all units had their first cabin chats, then went to bed.