This past Monday, a magnificent sculpture was placed in Brooklyn Bridge Park and will remain there until August.
Stretching 8 x 17 1/2 feet, this amazing sculpture is both powerful and simple and spells out YO. Described by Deborah Kass, the artist, “The fact that this particular work resonates so beautifully in so many languages to so many communities is why I wanted to make it monumental”. I can’t believe that the dedication and opening of this piece of art is coincidental. The color of it is yellow, however I’m sure that when Equinunk and Blue Ridge do its summer magic, it will glow red and blue. So the next time you’re walking along the east side of Manhattan, think of MCW and give a YO!!!
While we’re all busy in the Equinunk/Blue Ridge post-season with school, sports, family and friends, take a moment and smile at a 95 year tradition, the life of an American folk hero and a Cuban Paul Bunyan.
We all know that for 95 years, every Equinunk line-up has been highlighted by each group cheering 1-2-3 Yo, forecasting great morning and evening activities. In addition to announcing our daily activities, we also present our “real world” Sportswire. Baseball, an American tradition, celebrated the life of YOgi Berra this month. YOgi was not a big man; he was a great man. Although he was one of the greatest players of his generation, his greater success was a life devoted to family, sports, team, humor, community and charity. YOgi made everyone better and happier in his humble and unassuming way.
YOenis Cespedes joined the NY Mets a few months ago and continues to write one of the most amazing 60-day game season baseball has ever known.
YOenis’ displays of raw power and skill has made everyone on the NY Mets better and excited as they begin the World Series.
YOenis’ courage and power have been on display his entire life. He was born in the tiny town of CAMPechuela, Cuba. As an adult, he and 11 others were stranded on an island for 3 days as they defected from Cuba.They nearly ran out of water and he arranged to get the group to safety.
YOenis’ humble beginnings, his difficult road to freedom, his perserverence and courage, and YOgi’s greatness and humility are great values for you to consider as YOu become the best version of YOurself. So get ready for YOur next great moment with 1-2-3 YO!!!!!
As I sit here at the close of my upper senior summer, I think about everything that I’ve done and been through while growing up here. 336 camping days, 980 meals, 224 laps around the mess hall during color war cheering, 18 different counselors, 5 group heads, and 7 life-changing summers. The word change tends to have a negative stigma around camp. People who have spent their entire lives here want everything to remain the same with little to no change. Since we’ve all had such amazing and cherished memories of past summers, we want the new generation of campers to have the same experiences as we did. But in this world, the only constant is change. Diamonds disappear, pools are built, and mess halls redone. These are all things that make camp appear to be different, however, these are not things that make camp appear to be different, however these are not things that make camp what it is and what it means. Camp is that we still continue traditions that have lived on throughout nearly a century of constant change. Camp is that we still keep score for color war with the hitting of colored hatchets into numbered blocks. Camp is that we still gather at the flagpole twice a day to hear the upcoming activities as if we didn’t have walkie-talkies or the PA system. Sometimes camp isn’t the only thing that changes throughout each summer. You could come to camp, and after one, two or seven summers be a changed person. That’s what happened to me throughout my camping career. I’ve come a long way from being a small, nervous, homesick sophomore who spent way more than his fair share of time in the hobby center. Camp taught me how to be responsible, how to have different personalities, and to try every activity, because you never know which one you might enjoy. That the one thing I wish I had known all along. Don’t take any day at camp for granted because like the song says, “know that time will fly, in Color War we’ll try, but in the blink of an eye, our summer heaven is gone.” Trust me when I say this, but one minute you’ll be touring the campus with Kevin Gray the first day of Sophomore summer, and the next thing you know, you will have just three days left as a camper, and all you can do is sit back and wonder where all of that time went. Camp, you made me who I am, and I thank you for that. My only hope is that you continue to do the same for years to come, turning small homesick campers into true sons of Equinunk.
US 2014 Red Elite
As long as I can remember, generations of campers have entered the Equinunk Social Hall and have been immediately drawn to the Color War plaques mounted on the walls surrounding the “Bernie Strauss” basketball court.
The plaques begin to tell a story of Camp Equinunk… The folklore of the Red and Gray, Color War, The Upper Senior Basketball Game, lovingly known as “The Game”, the names of the teams, the Seniors, the scores of the “game” and of the “war”. The real story behind the plaques is the lifelong Legacy of Brotherhood, Tradition and Family that Seniors and all of the campers, staff and parents have embraced throughout the ages.
The plaques are Equinunk national treasures, yet only this week I believe I have uncovered an answer to a question or should I say a mystery that has perplexed me and perhaps you as well. We all know that Camp Equinunk was founded in 1920, so why no plaque until ’42? Early yearbooks dating back to the ’20s reference “the game”, list the teams, players, scores and totals. So why no plaque until 22 years later?
My story begins with the early pioneer leaders, Seniors and other campers. These Camp Equinunk visionaries anticipated that someone or something so extraordinary would come along in the future that would be worthy of commemoration in a Senior plaque, a symbol of profound excellence. Their patience and wisdom was rewarded as number 42 was worn by Jackie Robinson, as he became the first “Negro” to cross the color line and integrate the sport five years later.
His number “42”, the title of a recent movie, depicts Robinson’s courage, intelligence and greatness in making his teammates and everyone around him more understanding and compassionate in a time when ignorance and bigotry often was the norm.
It’s no small wonder that “42” is the first plaque that adorns the walls of the CE Social Hall and that Major League Baseball followed our lead at camp and placed “42” plaques on the outfield walls of every big league stadium.
Just as early CE leaders and campers anticipated that greatness was coming in ’42, our current leadership and campers are expecting greatness in all of you this summer. We are so excited and sure that your friendship and kindness will continue to enrich the Camp Equinunk legacy in 2013.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am from Boca Raton, Florida and I love spending my summers at camp! I have spent 17 summers at a sleep away camp in the Catskills as a camper and staff member. I have dabbled in a little bit of everything at camp, from camper to junior counselor, counselor, group leader, and assistant programming director. I started out as a shy 8 year old at camp and little did I know how much camp would shape me into the outgoing and adventurous person I am today! I spent the past two years teaching English in Madrid, Spain. It was an amazing experience to live, work, and travel abroad and I know that I have camp to thank for that!
My hobbies include dance, cheerleading, zumba, traveling, and playing with my dog Kylie. I love being active but if I may reveal a secret, I’m not athletic at all! Camp has taught me that you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it!
What are you most excited about?
I am really looking forward to getting to know the girls of Blue Ridge and learning about the culture and traditions. I am also looking forward to sharing my camp experiences and stories. I’ve heard amazing things about the CECBR community and am very excited to become a part of something so special.
What is your favorite camp quote? Camp is like a joke you have to be there to get it. (it’s so true!)
Favorite camp moment:
It’s so hard to pinpoint one favorite moment! There are just too many! Sometimes, it’s those moments just sitting around laughing over nothing with your camp friends which are the best ones. Also I found watching my former campers grow up to be amazing counselors a very rewarding experience.
What is your favorite camp meal?
Hands down, French toast (with extra powdered sugar), but barbeque is a close second!
What is your favorite camp activity?
I enjoy anything that involves dance and I love zumba! I also like gaga and a game called BBG – it’s a mix of basketball and kickball!
We caught up with Equinunk Head Counselor Gil Kreiss to talk about the summer, his love for camp and more! Check it out:
What is your favorite camp moment?
The first evening’s flag pole line up, is the first time the whole camp lines up around the flag pole. This is such a special time to see the new campers faces as they take part in a tradition that has gone on in camp since day one. The returning campers have taken their “NEW” place. I get to speak to Camp Equinunk as a whole for the first time, making announcements and some very important introductions of key staff and of course, our Directors Richie and Adam. The moment continues as we enter the Mess Hall for the first time and have our first meal. The energy is stupendous and when the seniors start to sing, it is truly amazing!.
Any advice for anyone new to Equinunk?
Be prepared to have the time of your life. Yes, you will need to be ready to be away from your parents for the first time, but the family at Equinunk that awaits you will welcome you with open arms and make you feel right at home. Be open to trying new activities, meeting new people and experiencing new things. If you are open-mided, then the 7 weeks at Camp Equinunk are going to race by quicker than you can say “sign me up for next year!!”
Are there any special events you are looking forward to this summer?
There are a few annual events that I truly look forward to, The Hamen Hockey Classic, Square Dancing and Premi’s BBQ’s. This will be the 6th annual Hockey Classic and it seems to get funnier and better each year! To see the staff play roller hockey is pretty incredible. These guys get out there give it their all even though they have little to no ability to skate. The game itself can be one of the funniest all camp events. For square dancing, Sue and Lou Flago bring such a high level of excitement even when just their names are mentioned. Now add in the camp atmosphere of campers dressing up and the night becomes a big costume party with incredible square dancing with a world renowned caller. The NIGHT is SPECTACULAR!!!!! Last but certainly not least, I am also looking forward to Premi’s BBQ. Anyone who is lucky enough to ever have Eric Premisler cook for them at camp would most definitely say that they always look forward to Premi’s cooking and that the event is something to cherished.
What keeps you coming back?
The true sense of family that I feel when I walk onto the campus keeps me coming back each summer. Right away I feel like I am home and everyone surrounding me is my family. I hope to make everyone that I come in contact with at camp feel the same way. I hope to help the staff have a great summer and also facilitate a great summer for the campers. I come back year after year because I truly enjoy being at camp and want to continue doing a job I started a number of years ago and keep improving at it each and every summer. I try to challenge myself all the time to be better and if I take on that philosophy, the staff I work with sees that, I’m sure that they will work harder to ensure the campers have an amazing summer.
What does “we live for this” mean to you?
We Live for this – means to me that camp is an important part of my life and my family’s life. We all enjoy camp and think that the experience we all gain from being at Equinunk and Blue Ridge is invaluable.
We caught up with Blue Ridge Head Counselor Lori Scheck and asked her some questions about Summer 2013 and camp itself! Check it out:
What are some of your favorite camp moments?
One of my favorite camp moments every summer is watching each camper walk down the Social Hall floor during formation of Group Sing. Seeing all those huge smiles is incredible and the sheer excitement is so apparent as each camper makes their own contribution to Sing. The returning campers are so happy to be taking part in another Sing, however, it’s watching the first year campers which makes the moment so special for me. The looks on their faces are priceless, knowing that they have now become part of the history and tradition of Blue Ridge.
Any advice for anyone new to Equiunk and Blue Ridge?
I would advise all new campers to try something new, perhaps something they never even thought that they would do. And, do this with new friends! It might be swimming in the lake, or climbing the wall, or trying out for a show. Even if you are not sure if you will like something…give it a try and ask a friend to do it with you! We will be there supporting you and cheering you on
Are there any special events you are looking forward to this summer?
All of them!! It’s hard to pick just one. Whether it’s Sports Day, Tribal Day, Square Dancing, or Colorwar Sing…They are all very special in their own way. What these all have in common is that we come together as a camp and experience these events together, and I get excited each and every time. What keeps you coming back?
The entire experience and essence of Blue Ridge is what keeps me coming back. It all starts with the campers and counselors . Then mixed with the lake, sunshine, spirit, meals in the Mess Hall, general swim, traditions, and flagpole line-up (I could go on and on!) it all comes together and I keep coming back for more.
What does “we live for this” mean to you?
“We Live For This” means that there is an ever present special feeling of being connected to an awesome place – A home that I can return to every summer. I feel so fortunate that I can help create a place where others feel that connection and special feeling.
We are often reminded that imitation is the greatest source of flattery and what we saw on Super Bowl Sunday merely mirrors what we see every summer at CECBR.
Our feelings were mixed watching the final game of Ray Lewis’ 17 year Hall of Fame career, because at CE and at CBR we treasure and place greater value on the virtues of integrity and humanity, rather than just applauding excellence in sports or other activities.
We weren’t too concerned when the Baltimore Ravens threatened to turn the game into a “blowout” after jumping off to a 28-6 margin, because, we’re always confident that some campers and counselors will hit their stride once they transition from home to the nurturing, warmth and fun that camp has to share with them. Just like the 49ers, they grow with confidence every moment, and make a mark for themselves as well as enriching everyone around them by summer’s end.
The unusual 35 minute power delay seems scripted from the 2011 Upper Senior Basketball Game when a spectator accidentally hit the light switch in the Social Hall and it took a little less time (only 20 minutes for us!) for the fixtures to power on. It reminds us of when an idea pops into our heads at camp, it’s like a lightbulb going on as we realize it’s time to begin an unsolicited act of kindness that makes everyone and everything around camp a little brighter.
Football, not withstanding, Beyonce’s half-time performance received great reviews, much welcomed after criticism of her recent lip-sync White House performance of the National Anthem. She was determined to show the world that she “lives for this” and brought authenticity, humanity, and warmth with her song-sisters, Destiny’s Child. Generations singing and cheering in the Blue Ridge Mess Hall realize the value of singing with camp sisters, a solo of many, enriches the passion, quality and depth of sisterhood.
We’re a camp of young and older, new and less new, so we were all certain that the 49ers rookie quarterback and his Ravens seasoned counterpart would lead with distinction and give us a “game for the ages”, just as we all make every camp season a “summer for the ages.”