The Opening Number
After dinner, all the A-Campers were shuffled into Eagle for mysterious reasons.
Riese: Opening night has always been an umm… challenge. We’ve tried color wars games, icebreakers, chaotically organized meet-the-staff skits, impromptu Tegan & Sara covers and, usually, have had even our best plans (which were never THAT great) totally derailed by shuttle business and staff stuck on the side of the mountain.
Yvonne: After the first time I attended A-Camp (Oct. 2013), I gave Riese and the A-Camp directors a shit ton of feedback. (I just remember I wrote a lot on my survey!) One of the things I suggested was that I thought the opening ceremony needed to be more SPECTACULAR, because it’s the first thing campers experience at camp and sets the tone for the rest of camp. I said the opening ceremony should be like a pep rally! I think this year we totally nailed the opening ceremony. It was exactly how I had pictured it to be and more.
Riese: We had such amazing talent this time that we knew we could take it next-level. I gave my vision to Carly in a google doc and waited to see if she thought I was dumb, but she didn’t! She liked it! (Carly’s creative approval is really important to me.) Mostly she was surprised that I wanted a Taylor Swift song involved in opening night.
Ali: This was my favorite opening ceremony since the time when Robin and Marni parodied “Part of Your World” and I got to make a fisting joke? It was just so lovely.
Stef: This year, the AV Club sprung for all sorts of fancy lights, and they had this really inspired idea to have us come out and start our song in pitch darkness while they gradually lit up the stage.
Riese: Yes that was my terrible inspired idea! Next year you can make me write a post in the dark.
Stef: It sounded phenomenal in theory, but what actually happened was that we couldn’t see our instruments at all.
Marni: It was so dark at first.
Stef: Once the lights came up and we could see everyone’s faces, everything was perfect!
Whitney: I’ve listened so many times to the new Taylor Swift album “1989,” no shame! And I was thrilled to see Julia Nunes do “Blank Space” for the opening number with her ukulele and the Family Band. It was spectacular: Grace and Carly did a wonderful job with the sound and stage lighting. I was bopping around like I do singing along with Julia’s gay-ified version of Taylor Swift: “Girls only want love if it’s torture / Don’t say I didn’t / Say I didn’t warn ya.”
Mey: It was the perfect way to kick off the first night of camp.
Stef: OK, I have to admit something: several years ago, I saw this really cute video of a girl playing “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child on the ukulele and it was so well-done that it inspired me to pick up a ukulele of my own. Getting to play with Julia Nunes all those years later was pretty amazing, and I nerded out and told her as much. She was very cool about it.
Elicia: I’m glad that I always start off each camp so far with a burning desire to learn how to play an instrument and discover the existence of another Taylor Swift song I didn’t know was a thing.
Lizz R.: First of all I love Taylor Swift. Second of all I love Julia. Third of all I love when Julia sings Taylor Swift. So. And believe me, it’s hard to top the year Marni and Robin sang “Part of Your World”!
Dannielle: Julia is perfect in every way.
Riese: Djuan Trent had done a really cool YouTube dance video to 7/11 so that’s where we got the idea for the A-Camp Dance Crew to do 7/11 after “Blank Space.”
Kai: It was everything to be back with my top-shelf dance crew. You campers give us life up there. Your love makes us feel like maybe we can change the world by shaking our buttcheeks.
Stef: I will watch the A-Camp dance team all day every day, with my jaw on the floor.
Gigler: Djuan Trent put together a dope routine for 7/11 and getting to know her as we were learning this choreography to greet all of camp with was a trip. Our collective excitement and nerves united us in our determination to blow the lid off Eagle. Also Vega I really don’t know why you didn’t just learn the damn dance and join us, we felt you up there in spirit.
Carly: Heh. Felt you up. Heh. (sorry)
Alex: Gigler, next time, girl. I promise. You are so sweet!
Stef: Alex was practically jumping out of her skin trying to mimic all their moves.
Riese: Alex was being such a pageant Mom.
Gabby Trent, Kaylah, Kai and Gigler killing the 7/11 dance was one of my favorite parts of camp. If they were a 90s R&B group, I’d still be listening to their jams and watching their videos on The Box.
KaeLyn The stage directions and choreography and light design at the opening number far exceeded my expectations.
Riese: Then Dannielle introduced the whole staff to the whole camp!
Liz Castle, Contributor and Tower of Terror Counselor (4th A-Camp): I loved how Danielle yelled at everyone.
Chelsey: There was such a fun energy when everyone was being introduced. Taylor took a photo of a group of us during the opening number and my hands are clasped under my chin and I don’t think I have ever seen a photo of me looking so delighted. That is how the opening number made me feel.
Hansen: Oh gosh, ALL the confetti/glitter happened during the opening ceremony and it stayed there forever. It is probably still there.
Jenny: The Taylor Swift cover and the choreographed dance and Dannielle scream-troducing all the staff got everyone so amped and the energy in the air was just eeeeelectric by the time we got down to the campfire.
Then, all the A-Campers were escorted to the campfire in a strategic order for mysterious reasons.
Marni: The second part of the opening ceremony was the campfire and it was beautiful and amazing in all the ways.
Jenny: When we got down to the campfire MARNI AND ROBIN WERE IN BEAR SUITS, MY FUCKING FAVORITE!
Marni: Twice the bears, twice the fun amirite?
Dannielle: Marni and Robin need face punches for the fucking bear costumes.
Kristin: Jesus Christ the goddamn bear suits. At this point we didn’t REALLY know Robin or Marni super well, so I am going to put it down on record that I think this was the moment I knew we’d work for the rest of camp to become their BFFs.
Jenny: Then Riese gave a heart-cracking speech, and asked everyone to stand up according to how many camps they’d been to and scream into the darkness — when she got to first-timers I stood up and screamed my face off and lots of other people screamed too and it felt pretty massive and that was the first of the zillion times I got choked up at camp.
Hansen: Riese told us to close our eyes and I’m pretty into guided meditation, but I cheated and looked around because I’m a rebel and everyone was so quiet and still and it remains one of my favorite moments of the entire camp.
Dannielle: Riese’s words were god damn beautiful. TBH I was slightly overwhelmed how it went from like 30 people to 300 people, but I think that’s just because I have anxiety around people I don’t know and 300 people I don’t know is scary sometimes. So, the first part of opening night was hard HOWEVER, after Riese’s speech, I felt so at ease.
Liz: It helped all of us focus on why we came to camp in the first place and what a magical space it really is.
Jenny: Then I sang “With A Little Help From My Friends” with Julia, while dodging the campfire smoke monster, and everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
Riese: I got such chills when Jenny and Julia started playing. They sounded so beautiful together I think I cried?
Rachel: I cried.
Laneia: I definitely clapped my hands up around my chin and cried, yes.
Alex: I loved it so much that I told Jenny it ‘put me to sleep‘ which I cannot believe I honestly meant as a compliment but somehow I did and now Jenny is my friend thank god.
Kristin: Jenny and Julia sang songs under the stars to three hundred campers and Riese said the best words of all time while a campfire burned so like are we fucking serious, people? A-Camp could have ended after this one opening night ceremony and I’d still be a blubbering mess just thinking back on it.
Dannielle: Fucking amazing. So much fun and really set an incredible tone for the rest of camp.
Marni: ALSO we got to give all the counties their FLAGS for rainbow wars! The counties were Cherry, Pineapple, Avocado and Blueberry and each one had a beautiful flag designed by staff artist Cameron Glavin that was laser-cut out of ABS and then lovingly painted onto fabric by this bear right here and sewn by my helper-elf girlfriend. The campers also all got their bandanas at the campfire and it was so cool to look out on a sea of red, yellow, green and blue lit up by the glow of the cam.
Robin: I can’t tell you all how happy I was that we had performances for the opening ceremonies! It was so wonderful to showcase our amazing musical talent.
Carly: The opening ceremonies were these things that Riese invented in her brain, wrote down in a Google doc, then handed over to me. Thank you to all of our lovely staff for humoring me during this. Grace killed the lighting cues, Jenny and Julia were amazing, no one died walking to the campfire… I think it was a success! But please don’t make me do that again!
Riese: I think next time we’ll do something even more complicated! I can’t wait. Neither can Carly.
Then, all the A-Campers were sent to their cabins to participate in mysterious ceremonies.
Gabby: Trent and I were so excited to meet the Beehive in person. We had our first cabin meeting that night, even though everyone was hella tired. And I knew we were gonna have a great camp. The Beehive was all for cabin unity, processing feelings, and helping each other navigate intersectional/social justice-y politics and ideologies. DEEP. Mad deep and loving. Beyhive forever! We had our sister cabin meeting with the Firebirds in the dark with flashlights. Probs this is why the RED TEAM WON RAINBOW WARZ.
Mey: Heather and I were already really excited to be the Head Girls of the Hogwarts cabin, but we were even more excited when we met our campers. They were seriously so great. And a bunch of them actually had Harry Potter themed clothes! Our cabin initiation was so fun, we made wands and talked about the moral implications of using Veela hair and Fairy wings as wand cores and then met with our sister cabin Shark Week to assign Bigs and Littles.
Heather: Our initiation was awesome. I was a little nervous about asking grown-ups to do crafts, but these nerds made it even more fun that I had anticipated. They assembled their own wands out of different woods and wand cores (with a detailed info sheet about which kinds of cores and woods worked together and for which kinds of witches and wizards), and then we all shared why we chose our particular wands. I will love everyone in this cabin forever.
Stef: Taylor and I were thrilled to hang out with the Campires, who settled right in with the most incredibly organized liquor cabinet I’ve ever seen.
Chelsey: The Blackhearts/Runaways cabin initiations were so fun this time! I was super excited about how invested everyone got in my weird idea and I am just always blown away by how amazing everyone continues to be.
Riese: It was adorable.
Laneia: Ughhh fuck I love initiations so much! Our campers tend to react to us in a way similar to how you might look upon a gang of freed toddlers who were covered in syrup and carrying flames and speaking a third or fourth language that you definitely recognized but still couldn’t reconcile. I only wish initiations happened earlier in the evening so I could literally cover everyone in syrup.
Liz Castle: Brittani and I got super into cabin initiation this year and stole away each T.O.T. member individually for a super secret/creepy ritual. By the time I came back to grab our last camper she was hiding under the bed! My favorite part though was how the already-initiated campers made it so much more awesome by spooking their cabin mates just as they thought they were exiting initiation into safety. ONE OF US. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.
Nikki: I snuck into the Tower of Terror cabin before cabin initiation. By snuck, I mean they let me in the door and I just sat around talking to some of my favorite people. Honestly, I HAD NO IDEA what to do. I was in a staff cabin and all my cabin mates had their own cabins to be in charge of. SO, what is a critter to do who likes to bond with a group of people but is not part of their cabin? Join, I guess. When Torre tells you you can stay, YOU CAN STAY.
Brittani: I might not be great at decorating but I’m pretty good at culty secret society things because at this point, I am in three culty secret society things. So our cabin initiation was great. Through a very special ceremony, we attempted to keep all of our campers protected from lesbian drama. No word on if it worked.
Nikki: I would like to say, Brittani and Liz C. totally brought their A+ cabin initiation game. It was really creepy/suspenseful. THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME CRASH, I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
Kai: The Beach Cabin was tired and I was way too energetic for the day they just had, but I’d like to thank them for being THE BEST and tossing around our deflated beach balls anyway!
Kaylah: The Beach Cabin was the saltiest cabin in the land. There was so much snark from my cabin that I had to clutch my pearls on a few occasions…I loved it!
Rory: We initiated our amaaaazing Rodeo Disco crew with going round the circle, announcing our disco names and giving the campers My Lil Rodeo Disco Ponies each, that were reflective of their likeness and personality and favourite colours.
Whitney: I was so excited to meet all of the Star Runners, and it was amazing seeing all of them settle into the cabin and get to know each other. Our cabin initiation was both Ziggy Stardust face paints (lots of thunderbolts and stars) and a patch-pinning with our sibling cabin, The Outsiders, which is a cabin that consists of a lot of returning campers that Ali and I were counselors for. It was amazing seeing everyone, old and new, meet each other. I just want to tussle all of y’alls hair and hug you so hard.
Elicia: I was so stoked to meet my campers in Ghost Power. Tory brought everyone these awesome keychains and Rachel created a cool crossword activity for everyone to get to know each other better. Our bigs/littles ceremony was equally dorky and fun although I guess I’m not supposed to talk about it since those ceremonies are secret and sacred, but I will repeat it was dorky and fun and I appreciate everyone participating and taking it as “seriously” as possible. Also, I’m pretty sure this was the night I convinced people to play Kings in Wolf which is not only my favorite drinking game, but just like my favorite game, period. Last year I got some of the staff to play the first or second night, so all the disappointment I felt about failing to do that this year was eclipsed by the massive amounts of joy experienced in this one round of Kings with staff and campers. This also begin the trend of ending sentences to each other with ‘in my pants’ for the rest of camp which was never not funny.
Rachel: I was pretty proud of our big/little cabin bonding, which was definitely dorky and fun but also, I would argue, COOL AND MYSTERIOUS. I did not end up participating in this Kings game in Wolf, though, so I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to weigh in on that, ELICIA.
Lizz: Our cabin initiations were incredible. I can’t tell you anything, obviously, but you need to know that Cecelia is a witch. She is. It’s a good thing.
Meanwhile in the VIP Cabins…
Dannielle: Kristin chased a moth around the room for like 45 minutes.
Kristin: LOL I CAUGHT IT, TOO AND SAVED ITS LIFE EVERYONE IS WELCOME.
Stay tuned for the next Recamp, when we have our first full day of A-Camp!
A-Camp 7.0 will take place from May 29th-June 3rd in Angelus Oaks and registration will open at some point between January 29th-February 3rd, I’m still figuring it out and will let you know for sure in the last recamp!
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