The Mason Olympics are back for 2023! They are a staple of Session 2 of Summer Camp. They take place on the first Friday and Saturday of the session. It’s an event that divides camp into ten different countries, led by coaches and an ambassador. Campers experience culture sharing, team work and activities that challenge the mind, body and spirit.
On the first day, teams (countries) create cheers, design banners, learn about their country and create a skit or song to perform at the Opening Ceremony. Each team member gets a custom country t-shirt to wear during Day 2. Day 2 of the Mason Olympics involves battling other countries in events like tug of war, country trivia among other action-packed games around camp.
The day wraps up with a closing ceremony, where we find out which country wins the coveted Hercules and Spirit awards. To earn the Hercules award, a country must win as many events are possible, while keeping good sportsmanship and teamwork in mind. The Spirit Award goes to the country that demonstrates positivity, originality, and keeps up an enthusiastic energy throughout the day.
Join us this summer for the Mason Olympics filled with energy, spirit, and fun! Session 2 runs from July 9 – 22, 2023. You can register for this Session 2 at Camp Mason here.
For Session 4 of Summer Camp 2017 we are off on a Mason Vacation! The day will take us on a wild adventure to a secret location somewhere on the planet. It’s hard to pack for a vacation when you don’t know the destination but we assure you’ll have everything you need to have an amazing time.
Last year we landed on Fiji and the year before that we stopped off in Hawaii but it wasn’t all straight forward. We had challenges to overcome, packing to do and journeys to take before we arrived. Once we made it to our destinations we had a great time surfing at the pool, eating ice cream and making our own nice, cold mocktails! Get ready to come on an adventure with us to another exciting destination with all kinds of games and activities to try along the way!
At Camp Mason we build strong family values in our community and summer programs so taking a vacation during our last session wraps up the season nicely. It’s a day filled with lively and relaxing activities to have fun and strengthen our family-like bonds with all our staff and campers.
Join us Session 4 for our Mason Vacation theme day from August 6 – August 19 by clicking here to register.
The Mason Olympics is our Session 2 theme day. It is a two-day event filled with culture sharing, team work, and activities challenging the mind, body, and spirit. The entirety of camp is divided into ten teams, or countries, led by two coaches and an ambassador.
Day one of the Mason Olympics focuses on the togetherness and creativity of your country. At this time your country will create cheers, design banners, learn about their country and prepare an act for opening ceremony held that night. Also, each participant receives a Mason Olympic t-shirt designed with their country’s custom marking.
Day two kicks off with games and events and carries on into the afternoon. Countries battle it out in events such as the tug of war, the triathlon, culture trivia plus a whole lot of original games. In the evening we have closing ceremony which consists of a final act from each country followed by the awards.
The goal of this theme day is to win one of the coveted awards, the Hercules Award or the Spirit award. To obtain the Hercules Award a country must win as many events as possible with keeping in mind good sportsmanship and teamwork. To obtain the Spirit Award a country should demonstrate positive, enthusiastic energy, inclusiveness, and originality.
Join us for The Mason Olympics for an incredibly energetic and fun-filled two-day event! Session 2 runs from July 9th – July 22nd. You can register for this Session 2 at Camp Mason here.
It feels like just yesterday that welcomed our first campers of the season and yet I can’t seem to find the counselors, I haven’t heard the hand stomp lately and no one has showed up for flag raising for weeks! It can only mean one thing: Summer Camp 2016 is over. While it’s hard to believe that another summer at Camp Mason has been and gone there is no shortage of memories to keep it alive for a whole lot longer yet! This year was my fourth summer at Camp Mason and genuinely the best one so far. Each and every summer the community at camp continues to amaze me with their compassion, care and downright silliness! To help me to overcome the post-summer camp blues I’d like to share a few of my favorite moments from this year.
As a part of our Masonstock Theme Day, the whole camp held a march on the camp office to protest all manner of major camp issues including sloppy joes, getting that bell outside the dining hall to ring and of course, more time to spend with my dog, Buseok. Some protesters had set up tents, the security team had sirens and a hose to cool down the masses, and everyone came dressed for the occasion. It doesn’t get funnier than watching our CEO, Keith, all dressed up for a day at the office try to calm down the crowd and move them on. It was a great start to the weekend!
Anything at Day Camp
Every time I strolled down to the Day Camp area I was instantly entertained. If you are ever in need of a pick-me-up then our fabulous day campers are the people to help you out. From getting messy to playing creative games, singing songs to pulling faces – Day Camp does it with the most enthusiasm and energy they can. This year the day camp staff went all out for their theme days and every Friday morning I looked forward to seeing their costumes and characters as I strolled over to flag raising. They can slip and slide like nobody else (it’s an art form) and most importantly, they make a mean rice krispie treat and are always willing to share!
Algonquin Iron Chef
Sunday Funday will never be the same after witnessing (and smelling) this Algonquin afternoon activity. I’ve seen iron chef activities before but this one was like no other. The rules might sound familiar; each cabin was given a set of ingredients and a time limit to make a meal. In a regular iron chef activity the teams would then present their creation to the judges who would choose the tastiest one but here’s the twist for this game: the campers had a foul array of ingredients and the challenge instead was to see which counselors could handle the taste test. The campers had a riot coming up with combinations that would freak the counselors out and watching them try their handiwork. Sure enough, in good Camp Mason style the counselors were troopers who tried them all and had a hilarious time doing so. They are much braver than me!
It was not easy to pick just three highlights to share. There were so many I could continue listing great moments from this summer for days! Thank you to all of the campers, families and staff that made summer 2016 unforgettable. It would not have been the same without each and every one of you. I hope you all have fantastic memories to keep you going until next summer when we’ll be doing it all over again at Camp Mason. See you in 2017!
By Hayley Harrington, Summer Camp Apache Cabin Counselor
Summer camp staff have one of the hardest jobs in the world: making sure that every parent’s most prized creation has an amazing time away from home. Our jobs get even harder when we have to reset every two weeks and recreate the magic for a new group of campers. The impossible task seems to be giving session four a session one; we have already spent at least seven weeks preparing for this group of campers. New staff have more confidence, and returning staff have fallen back into the rhythm that makes camp run smoothly. We work tirelessly around the clock, and exhaustion begins to set in. How do we continue to keep the energy up when all we want to do is take naps? How do we continue to create magic every single day of the summer?
We find a new kind of energy. This sort is seldom found anywhere else in the world other than summer camp. Our energy comes from nothing other than the love of campers. There is nothing more powerful than the unconditional love of children, because for two or four or more weeks, we become the biggest influences in their lives. The collateral exhaustion that comes with our jobs is nothing in comparison to the gratitude received when a child comes to you and thanks you for learning a new skill. When we reflect on our days during cabin chat, there is nothing more powerful than hearing that the best part of a camper’s day was an activity we led or a time we went out of our ways to make a child happy. When we say “the campers come first”, we are not saying it because we do not want to put ourselves first, but because we, as staff, have that new kind of energy. We love what we do because we love our campers more than anything. Regardless of when in the summer our children arrive, we want to show them the world.
If you know any of us personally or have ever read any of our blog or social media posts the chances are you’ve probably heard the staff here at Camp Mason talk about the benefits of camp. We really do believe that a camp experience can have a powerful, positive impact for children and young people (and we can’t stop going on about it)! We can say this because we see the impact every day around camp and we even feel it’s effect on ourselves. But what is it that we see? What is it that makes us so sure of the value of camp?
I can’t speak for all of us but I can share a recent moment when I felt a big, old dose of camp magic that screamed volumes to me about the positive impacts children experience at Camp Mason. This past summer was a blast and that makes it a pleasure to travel back in time all the way to the second Wednesday in Session 2A.
As I made my usual afternoon round of camp I quite literally stumbled on the Making the Movie activity group. They were crouched down in the undergrowth, speaking only in excited whispers and focusing so hard on their project that they hardly noticed me arrive. It turns out I had showed up at just the right time and was quickly told to get down and quiet down. The campers and activity leaders were in the middle of filming a nature documentary about the wildest of all beasts; Camp Mason counselors. If we made too much noise we would disturb the staff in their natural habitat and draw attention to ourselves. I was told this would not only ruin the documentary but that it could be dangerous. From a safe distance we watched the archery counselor run the range until the last arrows were fired and then we made our move. He spotted us and we had no choice but to retreat, and retreat fast.
After we’d reached safety I went on my way continued to walk through the woods visiting archery, riflery and high ropes. I couldn’t stop thinking about the five minutes I’d spent with our camper film makers. The Making the Movie is an elective for campers and while this group only got together on Monday, by Wednesday they were already as thick as thieves. Each camper was an important part of that group and was equally involved in the acting, filming and directing process. Their idea showed a ton of creativity and everyone was perfectly in character. This group was full of confidence and appeared to be enjoying working together to complete their project. This group was having fun together!
The few moments that I was a part of that group I felt included, important and happy, not to mention entirely convinced that watching the staff was akin to being on a safari. That’s what camp does. That’s when I know for sure that camp positively impacts children and young people. That’s why I harp on and on about how great camp is. And this was just one moment with one group during one afternoon in one summer. There are so many more wonderful moments like this at camp. Children develop invaluable life skills all while enjoying what they’re doing. Camp does this. Just ask any of us! We’d be happy to tell you, and then tell you again and then again and again…
I’d like to thank our tireless media team for their hard work and dedication in running, leading and editing the Making the Movie activity. In case you wanted to see the finished documentary (and you do, it’s hilarious) check out the video below. It’s the best 3 minutes you’ll spend all day!
For one night every two weeks, each cabin group adventures out into the woods with their sleeping bags and food in hand to spend a night in the great outdoors. As a camp counselor, I loved nothing more than putting my backpack on and leading my campers along the trail knowing that soon we would be cooking over an open fire, telling stories, and finally falling asleep under the stars. Today as a Summer Camp Program Director, my most cherished moments are welcoming cabins back to camp after an overnight. I delight in hearing campers’ stories of their experiences, the challenges they overcame and most of all, their excitement and pride about the adventure they had. The power of this traditional summer camp activity should not be underestimated. Perhaps spending a night outdoors is something we should all do more often.
Reconnect: Getting away from the grips of technology and getting outside, even for one night, can make all the difference. Campers and staff share stories of becoming closer over the course of an overnight. Taking the time to talk, share and listen to one another without the usual distractions helps groups connect and bond tightly together. That these meaningful interactions take place in beautiful, natural surroundings serves to make them even more powerful.
Marvel: Campers often tell me about the deer they saw or the sound of a babbling creek that they fell asleep listening to. Think back to the first time you saw a frog, bird or other critter. Try to remember the excitement and intrigue you felt. If the kind of feeling I’m talking about could be bottled up, it would be labeled wonder. Spending more time outside in nature creates opportunities for us to rediscover our sense of wonder. We are lucky to live in a world with such beauty.
Accomplish: For an overnight to be a success groups need to work together to carry supplies, collect firewood, clear out a sleeping area, build a fire and cook meals. Teamwork is paramount and achieving your group goal is a fantastic feeling. For many campers and staff spending the night in the woods without electricity and other comforts is an enormous achievement. I cannot begin to count the number of campers whose overnight experience has given them the courage to try other new things.
Where will you go on your next outdoor adventure? What will you discover?
This post was originally written for the Y’s “This Week in Young Leaders” blog. You can see it by clicking on the link below.