The week of June 9th will forever go down in the annals of Sum It Up history as the week when it rained for five straight days. Rainy days at camp, especially if they are on the first day (or the whole first week) of the summer season, are a test for everyone—parents, coaches, and campers alike.
Parents are distressed that their kids are going to have a crummy day, either because they’re wet and uncomfortable, or because they’re cooped up inside and possibly bored out of their minds. For parents of young players, they fear that the rain will be a big turn-off to lacrosse. In a way, parents have it the worst, because they can’t see what’s going on during the day, but they often assume the worst. As a camp director, I’ve learned the key to a successful “bad weather day” is to provide parents with clear communication about possible cancellations, credits, make-up dates, and schedule changes.
The coaches, in my experience, are the key to “saving” the day (or the week) by turning the dreary weather into a rainy day adventure for the kids. At Sum It Up, we tell the coaches that their body language and energy level sets the tone for the campers from the first moment of the day. If the coaches act depressed and gloomy at check-in, the children will follow their lead and quickly become mopey and whiney. If staff are enthusiastic and describe in detail that they love playing in the rain or a specific indoor game, the kids get fired up about their rainy day adventure.
Turns out that the campers had a ball despite not seeing the sun at Sum It Up for five straight days. In fact, some of our veteran campers told us it was their “favorite week ever.” On the girls’ side, the campers performed a massive Talent Show (“Frozen” was definitely the soundtrack of the 2014 summer!); did a host of relays; learned a lot of new ways to braid hair; and competed in team challenges from “coach trivia” to building and racing a homemade car.
The boys, who were at Tatlock Field in Summit, made cool Native American crafts in the locker room; created a homemade Slip and Slide on the grass; and learned why big boys don’t mind being dirty and (and a little smelly) when practicing skills and drills.
Note to self: don’t freak out next summer if the forecast calls for rain.