EMBERS CAMPFIRES – A TIME TO CONNECT

Late in the spring, as the snow melts and the ground begins to thaw, we begin thinking about where to place our ‘Embers’ sites. At Camp Granite Lake, each cabin has their own small campfire circle that serves as an extension of their cabin. It’s a place to meet, talk, and once a week, have an Embers Ceremony. Preparation for an Embers Ceremony starts early in the day. Firewood and water are placed at each site, activities are chosen, the Big Hall is prepped, and lastly, red lanterns, each symbolizing a cabin, are lit and placed on the mantel above the fireplace. After dinner, as campers quietly enter the Big Hall, the sound of guitar fills the room. Campers find their seats as everyone joins in the beginning lines of ‘I Love The Mountains’, followed by CGL favorites ‘Heart of Gold’ and the song we sing each evening, ‘Lean on Me’. Songs are followed by a story and an introduction of the evening’s activity. As campers leave the hall and head to their campfire circles, they grab their lantern to light their way. On a beautiful summer evening, high in the Rockies, campers enjoy being outside around their campfire, talking and connecting with their cabin mates and counselors.

KEYLOG CEREMONY – END EACH WEEK RECOGNIZING FRIENDSHIP AND COMMUNITY

Friday evenings are a time to reflect on the new friends made, the great activities learned, and the camp community we have built. ‘Organized Free Time’ ends a little early, giving campers and staff the chance to return to their cabins and put on some nice clothes for our Friday night dinner and Keylog Ceremony. Our chef, Justin, and his crew have been hard at work preparing a delicious meal, and decorating the Dining Hall. Campers are greeted by a menu reading: ‘Welcome to Fancy Friday’! Everyone stands and listens as Tommy reads a quote to begin our meal, and as he finishes, ‘hoppers’ begin going to the kitchen and bringing the food to their table. Everyone waits patiently for all the food to arrive, and together, we share a delicious meal! We take time to thank our cooks and kitchen staff before we head down to the Amphitheater for our Keylog ceremony. The fire is already crackling as everyone approaches quietly. Camper designed programs are handed out, and campers and counselors bask in the beauty of the Colorado evening, and in the warmth of both the fire and each others company. We begin with songs and quotes matched to the theme of the evening, before Tommy approaches the fire and introduces the ‘Keylog Ceremony’. Each camper is invited to place a ‘keylog’ into the fire, and publicly recognize someone who has played a ‘key’ role in their life, whether they are at camp or not. The phrase beings ‘I place this key log into the fire for…’. And so it goes, until everyone who wants to speak has had the opportunity. We conclude the evening, as we do every evening, with our friendship circle and the singing of ‘Lean on Me’. At Camp Granite Lake we believe in the power of public, personal recognition. We encourage campers to take the spirit, energy and community of camp back to their lives at home and school.

Our son is always the best, most mature, and happy version of himself after he has been at camp!

- Amy, mother of camper Leo