"Summer lovin had me a blast...summer lovin' happened so fast." Probably the most iconic words for Round Lake Camp 2009.
Yes, camp holds host to many summer romances making this song an appropriate soundtrack to the summer, but these lyrics signify more than just the summer night hook ups; our camp production was the legendary Grease musical. Unlucky for anyone that wasn't into 60s rock n roll, this soundtrack blasted on repeat day and night. We ate our breakfast whilst humming "You're the on that I Want" and we went to bed tapping the tune to "Grease Lightening."
Almost four years later, if I am shaking my stuff in a club and the DJ starts to run dry and play cheesy pop, and "Summer Lovin" comes blasting through the speakers, I'm taken back to my days rehearsing crazy routines in the sweltering summer heat and hand jiving the months away.
As dance specialist, it was my job to choreograph the dances and teach the kids just how to strut their stuff for the big performance. Myself, along with drama specialists busted a rib, literally, trying to get the production ready on time. Stress, chaos and exhaustion was the picture of we three girls. During rehearsals there was many a day the girls would turn to each other and said "na this isn't gonna happen" but after weeks of late night set building, bruised knees and sore throats the production all came together.
The hard work did pay off and contributed to a very proud and emotional moment (yes I cried like a baby.) To see these kids, that each struggle with their own different disabilities, overcoming them to perform your routines is overwhelming. For many of these kids managing to learn a script or a routine may seem impossible and the idea of standing in front of hundreds of people can be their worst nightmare. However, every child overcame their personal boundaries and performed an amazing and utterly unique performance of Grease.
The other children and counsellors gave a standing ovation and the demand for "one more song" meant a mini dance party on stage. Still a young and shy 18 year old, I was mortified at the idea of having to get up and accept my flowers but I did and it's a memory I won't forget. Even now I get shivers when I relive the moment. I had never felt so proud of myself for having helped these children be part of something special or as proud of my friends for doing the same and the kids for being so wonderful. This photo marks that moment for me; the finale of Grease with all my wonderful kids. That truly is what camp, especially Round Lake, is all about; everyone pushing themselves to their own limits, doing things you've never done before and having the time of your life.
Do I have to say anymore to recommend taking part in a Camp America Programme? No matter what your age, background or experience, camp can be life changing and the best fun you'll ever have. It has you doing things you never imagined with people you never knew existed. It opens up your mind in so many ways and stays with you for the rest of your life. Why do you think I kept going back? It is pure Summer Lovin'!