There is one major similarity between every week, and even every year, at Fanari Camp. That similarity is that we all grow closer together and to God through our Wednesday activities. Something special always seems to “click” after Wednesday. Cabins are closer than they were when the week started and you can feel the love of God, the Agape, resounding between each and every person here at Fanari Camp.
The staff has noticed this major shift the past few years and have been attempting to help this feeling occur earlier in the week through our awesome new “Omada” (Team) session. This session is a great opportunity for campers to grow as a team within their cabin, through activities such as flag making, creating a cabin handshake, getting the cabin across our giant “spider web”, and many more. While I do feel that these activities are having a wonderful impact on our campers, there is just something special about Wednesdays here.
Maybe it is the Olympics. On Wednesday night, the entire camp went up to the tennis (basketball) courts to compete in the Fanari Olympic Games, decked out in blackout, whiteout, USA, and Greek colors. These games are the ultimate team-building activity here at Fanari Camp and every camper, counselor, and even staff members get so hyped up for them. There are different relay races and games of chance where each cabin is cheering on their teammates and supporting each other in victory and defeat. This year, the championship came down to the final game: balloon tag. In this game, ten boys and ten girls from each cabin tie a balloon around their ankle and hop on one foot trying to pop other campers’ balloons. This week, it came down to the wire. Four Delphian campers had an Olympian cornered, but the Olympian somehow pulled off the win for this game and what turned out to be for the whole of the Olympics! Regardless of what cabin wins, each and every camper seems truly happy and excited. This leads to my next thought of why the camp becomes so close after the games.
Normally, when you lose a competition, there is disappointment and even sometimes anger. Not here. I believe that this is because of what we do earlier in the day. During Orthodox Life (OL), campers are given the opportunity to experience the sacrament of confession. This is what I believe truly brings the camp together, not team building or competition alone. After so many of our campers have gone through this beautiful sacrament, they are wiped clean of sin and anything that has been weighing them down. Their souls become “white as snow” and they can truly grow closer together through Christ.
Wednesday is also important because it marks the halfway point of our journey. Tomorrow (today as I am writing this) is our picnic day, which always goes by like *this*, then we have our last full day, and finally close out camp with Liturgy and communion.
– Gray Kafkes
Gray is a Spartan counselor for this week and will be here for all four weeks this summer. He has been counseling at Fanari Camp since 2015.