By Shelly Jansen
The excitement of many campers arrives to Minnesota Farmers Union Leadership Camp around 3 p.m. Kids with varying levels of camp experience come flocking in. Some first time campers wearily say goodbye to their parents for their first week away, while the seasoned campers barely say goodbye to their parents before running off to the camp friends that they have waited a whole year to see again.
Once the excitement wears down, as much as it can, it is still day one of camp, campers get sorted into their family groups for the week. Each group is led by one of the counselors. During their first meeting of the week, campers play cooperation games. All games test campers’ abilities to work together, think creatively and have fun!
Campers then continue the fun at the flagpole for some songs, quotes and flag lowering. This is one camp tradition that will live on forever.
After flag lowering, campers head into the dining hall for some much needed supper. Next campers get ready for the Theme Night. Day one campers bring it back in time and dress retro for the night. We see campers in outfits from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The counselors vote on best dressed. They choose based on creativity, originality and effort. The three best outfits get a photo and a special shout out in the 2018 camp memory book.
As soon as the winners are chosen, campers race to get ready for our beloved game of Bonkers. A game in which there are many stations and campers need to find these hidden stations in order to win. However, this seems too easy. As campers are racing to find these stations, they have 2 counselors, or shall I say Bonkers, who have socks full of flour. Campers must avoid these socks at all costs. If a camper does get hit by a sock they are frozen until another counselor, or medic, comes to their rescue. Every minute they are out of the game is another minute of their opponents to get ahead. Being a winner at Bonkers is like becoming a camp legend.
Once the Legend of Bonkers for the year is born, campers head into the dining hall for a dance and snack. Campers have a short dance for day one and then go to campfire.
Campfire is one of the most magical parts of camp. Under a beautiful night sky with a fire crackling, campers get to enjoy an improv skit, or two if they are lucky, performed by their counselors. Campers also sing along to one of the many camp favorite songs. Ending the night campers sing along to Vive La Compagnie.
Campers head off to their dorms or cabins for the rules. Campers have sometime to gather themselves for bed and they are snoozing before they know it, dreaming of what day two at camp will bring.