There may no activity that better sums up Camp Erin Pittsburgh than “Pick a Side.” Campers collect in the middle of a field, and are asked a question, such as, “Which ice cream flavor is better, chocolate or vanilla?” All the chocolate ice cream fans run to one part of the field, while the vanilla fans run to the opposite side.
As the activity progresses, the questions veer to the serious, and begin addressing the reason the campers are there in the first place. “Was it a friend or a family member who passed away?” “Are you feeling angry or sad about your loss?” “Do you like to talk about the person you lost?” The point, we come to learn, is that as alone as they may feel in their grief, there are others going through the same thoughts, feelings and emotions. Through “Pick a Side,” a camper literally looks to his/her immediate left and knows they aren’t alone – and that’s a powerful realization. (Read more for photos and video)
The theme for Camp this year was “Talkin’ ‘Bout Tuff Stuff,” which emphasized the importance of honest conversation – and outlawed the use of cell phones for the 83 campers and 87 volunteers! Here are a few fun facts/notes from Camp Erin Pittsburgh 2016:
– Thanks to perfect weather and great chemistry between campers, several longtime volunteers and staff members said this was the best year of Camp they can remember.
– One highlight of the weekend was making the luminaries. Longtime volunteer and stained glass artist Jim Afflerbach donated a bunch of stained glass, which the campers incorporated into their luminaries.
– A group of teenage campers counted their steps and determined that they walked approximately 10 miles in one day.
– There were several volunteers who were once campers at Camp Erin Pittsburgh. One volunteer was a transplant from Camp Erin Cleveland.
– Two of the staff’s favorite comments from the camper survey taken at the end of the weekend were in response to the question “What did you learn at camp that you didn’t know before?” The responses: “I can swim in nine feet of water!” and “The big mosquitoes don’t bite.” We’re not sure about the accuracy of that last one, but it definitely made us smile!
Click the photos below to enlarge, and feel free to leave a comment! For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering next season or know someone who might want to be a camper, please visit www.camperinpittsburgh.org. Special thanks to our volunteer videographer Brooke Rhodaberger!
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