Camp fires are an iconic part of any summer camp experience, and at Camp Quinebarge we love the coziness and community feel of the camp fire and how we can build so many traditions around them. In addition to our large fire pit at Piney Point, a beautiful spit of land with a 180 degree view of Lake Kanasatka, where our entire camp can gather and where the major traditions happen, we have smaller fire pits dotted around camp for cabin bonding and cooking.
Sunday night is for Piney Point. Those camp fires are special in how they bring the whole camp together for our welcome ceremony on the first night of each camp session and skits, songs, and s’mores on the second Sunday of the session. When parents ask their kids, “What happened at camp?,” they most likely hear about the “Drinking of the Turtle Blood,” a tradition from long ago in which during the welcome ceremony the campers drank a concoction of the director’s choice that we have reinstated, but in our case, the directors drink it. After piecing together alumni memories we think we have a close recipe – ketchup, worcestershire sauce, some cayenne, and a little bug juice (instant drink mix) to make it a tiny bit palatable. It is fun to see the campers’ eyes open wide as the director goes to drink from the QuineCup, and even more fun to see the director’s eyes upon drinking the brew. Hearing one hundred kids laugh after learning that it was just ketchup makes it the most fun. At the end of the camp fire, we get in our closing circle and sing our unique Friendship Circle Song and Taps, to remember the day.
Sunday afternoons we hold camp fires in the girls’ and boys’ areas, during which the campers and staff roast hot dogs and have a picnic lunch. Hanging out in the open air for lunch the campers feel more relaxed and get recharged after the long week of activities.
So far, it would seem that camp fires only happen on Sundays at Camp Quinebarge, but the story is not yet complete. There are other occasions in which smaller groups have campfires. Sometimes, the CITs have their evening time together at the fire pit built by the CIT group of 2017 and cabins can choose to spend a cabin night by having a camp fire. Still not every night? Each evening (that weather allows) a few cabins get to camp out at Monkeytown or in AFKAP (the Area Formerly Known as the Platforms) and have their own camp fire in the woods to plan as they wish.
The answer is, yes, camp fires can happen at Camp Quinebarge every night.