By Alison Sargent, Camp Counselor
Saturday was the big day, and it was even bigger and better than I could have imagined.
I think all of the counselors were feeling bittersweet as we went outside to greet our campers for the last time. I was surprised at how attached I had become to this group of kids after just one week. After spending all day with them, sharing stories and snacks, learning, goofing off, and witnessing their progress, it was sad that it was our last time following this same routine as a group.
The excitement was palpable as everyone warmed up and did last minute run-throughs of acts and group numbers. But the closer we got to show time the more and more nervous kids became. Waiting backstage, the kids were completely jittery as they peeked out at the audience, exclaiming over the crowd of about 150 friends, fans and family members.
This was actually my favorite part of the day; not the show itself, but the few minutes before, when all of the kids were high-fiving, whispering good luck, and squeezing each other’s hands.
The show itself was nothing short of amazing. The kids were clearly learning firsthand the difference that comes when performing in front of an audience. Tricks that had been shaky during the final rehearsal went flawlessly, and kids that had been too shy to really smile during rehearsals were beaming. The kids were proud of themselves, and we were all really proud of them.
There was also the added excitement of finally getting to meet Linda, the grouchy security guard who ushered the children on and off the stage with her gruff voice. As much as they enjoyed Linda, the kids were happy at the end of the show when Linda morphed back into Doloreze to wrap the kids in one last group hug. The kids also got a chance to show their affection for Sergiy, as they whooped and cheered him through his juggling act, while the audience watched in awe.
Once the final notes of the camp song faded from the tent, the room exploded in a hubbub of congratulations, goodbye hugs, promises for next year, and frantic searches for misplaced juggling balls. It took at least a half hour for everyone to meet each other’s guests, buy practice supplies, pick up questionnaires, eat the extra muffins, and say their final goodbyes.
Now, a full day later I still have the camp song stuck in my head. And even when that goes away, I’ll still have enough memories from just one week to last me until next year. Summer Camp Zinzanni is definitely the place I’ll want to be, champ.