"Your best day wrapped in cotton candy dipped in sprinkles and rolled in sunshine with beer." - 2021 camper
Even though we did indeed skip the summer of 2020 (minus a virtual "Unglued Camp Rewind" for all past campers!!), bringing Camp back for the best weekend of the year did blow all our expectations out of that Big Cormorant water. And there was indeed sprinkles, cotton candy, sunshine, and BEER. And a giant swan floatie island.
So. Pause. If you are me reading this and are wondering how this magic happened during a continued pandemic here's the skinny. As our 2021 Camp weekends (yes plural - this was our 2nd year of 2 back-to-back camp weekends) inched closer, pandemics started once again growing higher. So while July of 2021 would have been crazy less complicated, by the end of August and Labor Day weekend things were started to ramp up in virusland again.
From the start of our Camp Lottery opening (lottery since straight up normal registration sells out in a minute and crashes websites), campers knew they'd be picking their Covid-safety choice of either being fully vaccinated, having a PCR test ahead of Camp, OR rapid test on site with us. Which, YES, we became a certified lab through the ND Lab and Dept of Health in MN, and YES, feel very proud of that lol.
But, of course, 2021 isn't any easier of a year, and so when things ramped up, we notified campers we'd also be highly recommending masks indoors, got fancy ass air purifiers for each cabin, and continued to have a hella flexible refund policy at any point someone wasn't feeling well, comfortable coming, or wasn't interested in following our super fun health guidelines. We also rearranged as much as humanly possible to be outdoors, rented and borrowed giant wedding tents, and prepped our amazing medics with updated Covid quarantining and isolation protocols we drafted up with ND's epidemiologist.
AND IT WORKED. 240 campers came through between the 2 weekends and crafted their asses off, danced their asses off, and health-safety their asses off. And we cried multiple times (like that omg-this-is-working-i-can't-believe-it-in-gratefulness) through it all with our crew because we felt so frickin' lucky (#blessed) to be able to create this camp world for 2 weekends. #feelings. Just a few extra details to manage ;). TMI? Well, thanks for indulging my bonus event planning details so we can appreciate this in 20 years. Pitter patter let's get at 'er!!
Alright, alright, alrighty, back to the beginning. And our annual photo dump of all the campy goodness to look back on when it's a windchill of -30. Camp kicked off with our high jumping, ass kicking CAMP CREW.
An absolutely crazy, hard working, creative, kick ass, giving-a-shit group of past campers who are everything from small business owners to therapists to librarians to bakers to bankers to just straight up awesome friends that drive the back end of the Camp experience - and the golf cart ;)
AND THEN CAME OUR CAMPERS!
Campers settled into their campy cabins and then came down to the Beach Patio Mixer complete with the tunes of vibe perfection with DJ Pretty Ricky from Fargo and the cocktail mastery of Langston Johnson - the Camp Bar Boss! We threw in some carnival games this year and some speed mingle time because Camp includes a mix of people with their upcoming bridal party besties and people coming completely solo from out of state. And combine that with our high level social anxiety scooped up from isolated pandemic times we all pretty much needed a moment to ring toss an inflatable swan, fish pond some candy, and throw a super sharp dart at a balloon filled with paint Princess Diaries-style. And cotton candy.
And since it's late summer, by the time Camp is ready to roll into Campfire Orientation time it's pitch black outside with is pitch perfect for the camp 4-1-1.
Which included fairy flowers, the ukelele tunes of Randi Kay serenading with the Rainbow Connection, and then inevitably giant sequin CAMP letters in lights on unicorns. Then our Missy Elliot tik tok dancing Camp emcees took over to give campers the skinny.
Followed by our sibling-emceed Camp favorite Camp Variety Show! This is the moment in time campers get to meet their cabins so they aren't sleeping with total strangers later that night and try their hand at winning ridiculous prizes...and enjoy other variety show varietals.
Things like finger painting a bear on a flamingo floaty, sing-a-longs (but only 1 because #screaminsideyourheart), Jon from Nature of the North maintaining our beautiful fire, and dance breaks. With a side of Camper Feud and minute-to-win-it chaos.
Then it was off to the most uncomfortable bunk bed you've ever slept in OR beachside patio trivia! Hosted by our amazing crew with SO.MANY.FACTS.