Did camp really start just this morning? It doesn’t seem possible that all the activities we did happened in around 12 hours. As one camper said on the bus ride home, “It’s like we were here for a week. We just didn’t sleep.” I’m sure they’ll be sleeping hard tonight.
The day was jam-packed with normal Run Home Camp things. The boys arrived to cheering coaches and staff waving signs with their names on them. One benefit of only having a one-day camp this year was that a lot of people were able to help that normally wouldn’t be able to. We had relief coaches that normally come in the evenings experience a day for the first time, and a handful of new volunteers as well. Because of this, each camper got to have their own coach. It was awesome to be able to give the kids individual attention and encouragement.
It was a hot day, and we all felt it. After a great morning of baseball drills, the boys were wiped out. We had “relaxing rotations” after lunch, something I think the campers would normally be too hyped to care much about. They enjoyed playing card games, coloring, corn hole, and just spending some time in the shade. One kid said it was his favorite part of the day: “Coloring was what I needed.” Between the downtime and Taco Tuesday (on a Saturday), they were pumped and ready to go for the evening activities.
Even in just a day, we managed to pull a birthday celebration together. The boys got to break baseball pinatas and eat cupcakes and get presents. Because it was such a unique year, we had different gifts than normal. Instead of the typical birthday presents based on how many years they’ve been at camp, every boy got a Run Home Camp backpack. They also got their jerseys so they were all ready for the big red versus blue game.
Despite already going hard all day, the boys had a great game. There were really some sluggers at camp this year, with lots of great hits into the outfield. The last thing we do at camp is awards. Each coach says something about their camper and gives him a signed baseball. The boys also all go home with photos to remember the day by. Even this year, each camper got a framed photo of them and their coach as well as an action shot of them playing ball.
Most of the campers this year are graduating. It was hard to say goodbye to boys we’ve known for two, three, and four years. That was the only part of the day that seemed to go by too quickly – when everyone was trying to squeeze in last goodbyes, the campers having staff sign their hats and shirts. Many coaches spoke to how much they have seen their kids grow over the years, as baseball players and as people. Some kids and coaches have been paired up all four years, which makes it all the more special. It’s amazing to think about how far these boys have come and imagine how much further they’ll go in the next six years – because, of course, they all say they’re coming back to be coaches when they turn 18.
Even though camp was only a day this year, it felt like a week. I’m as tired as I am after a week, and have at least five days’ worth of funny stories and quotes from the boys. In a world that’s so unpredictable right now, I’m glad that we got to do anything this year. I think most of the campers and coaches feel the same way. Despite everything, camp happened this year, and it was amazing. That alone is something to be thankful about.