Are You ready for the Summer? - Color War

Almost every camp has the tradition of color war. Color war is the culmination of a summer's worth of athletic skill and competition. Color war usually breaks the camp down into two teams that are assigned the colors of the camp. At the camp I attended it was blue and gray.

Lots of camps started in the early 1900's and were run like para military outfits. Campers were assigned to units led by a counselor. Calisthenics and a physical training regimen were part of the program. Sometimes marching or drills were included. Regular sports such as basketball, baseball, and swimming were worked in as well. As the summer wore on smaller units would compete with each other. At the end of the summer the color war provided the ultimate in competition. It also provided an opportunity to show the campers that they could work together cooperatively.

At our camp the colors blue and gray were not choosen accidently. They were chosen to model the colors of the American Civil War. The civil war could be said to emulate the spirit of two teams choosen within one large group.

Color war at our camp was kept completely secret by the judges. They met, chose the teams knowing the skills that each camper possessed and how they could contribute to their team. Even the date and the manner in which color war was suppose to "break" was kept in secret. Usually one knew it was going to start during the last week of camp.

I remember the judges had placed a trash bag on top of the flag pole with the papers showing the teams inside. When the trash can was finally pried off the flag pole the papers fell out revealing the "break" of color war. Another time the camp directors hired and plane and chose a counselor to throw lunch bags full of color war information to bombard the athletic fields. Each bad had a tennis ball in it to give it some weight and accuracy for the bombardier.
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