Countdown complete. The day was finally here!
There was a buzz of excitement in all directions. Everywhere you turned someone was talking about it... the special event they’ve been waiting for all summer.
At Skylemar, it’s bigger than any mayoral, gubernatorial or presidential one -- no electoral college and no party affiliation. It’s democracy as it should be. Just plain and simple -- vote for two young men in the Stars Division who will lead Skylemar in a positive way.
It’s Color War Elections 2022!
This year, 23 outstanding candidates on the ballot, every one fully qualified for this leadership position. It’s the job many have dreamt about since being in Bunk 1. Each had hope that maybe, just maybe, he’d be selected by the camper community to be the 147th or 148th Captain of Camp Skylemar.
To ease the tension, Sky II and the JC’s had their annual Lobster Lunch at The Lodge. It’s a happy, relaxed afternoon, that serves to remind the guys of the special bond of friendship they have together.
At 8 PM, the official time had come. We gathered in the Rec Hall, with those on The Ballot sitting on the stage. Each proudly wore his jersey of choice, selected especially for this evening.
Shep welcomed all to one of Skylemar’s oldest and favorite traditions. For Skylemar’s Color War, it is important that the participants are the ones to decide who will lead them.
Shep continued to explain that Color War is unique from any highly competitive experience that the boys will have throughout their lives -- and that's because they will compete with and against those who they truly care for, including the “brothers” they've been living with....
Therefore, everything competitive in Color War happens outside of the bunk and away from the picnic tables. It’s fine for you to play your hardest and want to win, but no one needs to overreact. Of course it’s fine to react when you win or lose, but you don’t want to overreact. Where’s the dividing line on that? That's when your reaction affects someone else.
The spirit of Red and Gray comes down to fair play, friendship and kindness.
Once elected, the Captains will draft the teams. Brothers and good friends may be on opposite teams. It’s possible that within one cabin, there might be five guys on one team and only one on the other. That’s what makes Color War so competitive, fun and fair – the adults have nothing to do with who’s on which team.
Shep then asked for any former Color War Captains present to please stand. Two staff members, Dixon and Blake rose to their feet and were recognized with applause.
“Now," Shep went on, “will all those who were on The Ballot but not elected, please stand?" It’was quite a powerful moment when dozens around the room stood. Point is, each year there’s a field of outstanding choices, while only two can be elected.
Turning to the great guys on the stage, Shep proclaimed -- “Camp Skylemar, these are your candidates for Color War 2022!”
To begin the process, the Stars casted their secret ballots, then headed off to the seclusion of the Garden Cabin while the rest of camp continued. Each camper wrote the names of two Stars Division candidates on the official voting paper. The paper was then folded once and put into the ceremonial pickle pail.
To be elected, a Star needed one more than half of the constituency. This year’s “magic number” was 113. One by one, Shep read off each name who received a vote. When one got to 100, the room heated up. Closer, closer, closer…5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and --
Jack Perlman was the first elected Captain! The boys jumped up and down, cheering wildly as they mobbed him at the door!
The crowd subsided, and the tallies continued for the second Captain until he closed in -- again, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
Grant Nilsen was elected next and he too was engulfed with hugs and high fives from all over as he reentered the Rec Hall as our 2nd Color War Captain.
Jack and Grant each gave a quick acceptance speech, and then the coin was flipped for color selection. Grant won the toss and chose Gray, so Jack became Red. The coin toss for selecting the 4 Stars Lieutenants was next, and Jack won this one, choosing to select 1st and 4th -- and with the first pick selected Bosco to help lead the Red. Grant selecting 2nd and 3rd, chose Soren and Hunter for Gray before Jack then selected Joey to complete the process.
What a night! Two excellent choices were made by the campers of Skylemar. The excitement has just begun!