For most, it was a typical day with some extra excitement in the air. 67 little guys swam across the lake (with 32 staff members) at 6:30 in the morning. Cubs and Tigers had their Tennis Tournament. The Juniors took a trip to the Maine Wildlife Park and the cast of “Willy Wonka” was busy in rehearsal. Activities included League Hockey and Softball, Waterfront, Archery, Lax, Hoops, Golf and the High Ropes Course. The lucky ones got our most popular period…Sky Deck. That’s when you go to Adam’s studio kitchen to learn culinary skills and make your own special meal.
On the other hand, it wasn’t exactly business as usual for the fifteen-year-olds of the Stars Division. For them it was one of the most important days of their lives.
Already a close group, the thirty Stars seemed extra tight on this special day. They had Porchtime with Shep, Golf, Gaga and Lax. Lunch was the traditional Sky II Lobster Feast, just for Bunks 25 and up. It was a really happy time, with the topic of conversation being the big, huge, gigantic night ahead.
We’ve been counting down the days for over a week. Everyone’s eager and excited and it would be tough for the Stars to not have just a touch of “the butterflies”. After all, it’s the biggest night of the year…
IT’S COLOR WAR ELECTIONS 2021!
The entire camp gathered in our favorite building, The Rec Hall. Once all were seated in assigned areas, the 30 Stars entered to a standing ovation. Color War Elections have been a Skylemar tradition for over 70 years. This year’s ballot was larger than we can ever remember, and each young man would truly be an outstanding Captain. Every camper votes for two who they believe will lead Skylemar in a positive way.
This is democracy as it should be. No political ads, fundraising or empty campaign promises. A field of quality choices. Every secret vote counts equally, and the simple majority wins. Tonight’s “magic number” was 113, representing one more than half of this year's total eligible Color War participants.
Shep introduced each on the ballot, dressed as tradition dictates in their favorite jersey. He explained how the spirit of Skylemar’s Color War is based on fair play and kindness. Those participating are in a unique situation that isn’t found in other competitions… we care about our opponents. We live and eat with them; they are our best friends, and we care about their feelings. Accordingly, it’s alright to want to win, but we must remember that people who we care about are on the other team.
We should play hard and strive to be our best. But when the game’s over, it’s over. We must be mindful not to ruin someone else’s fun by over-reacting when we win or lose.
Shep explained that once the Captains are elected, they will be drafting the teams themselves, one camper, one Division at a time. This means that brothers may be on opposite teams, and you could end up with five bunkmates on one team and one bunkmate on the other. This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how cool it is to care.
He then asked all the former Captains to stand. Four do so, and the crowd cheered. Then he asked for those who were on the ballot when they were 15 but did not win, to stand. A large group rose to their feet, and they received a standing ovation. Point is, only two people out of 30 will have the title “Captain”. The most important and valuable young men will be the 28 others.
The Stars cast their secret ballots and left the room. After each camper voted, they put their paper ballot in the ceremonial pickle jar. Shep then read each aloud, one by one, and George kept the tally.
When one candidate got to 103, the countdown began. 10-9-8 they screamed... the excitement grew wildly! 4-3-2... and when Aiden Froh got to 113, he became our first elected winner and was mobbed at the door as he entered the Rec Hall. Moments later, after Shep read just a few more votes, Cooper Ray hit the number as well and became our second Captain - receiving the same supportive Rec Hall welcome!
After both Captains made their brief acceptance speeches, the coin flip for choice of color was the first official business to be taken care of. Cooper won and selected Red, so Aiden is Gray. Next coin flip was for selecting the 4 Stars Division Lieutenants who will help the Captains lead their teams - the choice being first and fourth picks or second and third. Aiden won this coin toss and chose the latter.
Aiden’s Gray Team will be led by Stars Lieutenants Reece Bello and Noah Villalona while Cooper chose Logan Butler and Dylan Markulics to help lead his Mighty Red Team.
Shep then proclaimed, “Camp Skylemar, these are your chosen leaders for Color War 2021!”