By: Lauren Kasnett Nearpass
Lights are flashing, fans are cheering, team colors are seen all around, and camp spirit is at an all-time high… this can only mean one thing at camp. COLOR WAR has arrived!!! Basically the World Cup or the Super Bowl of the camp season, Color War is the cherry on top of the most amazing summer. During Color War, campers compete on different teams in activities all around camp – from basketball, boating, and soccer to trivia contests, rope burn, and apache relay. There is truly something for every camper and counselor during Color War and each team member is an important contributor to the team! And at the end, when Sing Night rolls around, there are more tears or laughs than on any other night of camp and everyone comes together as one, no matter if they win or lose. Every camp does color war in their own unique way, and we are here to give you the 411 on summer’s most hyped-up event!
This is what your child has been waiting for during the 10 months of the year. It’s a huge moment that involves the entire camp — you can feel the excitement buzzing in the air as breakout gets closer, and campers are always guessing what day, time, hour, and minute it will finally break. It’s always a surprise, there are always fake-outs, and it’s always the beginning of the best days of camp. Usually, camps have breakout in the last couple weeks of camp and Color War marks the beginning of the end: it’s sad but exciting and thrilling and is truly the pinnacle of the summer!
Here is where your camper’s artistic side truly comes out! Each team is usually given a theme that goes along with their color — Blue Hawaii vs. Red Alaska, White 70’s vs. Green 90’s, Yellow Winter vs. Gold Summer, — and the entire camp gets seriously decked out in costumes and accessories, face paint, and monochromatic clothing for their teams.
Right before Color War begins. there is a hatchet hidden somewhere…anywhere in all of camp. One of the all camp challenges is a mega scavenger hunt and race to find this needle in the haystack. There are clues presented as to the hatchets whereabouts and it brings out the detective in everyone. If you are the one to discover where the hatchet is hidden, your team will get a lot of points, and you will go down in Color War history as a legend!
Tug of War
Division by division, campers battle it out to see who has the strongest (physically, of course) Color War team. This classic camp game will never go out of style, and is a huge event. Tugging and tugging away to see who will break first, it’s the ultimate challenge. The energy is high, the cheering is loud, and everyone is using all of their might to P-U-L-L PULL the rope!
B-U-R-N buuuuurn the rope! Eight foot poles hold up a thick, seven-foot rope that has been soaking in water the whole day. The challenge: you have to build a fire that will burn and break the rope in half from the wood you have collected and just a few matches. At some camps the oldest campers compete in the event and others it’s the burliest/most outdoorsy counselors. It’s pretty spectacular as the whole camp intensely watches the fires build higher and higher!
An hour a day (maybe even more) for about four days straight, you practice two songs (a march, alma mater, and comic song) to perform on the last night of Color War. There are also other competitive elements to sing; each team has a skit, dance, and presentation of the team plaques, all of which are scored. This is by far the biggest night of Color War, as it is the activity worth a lot of points, and often determines who wins. It is also one of the most emotional nights of camp because the songs are about the love kids share over the summer and the friends they will be sad to leave. Kids of all ages belt their heart out and give it their all to win the night. It’s truly an amazing night to end an amazing competition that everyone will remember forever.
The best part of Color War is that it brings the whole camp together, even though there are competing teams. Campers are encouraged to be “neutral” in the bunk, so no talk of teams or Color War goes on in the bunk. Even though Color War brings out the fun and competitive nature of kids, it also teaches sportsmanship, leadership, and so many team skills that encourage them to be amazing team players. Campers are also are broken up into teams randomly, so they get to interact with new people that maybe aren’t their best friends, and form new friendships. Being named Color War General or Captain is an amazing honor, and really gives kids a chance to work for something that they believe in. Even Ralph Lauren said that one of his greatest life achievements was being named Color War General at his camp! Color War is the ultimate gathering of all things camp, and your children will come home singing their songs and cheers on repeat until you know them yourself!