Capture the Flag is a venerable Camp Leelanau summer tradition: tough, aerobic, strategic, tactical, and metaphysically challenging. This version of the classic, however, was not in the gorgeous summer that captivates one’s camp memories– sunny, and mild. This winter version in 18” snow drifts, at fairly steady 8+degrees, and really, really dark – before sunrise and after star-rise on the 21st of January.
To camper-alumni, the invitation from Weldon Rutledge, Camp Leelanau Director, was one that could not be ignored, a Christmas gift that could not be ignored. Some 26 Camp Leelanau alumni signed on; most arrived at Camp on Friday, January 20. The big game began with a wake-up cannon shot at 5:00 am, literally shaking the Orion bunkhouse; teams flooded out the door and hoofed it to their sites. The Green and the Sand teams built their jails in the crisp pre-dawn air, and raids began at 6 am.
Before and after flag play, cozy fireside chats in the Great House were, in every respect, the Gold Standard for (1) warmth, (2), reminiscences and (3) readings in the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, including a full reading of the lesson (Truth) between the morning and afternoon games. This spiritual grounding was the glue that helped define sportsmanship, energy, and focus in the Christian Science way to all the players. Weldon clearly marked the spiritual and metaphysical landscape of the game – a spiritual focus on the game as a metaphor for healthy competition, tactical savvy, and adherence to the Divine Law.
Breakfast and Dinner were cooked over fires and judged with all of the usual standards for timeliness, quality, and presentation. For the sake of authenticity, a “beach carnival” in the Great House included a series of games, skits, and original songs (which inevitably made fun of slogging through the cold and snow at uncivilized temperatures). After Game Off on Saturday night, Weldon facilitated a fireside chat where alumni participants were asked to name the single most important, and memorable, part of the winter game experience. It is perhaps difficult to summarize the thrill of the alumni…meeting up with old camp friends, comparing dates of campership/counsellorship, from modern and Paleolithic eras, but the spirit that imbued this group, the rekindled friendships, and love for Camp and Christian Science illuminated and pervaded the landscape of this joyous weekend event.