Go RED Team!

(The Red Team and our Battle Wagon, the Moose!!! 2006)

As we approach yet another fantastic celebration of our great nation's independence, one can't help to think about all the ways we've spent the holiday over the years. While I don't have tons of concrete memories about the 4th of July celebration in Hillsboro, Ohio (other than the Festival of the Bells and watching the fireworks as they scattered over the football field), my celebrations and traditions from the five summers I spent at Camp Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine during and after college, are pretty much cemented in my brain.

Working at Camp Tapawingo, the 4th of July was always so much fun. Normally the night before we'd load all the kids into the big vans and haul them into town (Bridgeton) for the annual firework display. It wasn't so much that the fireworks lasted all evening, but the traffic coming home took forever (even in rural Maine) so it'd be about midnight by the time the kids were all settled down for the night.

(Lockwood and I sport our 4 on the Fourth shirts, 2004)

The next morning a few van loads of us counselors and kids would drive back into town for the 4 on the 4th road race. One of my favorite years doing this, I did a dualathlon by riding my bike 15 miles into town and then running the race.

(JD and I biked it into town on the 4th to go for a run, 2004)

By the time we got back to camp and cleaned up, it was a day full of games and other activities... but the highlight was always the counselor vs. senior camper water fight. We'd spend all afternoon plotting our tactics and pranks (like finding where the seniors hid all of their water balloons and then locking that room shut), and then going down to the arts and crafts room to add our war paint.

(red team war paint, 2006)

The seniors in the meantime, would all get their swimsuits on.

(Seniors of 2001, probably some of the best kids ever. PP4L!)

We'd reach raid the landsports shack and grab lacrosse sticks as we discovered (I actually discovered this) that they make great water ballon launchers. As well, if you are good enough, when water balloons are thrown at you, you can catch em, cradle them, and launch them right back at the thrower.

(yes, I will take credit for adding lacrosse sticks to Tapawingo water fight accessories ever since 1998. photo 2006)

When it came time for the water fight to begin, all the other campers would grab their crazy creeks and sit out by the softball fields, waiting for the procession of counselors to storm up the hill towards the Sr. Cabin. (In later years though, this was changed due to some items in the bunk getting soaked and unfortunate foot to crotch combat with male staff members.) Once the water fight started, things just got crazy. I loved it! It was totally a "no holds barred" kinda thing.

(Ellery takes a seat. 2006)

Of course when the counselors got wet, our red paint bled... so once the Camp Director Jane called the water fight off, I'd always make a mad dash (with a lifeguard counselor friend) to the water front where we'd run down the dock and then cannonball straight into the lake. It was the best way to rinse off.

(Marielle cools off. 2006)

After I finally got cleaned up, the afternoon would be pretty relaxing. A 4th of July cookout was normally on the schedule, but and hopefully -pending on my jobs at camp- that evening I'd be able to make it out of camp to go eat some lobster, drink some beer and swap stories about the great water fight and how we totally dominated once again this year.

Even though I've had several amazing 4th of July's since my days at Camp Tapawingo, I'll probably never have as much fun in one small dose as I did in those water fights. It's not everyday that you can round up 20 kids and 30 adults, give them water, give them balloons and say "go for it". Overall, I have Camp to thank for a lot of great memories. Thanks Camp Tapawingo, and yeah, Go Red Team!

(they just called me levo)

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