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2021 Upper-school Campout Highlights

Written by Kaya Long, Acacia Blyth, and Ava Taylor

Last Tuesday, on November 23rd, 12 countries went head to head in a series of grueling competitions over the course of 12 long hours, each determined to emerge victorious. As it turns out, this intense competition was the 2021 Upper School Campout, and these different “countries” were really just teams of socially deprived highschoolers excited to be attending a high school function once again.

To start off the day, the upper school gathered along the perimeter of the basketball court. The seniors were hyping everyone up from the start, with a brief competition of who could scream the loudest. That seemed to be the catalyst prompting the day of excitement that would follow. Just like that, camp out began.

Everyone eagerly waited to get on the buses as each Hui boarded a small bus to Anna’s Ranch (about an 8 minute drive away from the school). Simply sitting in such close proximity to one another was invigorating. When each class arrived they were greeted by exhilarating music and the infectious energy of the enthusiastic seniors.

Once everyone gathered on the field the theme was revealed: The Olympics! The grades were divided into 12 different teams, each representing a different country that would compete against each other in a variety of competitions throughout the day. Each group was led by two seniors and consisted of 1-3 people from each grade. Shortly after, the groups began to bond by working together to craft a chant for their country. Performing the chants turned out to be the first competition of camp out.

Photo by Ava Taylor

Teams wait to perform their chants.

Photos by Ava Taylor

Ela Kowardy, a senior, holds her group’s Japanese flag.

Once the chants were performed, the second activity of Campout began: the Frozen T-Shirt race! The objective of the game was to untangle a t-shirt that had been soaked and frozen solid, place it on a teammate, and run to the edge of the field and back with your team. For many teams, this was quite the struggle. People got creative with their detangling/defrosting methods, some of which included: banging the frozen shirt against a rock, playing tug a war with it, sticking it under their shirt to warm it up, trying to rip it, and running it under warm water from a sink.

Photo by Ava Taylor

Seniors Kai Higgins and Owen Leonard try to untie a frozen t-shirt.

As the sun rose in the sky and the day got hotter, the entire high school packed up their lunches and hiked 2 miles to the Nature Park. Along the highway a few semi trucks honked their horns in support of the enigmatic parade of students displaying random country flags. The trek there was a great opportunity to converse with classmates and fellow students that you had not previously talked to very much.

Once they arrived, everyone took a few minutes to catch their breath and eat their lunch. Then the grade vs. grade competitions commenced, starting with many thrilling games of dodgeball. This friendly grade v. grade competition was an optimal opportunity for the classes to bond.

The games were very competitive and the classes on the sidelines were explosively cheering for the teams who were playing. “My voice is gone,” says Jalyssa Castaneda, a freshman.

Photo by Ava Taylor

The seniors rush to retrieve the dodgeballs.

Photo by Ava Taylor

The sophomores get ready to throw the first dodgeballs of the game.

Back at Anna’s Ranch after an eventful afternoon of team building competitions, everyone took some time to rejuvenate under their grade’s tent and muster up their energy for the evening activities. The slight exhaustion was compensated for by the collective excitement and anticipation for what would happen next.

Photo By Kaya Long

The sophomores wait in the shade of their class tent after returning from the nature hike.

The iconic camp out challenge was revealed and each grade was given what they needed to get to work. Over the next 2 hours, students went off in their grades and worked tirelessly to create what they hoped would be the winning product. It was not always easy and throughout the allotted time frustrated screams echoed across the ranch, but across the board this was everyone’s favorite part of campout. “It was stressful but I think that we all bonded a lot more and after we all sat together to eat dinner and it was really nice,” says Ava Pajinag, a sophomore.

Each grade worked together to produce an end product that was imperfectly perfect. “It was just hilarious,” says Gibson McIntosh, a freshman.

“It was fun to do something different with all my classmates and bond with them because my class isn’t very close and I thought it brought us together,” says Riley Sojot, a junior.

After this staple competition, everyone was so exhilarated that it was a smooth transition into a raging dance party with lots of glow sticks that everyone periodically launched into the air. With the music blaring, the dark sky was suddenly filled with a fluorescent shower of vibrant colors raining down on everyone dancing below.

Photo By Ava Taylor

People dance with glow sticks in their hands as more fall from the sky.

While only the seniors were permitted to stay the night at the school due to COVID-19 restrictions, this change was barely noticeable, as everyone was simply happy to be participating in such a scarce kind of social gathering nowadays.“It was very fun and relieving to know that we can still connect in these very hard times and still have that sort of fun,” says Noe Mitchell, a senior.

“It was so nice of [the administration] to let us [dance] and I really appreciate how they let us have those traditions,” says Violet Freeney, a senior.

Unlike past years, this year’s campout took place later in the year than usual. Consequently, there was a heightened sense of camaraderie amongst the classes. “It was really just like enjoying time with family, it was really nice,” says Danny Brophy, a sophomore.

“My favorite part of campout was honestly just being with my class,” says Noe Mitchell. “Also it was very funny when Stephen Dunn dumped water on Nathan. He won my heart with that one.”

Shout Outs
  1. Thank you to Oy’s Fusion Festival for catering the delicious variety of allergy conscious food. There was something for everyone!

  2. Shout out to Nathan Bunnel and Sophie Weigle for all their hard work since this past summer to plan the campout. The day was packed full with fun team-building activities that effortlessly flowed from one to the next and the theme was amazing!

  3. Shout out to the senior class in general for their infectious enthusiasm and positive attitude. You all did an amazing job hyping people up and leading your country teams. Also, thank you for your formidable competition and congratulations on your second placement! :)

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