Saturday night is hands down the best night of the week at Mataponi. Why is that you might ask? Not only do you get to enjoy the wacky and crazy games and costumes from Marcy’s theme dinner, but Saturday is campfire night! Watching everyone dressed in their matching campfire shirts making their way through Star camp always brings a sense of calm at the end of an action-packed day. The Senior girls line both sides of the hill, forming a tunnel that each pair of camp sisters pass through to enter the sacred campfire site located at the edge of the woods. Once everyone is seated the Seniors and their camp sisters take their seats in the front row.
After a quick introduction from Marcy & Dan, it is time for a tradition unique to Mataponi. Each week we find the most creative and unique way possible to make that wood in the middle of the campfire circle burst into flames. With the music pumping and the campers and staff cheering, you watch a small flame (often in the form of a flaming tennis ball) make its way around an elaborate course of chain reactions. Pulleys, catapults, toilet paper, slinkies, pendulums, springs, and anything else you can think of might just be involved. One thing that you can count on is a standing “O” erupting from the crowd on the bleachers as the campfire bursts into a roaring glow.
Next, the Seniors girls, dressed in traditional matching attire, lead the camp in songs that have been sung around the campfire for decades. The performance “Acts” comes next. Any camper or staff member who would like to lead a cheer, dance, or do a “repeat after me” song can take center stage. This is where you can feel the magic. No matter their age, talent, or their ability level, the crowd goes wild and cheers the performance. There is nothing like watching the self-confidence of a first-time performer soar. The pride can be seen on her face at the completion of the act and as she walks back to her seat, there’s no denying the ear-to-ear grin.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the night is the announcement of the weekly Gold Feather winners. Marcy reads letters from campers nominating one of their peers to receive a gold feather for displaying one of Camp Mataponi’s seven core values. Will it be for Compassion, Friendship, Loyalty, Spirit, Sportswomanship, Cooperation, or Citizenship? The prize for receiving a Gold Feather is a coveted gold feather and bracelet. The evening concludes with the Senior girls leading a camp-wide rendition of Friends, Friends, Friends, the Camp Mataponi Alma Mater, and s’mores.
Saturday night “Campfire” marks the end of the week and a time when the whole camp enjoys being as one. It’s a time to take in the beautiful nature of our Maine surroundings and to reflect on how lucky we are to experience the magic of summer camp.
The s’mores are not bad either!