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Letters from Adahi: ‘The Wheel’ provides good-natured fun

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webmaster | 07/18/12

By Cassie Niino

If you ask Camp Fire kids what their favorite part of camp is, they will most likely say “the food.” Even though every single thing about camp is incredibly special, the food definitely stands out because it is not the packaged, processed foods we are used to receiving in school lunches. This is real, homemade food.

Grilled hamburgers, rigatoni, pancakes and cinnamon rolls are just a few of the absolutely delicious things that grace our menu. After a hard day of activities, nothing tastes better to a hungry tummy than some nice warm food that has been cooked with love.

When mealtime arrives, campers excitedly fill their plates, quickly sit down and proceed to stare at those around them. To a visitor this may seem strange, but to a camper, this is completely normal; they are simply watching — and waiting — for someone to place their elbows on the table.

If you are caught committing this near felony, a song is sung for you and a wheel is spun. Your “punishment” may include things like sitting in the creek (the most dreaded thing on the wheel), elbows on (which ends the fun), or maybe even hugging a tree.

“The Wheel” is a tradition at Camp Adahi and something campers look forward to year after year. It leads to “elbows on” and “elbows off” singing battles — basically just some good-natured, honest fun.

As I mentioned previously, one of the things to beware of at camp is the bugs. This year is, unfortunately, no exception. The meat bees have attacked! Thankfully, we have the “camp dudes” to protect us from them. These men volunteer year after year to do the “hard” work — carve the annual totem pole, maintain the physical aspects of camp, barbecue and play jokes.

One of the most sought-after camp honors is the “clean camp” award. Campers pore much time and energy into making their camp the neatest — lining trails, sweeping tarps and making beds. Winning this award is quite a feat (especially considering our location). Although daily winners are chosen, the overall winner will receive a special rock on Friday night.

Perhaps one of the most memorable — and magical — parts of camp are our nightly campfires. Song leaders lead the camp in funny, silly songs and then progress into beautiful, breathtaking melodies. It is hard to put such a scene into words — to imagine the campfire softly glowing, the sparks dancing, and more than a hundred people joining in to sing songs honoring our nation; it is simply amazing.

I’m not sure whether it is the ambiance of writing this by flashlight or the fact that I am currently watching the camp dudes chase cows across the meadow at 10 p.m., but there is something about Camp Adahi that you simply cannot get anywhere else.

I think camp is the reason that each and every one of us has become so close even though we have only been here a few days. We are one big family that looks out for each other. Even though we may have come here as strangers, we leave with friends — and memories — that will last a lifetime.


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