The Element of Surprise

Rebecca Mikula

by Becca Mikula

Optionals are a time for fun and trying new things, but some Optionals have cryptic names with little to no description. So far this week, we’ve hosted Forknife: Battle Royale, TBD, Bauhaus, Christmas in July, Fashion Week, and Chakra Alignment. Many campers were nervous about the odd names and the air of secrecy surrounding these Optionals, but everyone was having fun by the end of the activities.

Forknife: Battle Royale is one of the most creative, off the wall Optionals I have ever heard of, but it turned out to be a favorite for one of my campers. Many students signed up for the Optional thinking they’d be playing the hit game Fortnite. But my camper Kay had a sneaking suspicion that might not be true. Instead, the optional consisted of table etiquette lessons and then a competitive dinner where any etiquette infraction would have you removed from the game. Kay was incredibly excited to come back after study hall and tell me she had won her round of Forknife: Battle Royale.

My optional last night was Christmas in July, which I hosted with Molly. Many of my campers were hesitant to sign up and were mildly annoyed by the fact that I told them the fun was in the surprise, but some decided to be brave and try it out. We started the optional by gathering our group on the back lawn of Florence Schneider Hall and singing Christmas carols like “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” After the entire group was present and accounted for, we moved to the fourth floor of the building to get started. The campers seemed a little confused at the choice of movie for a moment, as the opening credits gave no hints. Molly and I took that time to whip up some hot chocolate. The campers got their drinks and were delighted to see that Elf had started playing. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed and gave the campers a good opportunity to have a little down time, get to know each other better, and enjoy a little out-of-season holiday spirit. My four campers in the Optional told me at room checks that they had a lot of fun and enjoyed the time with friends.

All in all, despite the odd names and cryptic descriptions, Optionals are one of the most exciting parts of camp for many students and give them opportunity for them to try something they might not get to experience otherwise.