2006 was a year of firsts.         


          It was the year we had our first Adventure Program. 30 boys in 4 groups with names like the Sharks, Jackals, Hawks and Baracudas learned how to ride stunt bikes, ride dirt jumps, went on fishing trips and rafting/hiking/biking/camping trips, took digital photos of just about everything at camp and played ultimate frisbe.


          It was the first year we ever had 5 women on the staff and what a wonderful first that was. Emily was the sunshine on the river while Colleen and Beth made swimming an even more fun place to be on a hot day than ever. Plus Charlene and Mel: it made Blue Bell a warmer, nicer place to be. And in 2006 we had our first 6 year-old camper ever… Henry. What a guy!!!


          The first day of camp, it poured all day: the first time it had rained on the first day of camp in the 28 years I have been the director. So we all spent the day inside…and then the lights went out. But nobody really seemed to care. It was the first day of camp and we were here to have some fun, and that's just what we did. Oh yeah. And then the Schuylkill River started to flood and we had to pull the boat out of the water and bring it back to camp. All on day 1.


          Day 2 it rained again. But while I was getting very frustrated, I don't think the campers noticed. Who cares about rain and mud when you are at camp? Devon got his van stuck in the mud, Brett from BMX showed us that he could ride a bike upside down and we were rolling.


          Wednesday, July 19th , 2006 made history. It was the first time in the last 50 years that camp was closed on a regular camp day. We had a huge storm the night before and there was no electricity. That meant no water and no toilets. 11 counselors spend the day cleaning up trees and branches that the storm left all over camp. But we got the job done, and Thursday we were back to camp as usual.


          I always pray for a nice sunny day on the day of the open house, but I guess I should have known that this was not going to be the year for it. On Saturday morning we called all the counselors and they called all the campers and we moved the open house to Sunday. As predicted it rained a lot on Saturday, but Sunday was much nicer. The open house went great.


     In the 5th week of camp, the Lions and Mavericks had their sleep-out and, naturally, it rained. So we had a "sleep-in", instead.  But they still had a great time.


     Irv did a Karaoke contest at council circle and we found out that a lot of campers had musical talent that we never knew about. Dave did one on making wooden pens and we could not believe how great they turned out. We loved the council circles with incredible tennis tournaments, archery tournaments (both campers and counselors) , wrestling, egg-dropping, a home-run derby, counselor volleyball, a great splash contest and lots, lots more.


     We fenced on the driveway and for the first time ever, 2 campers earned their All-American Archer award. We had chess in the grove this year, topped off by a fantastic final match that was almost too close to call.


     Week 6 the temperature got near 100 degrees almost every day and NBC sent a camera crew to Blue Bell to see how we were dealing with the heat. What they saw were a lot of busy, happy campers. The heat never really seemed like a big problem here at Blue Bell.


     And over the summer Ben took over 1500 pictures of everything that was happening day-by-day and posted them at


     It certainly was a year of firsts. But one thing was a lot like years past. I loved working with all of the Blue Bell staff and I loved watching campers having fun and learning how to do new things and, each one in his own way, growing up a little bit. I think that is what camp is really all about. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.


     Table winners for today. Everybody.