Evening Programs – Old and New


A day at camp is packed. Packed with activities, with friends, and with memories in the making. I love walking around camp in the summer and seeing all the magical moments happening – whether it’s a camper learning kayaking skills on the lake, a cabin group catching fireflies at sunset, or a counselor rolling down the hill on the green and laughing just as much as their campers rolling after them. But one of my absolute favorite times of day at camp comes at the very end – Evening Program. 

Evening Program has its own particular kind of magic. Campers choose activities individually throughout the day, but for Evening Program we come together as a whole camp, or sometimes by ‘side,’ for a special event that, to me, often feels like a celebration of camp and of each other. Evening Program is the time when things that can only happen at camp happen. Whether it’s a decades-old tradition being lived out by a new generation, or a brand new game complete with goofy costumes and skits, Evening Program feels like the heart of camp. 

As our year-round team is busy planning and preparing for the 2022 Summer, one of our focuses this year has been on Evening Programs in particular. We’ve been both looking back on tried and true favorites, as well as gathering new ideas to surprise our campers with this summer. In looking back, it’s clear how strongly some of our Evening Program traditions tie together multiple generations of alumni. In a recent poll on our alumni facebook group, we asked our community about their favorite Evening Program memories, and the consensus is clear: International Day and Farm Campfire are by and large the most beloved traditions! And I’m not surprised. Celebrating our international community and our farm program have long been core tenets of who we are at GV. With more of our international staff able to return to camp this summer, we are certain our campers will be delighted by skits, songs, dances, and more from around the world. As for Farm Campfire – well, who doesn’t love a good “Goat Bridge,” an old-time string band, Dale’s clogging, and of course, carrot cake! 


So what’s new in 2022? Last Friday, Katie and I attended an “Evening Program Swap” event hosted by an organization called EPIC (Emerging Professionals in Camping). Professionals from six other camps in Western North Carolina were there, and we spent the afternoon learning and playing new games, including some fast-paced dodgeball variations and a very fun twist on Capture the Flag. Former staff and campers may remember the ‘Superhero Game’ from the summer of 2019 where cabin groups were tasked with finding the GV superheroes around camp and gathering some powerful ‘essences’ in order to contain the Villain who stole our dessert! We led our GV superheroes game for the other camp professionals on Friday, and they had a blast with it. Playing outside and sharing ideas with our local camping colleagues was truly a delightful way to spend a sunny Friday afternoon! Of all the games we learned, one that we are particularly excited to bring to GV for the 2022 summer is ‘Pandemonium.’ Without giving away too much of the surprise, get ready for a fun evening involving relays, bunny-hopping, balancing acts, mattresses, a little bit of chaos and a whole lot of silliness! You can check out the photos for a little preview, but we’re sure our 2022 campers and staff will have a blast – and probably some stories to tell too. 


Evening Program is a great way to top off a full day at camp. Campers get their last bit of energy out, wind down, and then head back to their cabins for their bedtime routine. Each cabin group ends their day with Friendship Circle, a time to connect and share highs and lows from the day, before climbing into their bunks. Then, when they hear the Serenaders outside singing a lullaby, they know it’s finally time to turn off their flashlights and get some sleep for another great day of camp ahead tomorrow. So whether it’s a high-energy game, or a tradition like Sunday Service where we slow down and reflect on the beauty of camp and our community, we are looking forward to a great line-up of Evening Programs in 2022. And if you’ll be joining us this year – for your first summer or your 43rd – we can’t wait to share these magical moments with you.