Big kids rule Hayground. Period. Most of them have spent 6-10 years at Hayground and know the place like the backs of their hands. They have made the decision to either not go to sleepaway camp at all or to return to Hayground for part of the summer because it feels like home. Big kids have the run of the place. They have choices on the schedule, but they are also empowered to run their own activities like their weekly Big Kids Only baseball game. With their seniority comes the first taste of responsibility. Orcas (11-12) and Gators (13) especially are tasked with being role models for the younger campers who look up to them.
THE WORLD OUTSIDE
As Sharks and then Orcas and Gators, Upper Campers have Beach on their schedule twice a week. The beach provides opportunities to challenge themselves against the elements, manage their friendships and feel their independence. As Orcas (11-12) and Gators (13), they also get to go on field trips once a week. Field trips are different from year to year, but often include a kayaking trip, a fishing trip, a sailing trip and a trip to Splish Splash. On all of these adventures, campers are expected to represent Hayground in a positive way and they always rise to the occasion.
What big kids want to do more than anything else is to just be with one another and navigate the excitement and challenges of what it is to be a young adult. We have set up the campus in such a way that the big kids have their own area where they can hang out and play ping pong, toss a ball around, play games and make memories. Big kids are aware of the fact that they are coming to the end of their time as Hayground Campers and approaching their time as Hayground Counselors. There are a lot of emotions and one last times associated with that knowledge. To be a big kid at Hayground is to become who you are.