The View from the White Board: Choose Your Own Adventure

by Eliot Golding /
The View from the White Board: Choose Your Own Adventure

Have you checked out the photos from our most recent camp sessions yet? It is an amazing collection of images that capture something special about the opportunities Kabeyun provides, and the overarching opportunity for each camper to “choose your own adventure.” You can see the joy and exhilaration in the boys’ faces as they shine on stage, surf behind our motorboat, shape a clay pot, or climb a rock face, among many other activities!

This is Kabeyun’s hallmark: Any of our campers can sample any activity. By allowing them this freedom to pick their activities and sign up for the trips that intrigue them, Kabeyun opens wide all the possible doors of adventure, growth, and learning for them to walk through, never knowing when a life-long passion will be the result of their exploration!

I can speak firsthand to the joys and long-term impact of this “choose your own adventure” aspect of Kabeyun. When I was a camper in the Cougars in 2003, I decided to try out for the camp production of Little Shop of Horrors with only a limited background in theater. I ended up so enjoying my part in the play that I became a fixture on the Kabeyun stage for my remaining camper years. In 2007, I was the Drama Intern and as a counselor, I occasionally returned to the stage in following summers. I also pursued this passion at home, participating in many school plays over the next few years and earning an invitation to my school’s honorary drama society as a sophomore. I would go so far as to say that anyone who has ever heard my all-camp Capture the Flag announcements on an otherwise quiet Sunday morning can vouch for the lasting impact of all that time on stage! 

As a teacher, I also assisted in producing several school plays before I began working at Kabeyun year-round, and have helped backstage on several camp productions where I was not involved as an actor. All this from a single decision to head up to the Lodge for an audition back in the summer of 2003!

This personal background led to one of my favorite parts of 2022 – the return of Kabeyun’s Drama program. What a joyful privilege it was putting all my theater experience to work helping our campers shine on stage! I assisted with editing the scripts and organizing auditions, worked backstage during the shows, provided a voice-over for July’s production of Peter Pan, and even got back on the stage to play Mrs. Teevee in August’s production of Willy Wonka. Throughout it all, I got to witness countless moments of joy and excitement from our campers, some of whom had made their Kabeyun debuts in past summers, but many more were gracing our stage -- or, in some cases, any stage! -- for the first time. Who knows what future actors may have been among us in the Lodge last summer!

Of course, not everyone finds their own special piece of Kabeyun on the stage. On any given day, we offer 15+ unique activities, in addition to our trips department’s impressive array of out-of-camp explorations. Any one of them could be the key to unlocking a life-long passion for any one of our campers! So come join us at Kabeyun to choose your own adventure! I look forward to seeing you there.

Eliot Golding is Kabeyun's Assistant Director.

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