Camp Gordyland: Color games highlight the season

Last week, the Wilton YMCA’s Camp Gordyland held its 22nd annual Color Games competition, which according to Camp Director Aaron Britton was the “best one yet.”

Campers enrolled in the Y’s “Free-to-Be,” “Camp to-Come-to” and “Teen Camp” programs were split into the red, blue, yellow, green, and orange teams, corresponding with the YMCA’s core values; caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and unity, respectively. Every camper is encouraged to embody these values throughout camp and their everyday lives in the Camp Gordyland program.

These teams vied for the “Character Cup,” which is awarded to the team that earns the most color points. The week was rife with opportunities to win these points, including competitions held every morning, where both campers and counselors competed.

Monday morning, campers spelled out their team name with their bodies in the grass, and on Wednesday, counselors raced against one another to eat entire lemons — rind included — while their campers cheered from the sidelines.

Campers also earned points by guessing the secret identities of camp staff that corresponded with Crayola crayon colors, exhibiting YMCA core values, and finding gold coins and shamrocks scattered throughout camp toward the end of the week in “Gordy’s Gold Rush.”

Color-captain Bo Windsor and the Green Team took home the cup for the second consecutive year with 16,302 points.

All of the hype from the Color Games was put to good use when campers competed in the “Penny Wars,” a coin competition in which the proceeds go to the camp’s fund for camp program scholarships.

Five jars, one for each color team, were laid out at the beginning of the week. Campers could choose to put pennies in their jar, which corresponded with one point added to their jar, or higher-value coins that would subtract their value from the total of other team’s jars.

The camp raised $752.27 through this program, and the hearty Green Team earned the most money.

On Friday, parents filled the bleachers in the YMCA’s gymnasium, and a rainbow of team-colored glitter and face paint covered both the campers and the gym floor as the week culminated with the Big Show, a competition judged on entrance, mascot, chant, and dance components.

“The Friday Big Show for Color Games is very similar to putting on a staged production,” said Mr. Britton, one of the judges. “It requires a carefully planned out gymnasium seating arrangements, timeline of events, and of course, the energy of the campers and staff who are doing the show.”

The Red Team won the mascot portion, wowing the judges with a skit detailing the transformation of a plain black bird into a red phoenix. The Yellow Team won the entrance, and the Orange Team had the best-choreographed dance routine. The Green Team had the best chant, which included a military-style “sound-off,” and the Blue Team had the most spirit for their team.

The Red Team relinquished the “Big Show Belt,” the prize awarded to the team with the most impressive performance in all categories that also displays good sportsmanship, to the Yellow Team this year. The team’s routines included songs like a dubstep remix of Disney’s “The Circle of Life” and the song Pompeii by Bastille.

“I’m proud of how well my [campers] handled not winning the belt or the cup,” said Head Counselor Christine Gehrlein. “I was proud of how they performed and … their good sportsmanship — they danced along with the other team’s dances. Most importantly, [I’m glad] they had fun.”

While the cup and belt have been put into storage until next year, color pride has not left the camp; some campers continue to support their team in their wardrobe choices, and color points will be awarded for the rest of the season to decide which team gets to paint the large rock outside of the camp gate their team’s respective color.