Throwback Thursday- The Quest For The Golden Arrowhead
As a camper, I never knew the thrill or the pride that comes with the honor of receiving the Golden Arrowhead at the end of a week of camp. A coveted prize, to be sure, the Golden Arrowhead is bestowed upon the unit the displays outstanding teamwork, excellence in competition, and significant accomplishments throughout the week. Although I tried very VERY hard throughout my three years as a camper, my one summer as a CIT, and for over three years as a staff member, this seemingnly untouchable honor seemed to always just slip my grasp. In my 4th year on staff, I was finally part of a unit that strove to be a team hard enough, mustered up truly heroic levels of camp spirit, and happened to be lucky multiple competitions throughout the week. I had finally helped contribute to a unit that went away at the end of the week with the ultimate honor – the Golden Arrowhead.
While personally nostalgic and incredibly prideful to me (I am glowing right now typing this recollection), the Golden Arrowhead is not just a prize given to a select group of campers at the end of a week. It’s part of a larger tradition that unites us all as a camp family. You all know that it’s awarded to the unit at the end of every week that as accrued the most points through service work for camp, competitions, cabin inspections, and other metrics throughout the week. What you may not know is that the Golden Arrowhead is almost as old as camp itself. Already by its fourth year, Camp Ondessonk had introduced activity arrowheads to encourage campers to strive for excellence in activity areas. To keep things interesting and to create an environment of friendly competition, they added the lure of the Golden Arrowhead to the highest-achieving unit for the week. If you’re doing the math, THAT’S RIGHT, the Golden Arrowhead is 52 years old this summer! If you figure that every week, at least one unit has been awarded a Golden Arrowhead (and sometimes there are ties!), that means that over the years, at least 520 units, or over 28,000 campers have received a Golden Arrowhead!
Are you one of them? Do you hope to someday be one of them? One of the best lessons I learned in my quest for the Golden Arrowhead was that you can practice for it year round! Teamwork, service to camp, and working to improve your skills in any area can happen year round. If you work on these three things, and make sure to always bring your camp spirit, maybe someday this golden patch can be yours! For some of you, they might come easily on your first try. For others, they may take years like they did for me. Regardless of the outcome, they represent a long tradition of encouraging camaraderie, teamwork, effort, and camp spirit all in the right mix. If you leave this summer without one, don’t fret! The REAL Golden Arrowhead is the experiences you have, the friends you make, the times you laughed so hard you almost peed your pants, and the sense of belonging you get from knowing you’ve just found a place you can always call your home.
Throwback Thursday- The Quest For The Golden Arrowhead By Carrie Birge- Former Camper, CIT and Counselor at Camp Ondessonk.