Cheerio on the New River’s first session came to a close on Saturday, ending with a game of castle-ball, where the campers came out victorious against their counselors and staff. It was followed by an emotional closing ceremony with tears from those who wished the week was longer, and cheers for campers like second-year Brodie, who was named honor camper.

“It definitely made an impact on me. Like, it shows me I’ve been doing a good job this week,” she said.

Honor camper is awarded to those who have shown what it means to be a camper at Cheerio on the New River by displaying virtues talked about during the opening ceremony. Brodie’s favorite aspects of camp included the opportunity to meet new friends and keep in touch with them, and being in the party that found a whopping 16 tires while snorkeling.

Applause was also given to a camper who reached their fifth-year milestone, Mahlon. Reaching his fifth year means that he gets to be part of an exclusive club and was also awarded a bandana specific to fifth-years.

“Honestly, it’s a great experience I would recommend to all,” he said when asked about his five years at Cheerio on the New River. “Do it. For sure, it’s worth it. You’ll get a great experience out of it. If you stay in touch, you’ll have a lot of friends. If you want to stay for more than one week, do it.”

He added that it was the people who made his experience at camp so memorable. While staff and campers have changed year by year, he said the time with them and the experience that comes from it has always been his favorite part, other than dodgeball.

Second-year camper Anna said that her time at Cheerio on the New River has been fun and that she’s seen a great deal of kindness in her two years.

“I love how everybody’s really nice and the activities are really fun,” she said. “It’s really fun and I’ll remember it forever. I love it.”

While all campers echoed what Brodie, Anna, and Mahlon said, others added that it was their new friends and the counselors who helped them face their fears. Anna was one of many campers who tried something new this week.

“My favorite part is trying new activities I haven’t tried before, like even something as simple as 9-square; I’ve never tried it before this week and it was really fun,” she said.

First-year Harper faced a fear of heights, a fear that other campers, as well as staff, tackled this week. She and another first-year, Gray, took to the trees and once at the top, rang the bells, signifying the overcoming acrophobia.

“When I got here, I was so afraid of heights. When I signed up for tree climbing, I didn’t know it was that high. So, I signed up for it, but I realized it wasn’t as high as I thought it would be. It was actually really fun,” Gray said.

Campers like second-year Brooks and Sadie overcame their fear of river activities. Brooks had not been fishing in a long time and was worried about going again. Once on the river, although he caught no fish, he and his friend were able to reel in a drone that was lost last year. Sadie faced her fear of canoeing on Wednesday when all campers went on the 4.5-mile-long boating trip.

“I’m kind of scared of canoeing, honestly,” she said, stating that she was afraid of the boat flipping or getting stuck or hurt. “The canoe trip kind of scared me, but it was very fun!”

She, Brooks, Mahlon, and every camper repeated how memorable their time at Cheerio on the New River has been. Whether it was their first year, second, or fifth, campers said that they looked forward to returning next summer.

“Definitely come to camp because it’s going to make an impact on you as a person and just make you feel good. And, I swear, you’re going to think about it every single day,” Brodie, this week’s honor camper, said.

  • Authored by Orion Griffin