The trip to Canobie Lake Park in Salem, NH is probably the biggest highlight of the summer for the campers. The trip is funded by the Knights of Colombus, who sponsor a number of camp groups to go enjoy the theme park. For those of you unfamiliar with how the trip works, we take a chartered bus from the parish center to Canobie Lake. There we take a picture with the Knights, and then they give us our tickets. Once inside the park, each camper and staffer is given a budget of $10 to spend on whatever they want (souvenirs, food, soda, toys, etc.). The counselors for Group 1 hold the money for their young charges (we don't want them to put their money down when they get on a ride and forget to pick it up). The campers are divided into small groups and taken around the park by an individual counselor, usually there are 4 or 5 campers to 1 counselor. That's when the fun happens.
Canobie Lake is an exciting place, with all sorts of cool rides, costumed people walking around, and the smells of junk food wafting through the air. My four campers skipped past the biggest, most intimidating rides to find the rides that were thrilling without being terrifying. Every year there are children who are afraid of almost all the rides, but they still are able to have fun as they hangout with their friends and watch. I find it impressive when a camper says "I'm scared to go on this ride, but you guys can go without me. I don't mind."
My personal favorite park of Canobie Lake Park is the Castaway Island water park. The air is cooler there due to the thousands of gallons of waters rushing out of pipes and down slides. The children love it because it's a great way to cool off. They can easily spend almost two hours climbing the structure and going down the big water slides.
This year the lunches were not delivered until after our bus left, so the campers had to use most of their ten dollars to buy food, but many of them were able to save enough for a snack the eat devour before boarding the bus back home. The Canobie Lake experience is very different depending on a camper's age. The youngest children go on rides with height limits, while the campers in the older group try to stand up straight and measure up the the height minimum required by the more exciting rides. The great thing about the trip is that even though each campers has a different experience, they all absolutely love it. It's not a theme park without a roller coaster ride. To see a video of some campers on the Dragon Coaster click here.
Soon enough it was 3:45 and time to meet board the bus back to camp. The bus ride back from Canobie Lake is usually a pretty mellow affair. The older campers are still excited and chatty in the back, but many of the younger campers (and maybe even a staffer or two) take a nap as we make our way back into Boston just as rush hour is beginning. We arrive back at camp around 5:00, and the campers are picked up one by one as we play outside. Each camper leaves happy. The only problem with the Canobie Lake Trip is that no activity or trip we staff can think up is as exciting as Canobie Lake.
I am having difficulties with my digital camera at the moment, which explains the lack of photos. As soon as I get it fixed I will download the pictures and put some up on this post.
There will be many more pictures of the trip up on our tumblr (srmaryschildren.tumblr.com). For those who don't know, a tumblr is like a simplified blog. We use it mostly to display videos and pictures from the programs that don't fit here on this blog, though we sometimes post links to related news articles as well. It's worth looking at, there's a lot fun photos there.
*Note July 29, 2012-->As you can see, I've been able to recover my photos. My camera is still in the shop, so I can't access the video yet, but that will be posted as soon as I can.