Two Rivers Soccer Camp - Summer 2003
For nine weeks I worked at Two Rivers Soccer Camp as a cabin counselor. Playing, coaching, breathing and living soccer is the routine for such a position at Two Rivers. Highlights of the summer included spending time in pristine Sierra Neveda forests at an elevation over 5,000 feet, interacting with enthuiastic campers, and meeting a fun, friendly and ultimately unpredictable international staff. My summer with Two Rivers proved to be one of the most enjoyable and exciting summers I've ever had.
I arrived in mid-June only several days after my last finals at UCSD. Interestingly, when I was a much smaller lad I attended this very same soccer camp, only as a camper. My memories rushed back and the hazy outline which had previously stood as my recollections began to fill in once again as I navigated around the old grounds, walking across the pristine pitches, past the youngsters cabins, past the campfire and eventually to the dining lodge at the far end of camp.
Main Football Pitches
Two Rivers is a huge production, every year requiring over thirty staff members whose responsibilites range from coaching to cooking to administrative work. By the end of the summer around fifteen hundred campers will retreat to the Sierra Shangri-la. The main division of staff are coaches, counselors, and cooks, although many people are asked to fulfill a variety of roles during the summer. I spent my summer primarily as a cabin counselor.
Two Rivers focuses on playig soccer in which the campers engage for over five hours everyday, but the camp also organzies camp fires, theme nights, hikes, swimming, daytime activities and dining experiences.
Cabin counselors are the most directly responsible for the campers, interacting with them for the whole day everyday minus coaching instruction. If you enjoy spending time with enthusiastic campers who look up to you the position can be very rewarding. Each week I received a new batch of campers and started up the weekly routine. The age group I worked with varied a lot over the course of the summer beginning with youngsters aged no younger than nine. Eventually I was in charge of some of the older boys cabins, responsible for fifteen year olds. At the time I was only eighteen, prompting one parent to remark "you'll be as bad as the rest of them."
Aside from the health and safety of the allotted campers, I was also responsible for coordinating and then monitoring activites. Everyday the campers had two activities sessions where they chose from a variety of options including soccer tennis, volleyball, ping-pong, basketball, archery, and jumping rope, among others.
On top of the daytime activities, the staff coordinated extravagent campfires including skits, songs, and tacky hosts. A popular performance each week was the Cold Preachers (seen at the top of the page), a group of five of us staffers who put on quite a show during the campfires. Our most notable work was a sample of Sweet Home Alabama to which we rewrote the verses and chorus, turning it into Sweet Home Two Rivers. We became such a camp phenomenon that during the opening ceremony the director, Dick Schwendinger, would often forget the names of his staff and introduce one of us merely as a preacher. This stirred considerable confusion for the campers and even more so for the parents.
Otherwise, I took in the Northern California atmosphere. Each weekend the staff spent a lot of time together. Normally we'd just meander around camp and go to the nearby towns of Graeagle or Quincy. A couple weekends found us in Reno. Boy, those were memorable excursions.