By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold

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Staffers and Alums gather after an awesome running of the Cassidy Games!

“Way back, in the 11th year of the 3rd millennium, a new competition was created at Camp Gray.”

During Summer Camp, the introduction to the Cassidy Games each week begins with this proclamation.

The 11th year of the 3rd millennium was 2011. However, 2011 was only four years ago. While the 11th year of the 3rd millennium was also only four years ago, it has a quasi-ambiguous, mysterious, and historical ring to it. That, or it makes it sound like the Games are from the future. Either way, proclaiming that the Games began in the 11th year of the 3rd millennium, in my opinion, sounds way cooler than, “Way back, in 2011!”

The Cassidy Games has become a pretty big deal at Camp Gray. (There was even a cover story about the Games in a national camping magazine…) We have more than 50 runnings of the Games under our figurative Cassidy belt (perhaps we should sell Cassidy belts in the Canteen Store – that, or the winning Chief is awarded a WWF-style Championship Cassidy belt. Thoughts?). The 42nd running, however, may go down as one of the most memorable.

While the Cassidy Games have become a big part of Camp Gray, because we’ve only run the Games since 2011, many of our supportive staff alums have never participated in the Games. Those alums that served prior to 2011 have only experienced the Games through our pictures, videos, and stories.

It was time to begin remedying this unfortunate truth.

Each summer, the first running of the Cassidy Games takes place during our Summer Camp Staff Training. Typically, new tweaks have been added to improve the Games, and who better to sample the changes than our staffers. Splitting our 50-60 person staff down the middle, we give our crew a chance to compete in the Cassidy Games’ thrilling mini-battles and the epic Lake Jake Relay Race. We love competition at Camp Gray because so many lessons can be learned. It was Knute Rockne that said, “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it.” During the Cassidy Games, sportsmanship is practiced, and individuals learn the importance of teamwork. We also stress the importance of winning with grace and losing with dignity. The Cassidy Games is a fun, goofy, and at times rather absurd event – it’s also a great way to teach valuable, lasting lessons.

As the night of the Staff running of the Games drew near, we individually told each staffer that they would be on the Blue Team. They certainly wondered why, as they arrived at the amphitheatre, they had all been told to wear blue. It appeared as though there had been a mistake – if the entire staff was on the Blue Team, who would they compete against?

As the anticipation grew, from behind the amphitheatre, more than 30 alums, decked in red, came running! Over the course of the next 2-hours, we had ourselves an outstanding evening of competition and fun.

Camp Gray was founded in the 953rd year of the 2nd millennium (1953). Many thousands have served at Camp Gray during that time – each person playing a critical role in making Camp Gray what it is today.

It was a great gift to welcome back so many alums to experience the Cassidy Games. Ideas are already floating around the office to make next year’s runnings of the Games even better – especially the staff vs. alumni game.

As members of the Camp Gray family, we look forward to welcoming back our alumni to take on our staffers next year, in the 16th year of the 3rd millennium.

Thanks for checking out the Camp Gray Blog!