Each morning, rain or shine, the kids run to the vans at the bus stop, hardly pausing for doses of sunscreen and bug-spray. Parents wistfully wave goodbye, most of them wishing that they, too, could be going to Riverlea for the day.
The whole-camp sleepout is the summer highlight. Nestling in sleeping bags under the trees and stars, campers sing dozens of traditional (and non-traditional) songs. Everyone packs a deck of cards and a flashlight. At dusk, Betsy announces that "sometimes Indians come to the bonfire." Sure enough, a brave appears out of nowhere. He waves his hand and calls out, "Fire, light!" As if by sorcery, the bonfire flames leap up--and the campers' jaws drop.
How special is the Riverlea staff? At dawn, following a full night of storytelling, singing and s'mores, two little boys wake up early, looking around at all their sleeping campmates. As if on cue, a counselor yawns, rolls over from his sleeping bag and whispers, "Hey, guys, anyone want to play cards?"