A counselor holds the Blue Mermaids trident during CLAW

The Hidden Purpose of CLAW


On Monday of our Discovery Camp Deluxe session, the first question we hear from campers is, “Are we having CLAW this year?” Of course, we always answer, “Nope we’ve changed the Deluxe schedule this summer.”  They know we’re lying, but they play along anyway.  Half the fun of CLAW is the anticipation!

Wait just one second… What is CLAW?  Camp Legends and Warriors, CLAW, is Keystone Science School’s color war program.  It is a 2-3 day heavy competition where the camp is split into four teams and everything done at camp is for points.  The intensity and commitment of the campers and counselors is indescribable. 

Let’s take a walk through CLAW.  During what would be a normal camp program, perhaps movie night, there is a strange occurrence.  The movie suddenly stops.  The campers begin to make noise, what’s going on?  There’s a moment of static and BAM! The letters CLAW appear on the screen.  The room erupts in screams of delight.  The games are about to begin.  The Discovery Camp Manager reveals the teams, their CAP-tains (counselor assistant program), and their mascots.  Once all the logistics have been announced, it is full out warfare. 

Campers have been readying themselves for camp all winter and it is finally time for all their hard work to pay off.  For example, one CAP-tian tells me she has collected clothing, make-up, and accessories for all the team colors.  She shows me a second suitcase she brought to camp, strictly filled with gear for CLAW.  She covers herself in everything yellow; yellow bandana, yellow shirt, yellow shorts, yellow socks, and gold nail polish. She is a “Gold Bandit” CAP-tian. 

The camp is split into four zones.  The campers meet with their teams in the zones and lend each other clothing and accessories so that every team member fits in.  They begin making posters and dressing their mascots.  Mascots were group counselors just an hour ago.  Now they are props and worth points.  The CAP-tians write and teach the campers new cheers and songs for their team.  Meanwhile, the Camp Director and specialty instructors redesign camp specifically for CLAW.  They are the judges and they also have a team color.  They dress in last year’s victorious color. 

Lastly, the dining hall is where all the action happens.  Imagine that scene in Harry Potter where there are 4 long tables organized by house.  The camper tables are arranged in 4 long rows.  They will only eat with their team now.  A rope is hung above each table and colored rings of paper are hung on the rope to tally points earned during the games. 

Now, lets get onto the real competition.  For two full days, the campers are engaged in all sorts of activities for points.  Clean cabins award points before breakfast.  Being on time for daily line-ups are worth points.  The team creates and performs a skit about their team.  The team designs a banner about their team and all its members.  There’s an all-camp trivia competition.  Lastly, there is the Warrior Relay Race, a full campus and full team relay involving anything from wilderness skills to cookie eating.