Ben Simmons

Camps Orenda & Sebago circa 1965-1966

The following is an excerpt from an email I sent to another alumni.

As mentioned in my original email I attended Orenda for either one or two summers and then I went to Sebago. Although I remember being assigned to the frontier cabins which were on the right hand side as you came into the camp. I recall that the mess hall was elevated and if I'm recalling correctly, it was to the left as you entered the camp and was parallel to my frontier cabin. I'm pretty sure that I stayed in one of the tee-pees as well, but other than my campfire memories with the tomahawk fire dance and the song of the Wakonda Bird, which I remember vividly. I was deeply moved by that chant and the respect for nature that it elicited. I can even remember some of the beginning lyrics. "Wata-wata ho, wata-wata ho..."

However, I now reserve all of my worship for the creator of the great Wakonda bird and not the bird itself.

Lastly, I also have vivid memories of what I think was called banquette or frontier night. As I write these words I now recall being taught how to Indian-leg wrestle while lying on ones back side to side with your opponent, arms clasped, each lifting the wrestling leg and touching feet at the apex of the lift to the count of one, two, three! Then on the count of three, we would lock legs at the ankle at which time each would try and pull each other over. Do you have any memory of that? Indian-arm wrestling was done lying face down with the non-wrestling arm behind the back and if I am not mistaken, legs were crossed to create zero leverage, all strength being mustered from ones core and upper body. Not easy! Do you have any recollection of that? One last strength challenge involved a wooden staff, two opponents seated on the ground facing each other, with the balls of their feet pushing against each other while each guy held the staff, one hand facing palm up, the other palm down. Each kid would then try like the dickens to pull the other kid over his head. Ring a bell? We used to compete against other cabins depending on size and age.

That's all I have for now. Who knows what other memories would return if and when I can get up there.


Submitted by Ben Simmons

2006
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