I’m hot, covered in dirt, and all my clothes smell like a campfire… (Texas part 4)

I’m now two weeks into girl’s camp. There have already been intense rivalries between the two tribes, war games, capture the flag, and war canoe. I’ve already discussed war games, and capture the flag is no less intense.


I thought that it would be a regular game of capture the flag, red flag at one end of a field, blue at the other. But I was wrong. Again.

Each team had 7 flags, two per division (age group) except for the oldest, chief, which got one.  They had 10 minutes to hide the flags on their side of the camp. All the counselors were handed out war maps with marked zones of attack. This game is serious.


The blue tribe had a notebook filled up with strategy and hiding locations. They went out in teams, with one member from each division in the groups. The way it worked was only a member of that division could touch their division’s flag. If someone touched a flag from a division not their own, the flag chaser (a counselor) would disqualify the flag, and it couldn’t be scored for the rest of the game.


After the 10 minutes were up, the teams could hunt for the flags. If they found a flag, they had to return it to the safe zone of the softball field at one end of the camp. Anyone could tag an opposing tribe member of the same division and fight them in a war game. That’s right, rolling around in the dirt grabbing a cloth tag and playing 14-flag CTF. Mostly the war games were used against the flag carrier, for as the war game was going on, the flag was frozen. If the flag carrier lost she went to jail, and the flag was left where it was, still in play. If the flag carrier won, the other girl went to jail, and the flag carrier got a free pass to the softball field.


Shooting capture the flag was very difficult. The two tribes split up into smaller groups and went scrambling through the woods. In a perfect world I would have had a camera with each group. In a less than perfect world I would have had one camera with each tribe. In the real world I was sprinting around trying to shoot everyone. I ended up staying at the softball field. Since there is a bottleneck there, lots of war games happened mere feet from the safe zone.


By the end of the game I was hot, sweaty, exhausted, and had shot a lot of video and a few run-and-gun interviews. In the third week of camp I want to shoot interviews with members of both tribes to see what the tribes really mean to them. The girls (and guys, as I’ve heard) get really into their tribe, and it’s what keeps them coming back to camp year after year.

About Edward Carlson

Broadcast television engineer working in Los Angeles, CA.
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