From the Blog

How Food Service Has Become Part of the Fun at Camp Bernie

One thing that we all know about summer camp is that it is an easy way to work up an appetite. Thankfully, Chef Michael Bourland and the entire YMCA Camp Bernie staff have recognized this, and made the meals here a priority.


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We know that all of the campers and counselors will spend 3 hours a day in the dining hall, and therefore mealtimes are not just for eating, they are part of the experience of summer camp. This was emphasized even more so during the summer of 2012 as a few new traditions were started.
First of all, as documented in an earlier blog, we launched the cooking with Chef Michael free choice activity for summer 2012. In this four day class, the campers learned how to make Fruit Smoothies, Camp Bernie Mac & Cheese, Apple Muffins and Mozzarella Sticks. At the end of each session, we surveyed the kids and this activity came back as a favorite every time. Then again, the kids not only learned to cook but they got to sample their work so it’s not surprising.
The other new event in food service this summer was our brand new Wednesday All Camp Day Banquet to kick off the theme day festivities. Every “first” Wednesday during our two week overnight camp sessions, the leadership staff decorated the dining hall in the afternoon and the kitchen staff prepared a special menu to begin the All Camp Day Hype! 
For Medieval Mayhem, the dining hall was decorated like a Medieval Mess Hall, with the windows blacked out, candle lighting and Gregorian chant on the Sound System. The entertainment was provided by our Counselors in Training as they fought duels in the center of the room. Meanwhile, we were served homemade meat pies.
The Intergalactic Banquet was memorable too, as each camper was given their own alien antennae to wear and we witnessed an actual space transmission during the meal.
During session C, the London Color Wars theme gave us a chance to fly English flags from the mantle, set up Olympic Rings and a medal platform and serve Sheppard’s Pie (which the campers actually liked) plus Fish and Chips/Bangers and Mash on the actual All Camp Day later that week.
Finally, the session D Wild West Banquet was complete with Birch Beer, homemade barbeque, hush puppies and an entertaining skit involving the Ole Bernie sheriff and some outlaws plotting a train robbery.
We hope that the campers enjoyed these tasty new endeavors as much as we enjoyed putting them together. We’ll be cooking up plenty of new ideas for 2013, too!


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