By David Churchman
Shrine Mont has nine different camps, any three or four of which are in session on any given day of the summer. Each cater to different interests and types of campers, but they all form one camp program, working towards a common mission. When possible, camps try to work and play together to remind campers that they are a part of this larger program. One particularly good vehicle for camp collaboration is King Ball.
King Ball is variation of capture the flag, but players don't have to go to jail when tagged. Rather, they freeze where they were tagged until someone from their team rescues them, and the person who frees them gains three seconds of immunity where they cannot be tagged. This creates opportunities for teamwork where the players who got tagged are as valuable as the players still running around, because each of them is a new source of immunity for their teammate. This means that a variety of types of players are valuable: of course the speed demons are essential for capturing the king ball, but those willing to get tagged and wait, or to stay behind and guard the team king ball are also invaluable.
The other crucial variation is rather than two teams, as in regular capture the flag, there are four. The game is not over until all four king balls are captured, which means that any given time, there might be whole teams who have already lost their king ball and are freed up from playing any defense. Teams that have already captured multiple king balls become targets for other teams, and the tides turn quickly. This creates an exciting equilibrium of game play that often does not generate a definitive winner when the teams are relatively balanced. It's the perfect sport to model collaboration and good sportsmanship, and it offers success to many types of players.
By David Churchman
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.