By Katherine Charters, Camp Gallagher Staff Member
“Lemming Run” as defined by the Gallagher Glossary refers “to running in and dunking, or diving into the Sound with a group of people holding hands. Can take place at any time, but most often is called a Lemming Run when it is done in the wee morning hours or other foolish or inappropriate times.”
Why would someone choose to leave their cozy sleeping bag, put on a (probably) wet, cold swimsuit and run into the water in the wee hours of the morning? Here are the top 5 reasons why a Lemming Run is an exhilarating challenge you must try at Camp Gallagher.
5. No Alarm Needed
If during the school year you have learned to loathe the snooze button, the simple remedy for you is the Lemming Run. Instead of a gentle song from a smartphone waking you out of slumber, you may find fellow campers and staff shouting at the top of their lungs down in main camp that it’s time to LEMMING RUN! Surely it must be an exciting enough activity to get you out of your cozy sleeping bag - why else would they be yelling?
4. Wildlife Viewing
On your way down the hill to main camp, you may encounter some early morning wildlife gawking at you in your swimsuit and towel. Darren the Heron will squawk as you disrupt his sleep and Rocky the Raccoon will look annoyed that you interrupt her breakfast in the lagoon. Stop and appreciate these residents of Gallagher; it is rarely quiet enough at camp to witness these wild animals in their natural habitat. The others Lemming Runners will wait for you, if impatiently, before the morning dunk.
3. Make a Buddy
Once at the water’s edge, drop everything on the field and join fellow staff and campers on the beach. If you were the brave, lone member of your cabin or lodge to come down the hill this morning, never fear! In order for the Lemming Run to be “official,” (see the Gallagher Glossary definition), everyone joins hands to run into the water. This is the perfect opportunity to make a new friend because everyone in camp is looking their best with bedhead and sand in their eyes, shivering in damp swimsuits and the morning breeze. So grab hands with the person next to you and introduce yourself!
2. Feel ALIVE!
Whether it’s windy waves or a whispering tide, dig those toes into the sand and clutch the palm of the person next to you, because it’s time for the giant, joyous countdown and full-on splash run towards the buoys. Overcome the fear of discomfort and jump in! I recommend head and arms first, fully under the surface, or the ol’ stand and dunk, to get the full experience. When you surface, the air will feel warmer as you stand in the shallows and wade your way back to the beach. Shouts of “It feels so good to be ALIVE!” and “Wa-wa-wakikaya!” will ring on the still sleeping hills. The tingling cold, adrenaline, and excitement will set in motion another adventure-filled day at Gallagher!
1. Hose Shower
Did you say hose shower??? While there is always the promise of hot shower in the Shower House if you choose to do the Lemming Run, the preferred method of finishing off the morning adventure is a hose shower. What better way to rinse off the salt than being sprayed by fresh water out of the hose?! Whether your preferred setting is ‘jet,’ ‘shower,’ or ‘mist,’ it’s bound to be a bracing good time. Plus, you get to enjoy the wafting smells of breakfast - pancakes, French toast, maybe cinnamon rolls - before anyone else! And, if hose showers really aren’t your thing, the Shower House promises to warm up your toes and leave you feeling clean and ready for the day.
I challenged myself one summer to do the Lemming Run every morning, and never once did I regret it. Truly nothing is as exhilarating and refreshing as a Lemming Run to wake up the Gallagher spirit and dive-in to the rest of the day’s activities. You can choose to grow by overcoming fears and making new friends, so just say yes! Don’t be afraid of the cold; run into the salty Sound and feel alive!