One of our favorite games at summer camp was Giants-Wizards-Elves. It was like full-contact farkling, a mash up of Rock-Scissors-Paper and Red Rover with Freeze Tag. Can it get any better!? You can research the instructions on your own, but these are the key movements,

  • Teams huddle
  • They’re deciding if they’re going to be Giants, Wizards, or Elves
  • Now they line up, facing each other at half-court, to act out their team mascot after the warm-up routine,

Giants • Wizards • Elves!
Giants • Wizards • Elves!
Elves • Elves • Elves!

There’s a LOT of strategy actually, “EVERYONE starts as GIANTS, so WE HAVE to be WIZARDS. 1-2-3 Break!”

  • Giants stomp elves
  • Wizards electrocute Giants with magic
  • Elves sneak under Wizards’ fire

After the life-size farkle plays out, it’s an all-out game of freeze tag: winners chase losers to home base. It’s pandemonium and the hidden beauty of the game is,

  • If you’re tagged, you join the winning team
  • Teleporting you from distraught to contributor in a split-second
  • We were WIZARDS last time, now what?

We played Giants-Wizards-Elves as a team-building exercise on Day One, so participants could get accustomed to: victory & minor defeat, embarrassing humor (like running the wrong direction, acting out a wrong character, and wipeouts), plus building trust, working together, resolving conflict, rotating leaders, being assertive, letting others assert themselves, with a surprising lesson – the game never ends! The intent is building skills while having fun.

The Primary rule? Respect. You know what that looks like, no demeaning trash-talk, no tripping, there may even be a song about it. It’s brilliant.

“I’ll give you words” – Luke 21:15

by Galway Kinnell, Three Books (2002)

In the evening
haze darkening on the hills,
purple of the eternal,
a last bird crosses over,
flop flop,’ adoring
only the instant.

Nine years ago,
in a plane that rumbled all night
above the Atlantic,
I could see, lit up
by lightning bolts jumping out of it,
a thunderhead formed like the face
of my brother, looking down
on blue,
lightning-flashed moments of the Atlantic.

He used to tell me,
“What good is the day?
On some hill of despair
the bonfire
you kindle can light the great sky —
though it’s true, of course, to make it burn
you have to throw yourself in …”

Wind tears itself hollow
in the eaves of these ruins, ghost-flute
of snowdrifts
that build out there in the dark:
upside-down ravines
into which night sweeps
our cast wings, our ink-spattered feathers.

I listen.
I hear nothing. Only
the cow, the cow of such
hollowness, mooing
down the bones.

Is that a
rooster? He
thrashes in the snow
for a grain. Finds
it. Rips
it into
flames. Flaps. Crows.
bursting out of his brow.

How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work
to open ourselves, to be
the flames?

Title: This Is What You Came For
Artist: Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna (2016)

“God moves in mysterious ways,
her wonders to perform.
She plants her footsteps in the sea,
and rides upon the storm.”
– fm William Cowper


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