Although routine and rhythm are an integral part of the Camp DeSoto experience, special events offer a welcome break from the regular schedule and give the community a chance to play and celebrate together.
Each term has two big special event days. First Term celebrates Circus Day and the Fourth of July, and Second Term celebrates the Olympics and Summer Christmas. Other special events include Tribe Days, DeSotopalooza, Trip Day, and parties with Alpine.
From camper produced Tribe plays to the pomp of an Olympic competition, each event manages to thrill and excite while maintaining the spirit of simplicity that is characteristic of Camp DeSoto.
“At Camp DeSoto we love to play especially on Circus Day!” These words, which begin the Camp DeSoto Circus Song, perfectly describe the spirit of this First Term special event. Each camper signs up for a circus act and helps create a routine to perform in a two-ring Circus on the Campfire Quad. From dancing bears and lions to pantomimes and ribbon ball dancers, there are many thrilling acts to be a part of!
And no circus would be complete without your favorite carnival food. From animal crackers and lemonade to snow cones, cotton candy, giant soft pretzels and corn dogs, there is plenty to go around.
The night ends with a Night Light Show, a simple drama with a silent movie effect written and performed by campers under the Big Top in the Camp DeSoto gym.
The 4th of July
Camp DeSoto continues a tradition of celebrating the 4th of July during First Term, though our celebration often falls on a different day on the calendar!
This exciting day at Camp is full of red, white, and blue, patriotic songs, and an all-day summer celebration. In the morning, campers compete in a track meet on the playfield, wearing their tribe uniforms and competing in various relay races and a tug-of-war tournament.
In the afternoon, all of Camp is invited to an English County Fair! It begins with the presentation of the court and an archery tournament to determine who the King will be. Once a winner is crowned, everyone gathers in the gym to see the performances of the court jesters – junior campers chosen to entertain the King and Court with skits and songs.
After the pomp and ceremony of the royal court, everyone is invited to the County Fair on the lawn of the Gym! Staff members set up carnival booths for campers to enjoy, from face painting and cake walks to wagon rides and a county jail.
Following a picnic supper ( with watermelon for dessert, of course), everyone gathers on the playfield for 4th of July fireworks!
“Its a day of laughter, a day of cheer, competitions we wait for throughout the year, so put on your Tribe best and prepare for the test ‘cause its time for O-lym-pics!”
At the Camp DeSoto Olympics, the three tribes compete with one another in track and field events. The afternoon events kick off with an Opening Ceremony and the lighting of the Olympic torch, followed by a Track Meet on the playfield.
When the competition is complete, we celebrate with a Closing Ceremony in which each winner is presented with a gold medal, including the winning tribe.
I just wanted to thank you so much for all these unforgettable times, countless laughs, and incredible memories at DeSoto. I cannot even put into words how much Camp has taught me about God and his love. Y’all have no idea how much you and this place mean to me, so thank you.
Christmas in July
Christmas comes twice a year for Second Term campers!
The celebration begins with the arrival of Frosty the Snowman at Assembly on Christmas Eve. Juniors decorate the Gym for the Christmas Party and prepare a pageant to perform for the rest of Camp. Each camper creates a gift for her Secret Santa, and brings it to the Christmas party to wrap and leave under the tree or at her cabin “hearth.” Intermediate and Junior campers have a window decorating contest, and everyone dances to their favorite Christmas songs, before the juniors perform the Christmas Pageant and we all sing Christmas carols together.
After Night Activity, everyone in camp is invited to the barn to see the live nativity scene and hear the Christmas Story read aloud under the stars.
On Christmas morning, everyone rushes to the gym to open presents! Santa leaves a stocking for every girl, and cabin counselors give each camper a simple gift. Then Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to pass out the presents girls have made for their Secret Santas!
After an exciting morning of gifts and Christmas cheer, the celebration concludes with a Christmas feast at lunch and the oldest campers performing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in the Dining Hall