Every summer, for three days, Congressional Day Camp turns into a see of orange and green. Why? For Congo Conquest! You may have heard about it from your campers or seen pictures of the wild and wonderful excitement we celebrate every year, but here is everything you need to know about Congo Conquest, and what makes it so special.
Congo Conquest is Congressional’s version of a summer camp color war. All of day camp—both campers and counselors—are divided into two teams: orange and green. Over three days of friendly competition, the two teams take part in a variety of activities to gain points for their team. At the end, we crown our conquest champions!
The camp-wide competition is a time-honored Congo tradition, dating back to the days when we were divided into red and white teams! (The old camp colors.) It is an exciting event for everyone involved, and always a highlight of the summer.
Check out all the reasons we love Congo Conquest!
1. There are new activities every day!
We celebrate Congo Conquest with new themed games at all of our activities to shake up the usual camp routine and get campers into the conquest spirit! At each station, there is an opportunity to win team points!
2. The counselors are the captains!
A group of fun, energetic, and enthusiastic group counselors and specialists lead the two teams every year. Orange and green teams have three captains each to cheer them on and hype them up throughout the competition!
3. We get awesome team names.
The Orange Charmanders vs. the Green Bulbasaurs, the Orange Loraxes vs. the Green Grinches. Every year, there are new names to cheer that set the theme for the competition!
4. Who doesn’t love friendly competition?
Each group is split into half green, half orange team. This means that at every activity, campers get to compete against—and with—their friends. It also gives them a chance to make new friends! Campers may earn points by winning competitions, but we always make sure to award extra points for sportsmanship.
5. Did you say silent lunch?
Otherwise known as every counselor’s favorite activity. On one of the three days, lunchtime is completely silent! Campers and counselors must order lunch, sit down, and eat together without a sound or they lose points for their team. They get a pass on saying please and thank you, just this once!
6. We remember to give back.
While campers rack up points from the soccer field to the ropes course, teams also collect points by collecting change for the annual Congo Conquest penny drive. Combining competition and generosity, campers raise of hundreds of dollars that are donated to charity at the end of the competition.
7. We learn new cheers!
Every morning, Congo Conquest captains start the day with a fun pep rally, complete with confetti, streamers, and orange and green morph suits, to teach their teams new cheers! The antics and excitement ensure spirits are high for the rest of the day.
8. Do you like face paint and hairspray?
We’ve got tons of it. Campers are encouraged to accessorize their green and orange camp shirts with all things in their team color. Green hair and orange faces become the new normal (only until they wash out)!
9. There’s so much camp spirit!
Between the pep rallies and the costumes, Congo Conquest is the most spirited time of the year! Everyone is always cheering—really, always—and the enthusiasm all over campus, all day long, is overwhelming. Campers are invested in their team’s success and excited to be a part of a camp-wide event. Some say Christmas, but I say Congo Conquest is the most wonderful time of the year, and that’s why!
10. When else do you get front row seats to a boat race?
At some point in the midst of all the cheering, captains find time to run to the hardware store and find supplies to build a boat! On the last day of Congo Conquest, campers line the water and fill up the pool deck to watch the two teams race their boats across the pool!
11. How about the closing ceremony?
There’s a lipsync, there’s dancing, there’s confetti, and—of course—there’s more cheering when we crown our Congo Conquest champions.
12. Most importantly, we celebrate our friends.
Win or lose, it’s all about having fun and making memories with friends. Every year, we end three long days of competition by celebrating the friends made along the way. Captains from each team present “friendship banners,” decorated with scenes of the two mascots together. The banners are painted with the help of all the campers on the two teams, and exchanged at the end of Congo Conquest. To cap off the competition, captains lead their teams in singing friendship songs they have written for each other. The banners and songs remind campers that although we are two Congo Conquest teams, we are one Congo Camp.
Next time you see campers dressed head to toe in green or orange, now you know why! They are celebrating camp spirit, friendly competition, and each other.