Origins: Planning Meeting

Winter Camp I had no planning meeting and no participants meeting until the morning they departed for Camp. It was (needless to say) unique amongst all the Winter Camps in this regard.

Beginning with Winter Camp II there has been a planing meeting for every Winter Camp. The meeting date was not designated as the Friday following Thanksgiving until Winter Camp IV.

The first planning meeting was an informal gathering of a few people who had been at Winter Camp I. They got together to discuss some ideas for Winter Camp and to create the schedule and menu for the event.

For the first time, the meals weren't just food. There was a theme to each meal which was even more important than the food. Some of those themes (like the Caveman Dinner) are still with us. They also scheduled a number of activities which have gone on to become Winter Camp classics.

During the meeting, the members discussed the new measurement system created by Mr. Rand. Described as a universal system, Jeff's measurements were named based on his personal experience and whims. One of the more unusual units was the unit of time, called a jiffy.

As the members toyed with the idea of spending several "jiffy's" to do something, the Laurel and Hardy film "Blockheads" played on a nearby TV set. The planners suddenly heard the word jiffy on TV and began to pay more attention to the movie. Imagine their surprise when a disgusted Laurel asked Hardy how many Jiffy's it would take to climb the steps.

The movie also provided the cost for the second Winter Camp, $13.13. It was the address of Hardy's apartment in the film. At the time, $13.13 was just a whim, but it's gone on to become traditional that the price be a multiple of $1.01.

Planning for Winter Camp III commenced almost right after Winter Camp II, with a discussion of suggested improvements for (what else?) Capture the Objective. This planning session was rather informal, and was done by just filling in items on a schedule.

Winter Camp IV marked the standard for all planning sessions to come. Not only was it the first one to be held on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but it also followed the now given format. Members sat in a rough circle and proposed new ideas, then voted on all of them afterwards. Some of the bad ideas from this session are still with us.

Winter Camp planning remained the same for the next 14 years, with the meeting gradually taking longer and eventually spilling over into Saturday. Marathons at Winter Camps XII and XIII lasted over 12 hours. Finally. after the grueling marathon at Winter it was decided that a change was due. Apart from the demands of these marathon sessions, members were beginning to realize that there just wasn't enough time to get everything done between Thanksgiving and many things were thought of for one camp and not executed until the following one.

Finally, Lou Pezet put his foot down for Winter Camp XIV in 1990. He seized control in September and announced a planning meeting for the, menu in October. At the meeting, he and his infinite wisdom presented the old and new ideas for themes and decided on a menu. They also determined the form of government to be used for Winter Camp XIV. These two seemingly small tasks have taken a lot of the crunch for time out of the holiday season.

Update:

Lou's initiatives for Winter Camp XIV were promptly forgotten by Winter Camp XIV and were not reinstated until Winter Camp XXII.

Somewhere along the way, the Dead List was created and contained any activity or meal which received less than half the votes the previous year or which had already been dead. Although this did nothing to stem the tide of new bad ideas, it at least meant we only had to vote on them once.

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