If it takes a village to raise a child, then Gambier is raising a lot of children – and adults – this summer. The docket of summer programming is jam-packed with everything from martial arts camps to faith groups to barbershop quartets.
“It’s a different pace and a different vibe in the summer, but I think it works well,” said Barbara Kakiris, manager of sales and marketing for summer programs. “Everyone basically works together as a team to make Kenyon a great place to be over the summer.”
More than 500 members of the Ohio chapter of the Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO), a group that advocates education for women, came to Kenyon for its convention in June, as did the Barbershop Harmony Society that has been coming to campus for 36 years.
“A lot of people want to come back because of the campus itself,” said Steve Waggoner, vice president of music and performance for the Johnny Appleseed District, which includes all Ohio chapters of the Barbershop Harmony Society. “Other than the obvious things like the educational opportunities, it offers great times for fun and fellowship in a really relaxed atmosphere.”
Don Campbell, professor of music at Southern Wesleyan University, directed the barbershop’s “mega chorus,” in June, which has delighted residents for years — though the camp as a whole bears a range of talents. “Some of them sing pretty well and some of them sing pretty averagely,” Campbell said, “but they all love to sing together.”
Squash camps have been popular at Kenyon the last few summers, thanks in part to the Kenyon Athletic Center facilities, and this year is no different, with four camps coming in July. Last year was the first time on campus for the National Urban Squash + Education Association, some members of which hand-wrote thank-you letters to Kakiris.
“Even though it’s Kenyon, the groups feel the ability to strongly have their own identity here,” Kakiris said. “To me, the uniqueness of Kenyon as a venue for conferences and events is that especially in terms of our creative clients, it offers that beautiful world of retreat, where they can focus on matters at hand.”