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The final week of Shadeland, dubbed “Tambura Week,” began like every week before it. Campers filed in on Sunday afternoon, reuniting with their friends and getting ready for a busy week preparing for the Diocesan Day picnic. The week started off with the bonfire on Sunday night, where the campers danced and sang to some of their favorite kolos and classic Serbian songs.

Monday marked the beginning of rehearsals for the program. This year’s directors were Nicole Bellich and Kristofer Vucelich, and they did an outstanding job getting the campers ready to perform in just one week. In addition to their music and dance classes, this week the campers took part in a poetry class, where they were taught to express themselves through writing poetry. The religion classes this week were taught by Father Vladislav Golic, Father George Veselinovic, and Father Dejan Barac. The older campers were so into their lessons this week that the priests hosted an extra religion class for them after hours one night, where they were able to ask more questions about the importance of prayer in our lives.

Monday night and Tuesday night had the same events as the other weeks, with the carnival and bowling trip, respectively.

Wednesday night, however, saw a slight change in events. Per camper request, the counselors cancelled the annual luau and instead, organized the first annual “Shadeland’s Got Talent” competition. Campers were able to sign up to perform in front of the rest of the camp any special talents that they possess, and a panel of four counselor judges picked the winner. This year’s winner was Julia Manser, who performed an original song, playing the ukulele and singing along with it. After that event concluded, the Tambura Week campers partook in a favorite tradition of theirs, the annual “Improv Night,” where they honed their comedy skills and had a few laughs together.

On Thursday, the campers took a break from preparing for Diocesan Day and headed to Waldameer Park, a favorite of theirs every year. They got to experience both the water park and the theme park all in one day. Friday brought the return of their preparation, however, as the campers spent the majority of the day running through the entire program and performing a sneak peek for the counselors and parents. This week, since Diocesan Day meant a full liturgy with His Grace Bishop Irinej in attendance, the counselors, with some help from a few parents, organized a camper choir, who rehearsed the liturgical music Friday afternoon.

Friday night brought the end of the week dance, where the campers celebrated completing their program and their last night together. Once Saturday came around, it was show time. To start, the camper choir sounded beautiful in church, beginning the day on a high note. After that, they put on a spectacular program, singing and playing four traditional Serbian songs and performing three beautiful folklore dances.

The entire camp season was celebrated, acknowledging the counselors who dedicated their summer to making sure the children who came to Shadeland had the time of their lives, the priests who volunteered their time to teach the campers about their religion, and the mothers, fathers, and other volunteers who kept camp running smoothly the entire month. Of course, the campers were also recognized, as we thanked them for coming back every year and making Shadeland the magical place that it is. As the camp season comes to a close, and we leave that gravel driveway for the last time this summer, we look forward to next year, when we can once again come to a place that feels like home. After all, like we all say, “All Roads Lead to Shadeland!”

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