Capture the Flag

• On Thursday, we re-enact the Revolutionary War, Camp Ernst style. We even re-enact the Boston Tea party by throwing fake tea boxes into the lake.

• Finally, after listening to Revolutionary War music and setting up the game by reading the history (which is sympathetic to both sides and rallies both troops), the game starts … the Redcoats are red and American troops are blue.

o Counselors dressed as George Washington and King George wait at the jail for captured troops.

o Minor figures, such as Paul Revere and Sir William Howe, lead the campers in the field.

If you are an American and the British capture you, then you have to drink a cup of water and write an apology to the King. Campers wrote things such as, “I’m sorry for being American and really liking cheap tea!” or “I’m sorry my favorite colors are red, white and blue.” Of course, some campers would write, “I’m sorry, I think England smells like my armpits.”

The British troops who are caught have to apologize to George Washington and write things such as, “I’m sorry we prefer a monarchy” or “I’m sorry I call flashlights ‘torches.’”

The night ends with fireworks and music, and the whole game is a ton of fun! The best part is reading the funny apologies the next day.

Stuart MacKenzie is Program Coordinator at YMCA Camp Ernst in Burlington, Ky. He has been on Camp Ernst’s summer staff since 1999. He can be reached via e-mail at


Game Variations

OK, so maybe you aren’t as gung-ho about Capture the Flag as we are, but you’d like to change it a bit.

Here are some other variations:


Each camper gets two ping-pong balls (one side gets orange, the other white). The goal of the game is to throw your ping-pong balls into a ring on the other team’s side. If you get tagged on their side, you have to give them a ball and go to jail. If the other team throws your own ball in your own ring, it’s worth double.


• Orange ping-pong balls

• White ping-pong balls

• Spray-painted targets

• Paper

Wet Capture the Flag

Each camper gets a cup of water. The goal is to cross into enemy territory and make it into a 10-foot circle and pour the water in a bucket. The first team to fill up the other team’s bucket wins. (If you get tagged, you have to dump the water out and go to jail.)


• Bucket

• Water jugs

• Spray-painted circle

4-Way Capture the Flag

Our neighbors at YMCA Camp Kern play 4-way Capture the Flag. You have four teams, all competing to get each other’s flags.


• Two different-colored flags

• Paint

• Spray-painted circles

Possible Themes

• Dr. Phil vs. Oprah

• Hippies vs. the Man

• England vs. Scotland

• Punk Rockers vs. Hippies

• Smurfs vs. Leprechauns

• Chicken Patties vs. Grilled Cheese

• The American Colonies vs. England (on 4th of July)

• The Grinch vs. Santa

Jail Tips

To get out of jail, you must first drink one cup of water and then do one of the following:

• Dance the “Chicken Dance”

• Dance the “Macarena”

• Sing “I’m a Little Tea Pot”

• Dance an interpretive dance

• Recite Extreme Poetry

• Sing a Top 40 song

• Portray “Walk like an Egyptian”

• Give the person next to you three compliments (not about hair or being “”nice”)

• Do “The Robot”

• Dance a Russian folk dance

• Laugh for eight seconds

• Name a state capital

Camp Ernst Rules

1. The flag must be on the ground in the middle of the circle.

2. A camper must be the first person to touch the flag and bring it out of the circle. A counselor may carry the flag after that, but a camper must carry it across the middle line.

3. There must be a 20-foot radius around the flag without defenders in it. There can be a maximum of 10 people guarding the flag, and the defenders cannot be connected (holding hands, etc.) in any way.

4. If a camper gets tagged, he or she must go directly to the community jail on the memorial. There is only one jail.

5. If the flag is “captured” and the camper is tagged, the flag stays where it is dropped and cannot be moved by the defending team. A new 20-foot defender-free radius appears around the flag. When the flag is picked up, anyone inside the 20-foot circle can be tagged!

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

Related posts:

  1. Building Confidence
  2. Adventures in Oz
  3. Signs of Life & Warning Signs
  4. Campers Vs. Staff Members
  5. Top Programming Ideas 2003

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.

  • Columns & Features
  • Departments
  • Writers