Summer Traditions

Summer School Traditions

Founded in 1902, The Culver Summer Schools and Camps are full of many rich traditions. From Opening Ceremony to Final Ball, today’s campers are eager to continue Culver’s legacy while creating new traditions of their own.

Independence Day Ceremony

Campers, staff and people from the local community gather at the Riding Hall Terrace each July 4th for a patriotic performance, presentation and salute of the Flags of the original 13 Colonies, the annual fireworks display, and a special appearance by General George Washington.

Moonlight Serenade

Members of the Naval Band, Concert Band and Jazz Band board the square rigged flagship of the Culver Summer Naval School fleet, the RH Ledbetter under the full moon to serenade town and lake residents and the traditional flotilla of boats, by playing old favorite tunes along the East and West shores of Lake Maxinkuckee. This tradition began in 1942 aboard the OW Fowler, the predecessor to the Ledbetter.

Garrison and Retreat Parades

Every Tuesday and Thursday in the Upper Camp and every Thursday in the Woodcraft Camp, campers perform a formal Retreat ceremony to officially mark the closing of the day. On Saturday evenings at 7:00 PM, Woodcraft and Upper Camps join for the full Garrison Parade on the Riding Hall Terrace, with all 1,400 campers on review.

Naval Band plays Anchors Aweigh in Sally Port following Retreat and Parade

Following Retreat and Garrison Parades, the Naval Band marches to Sally Port, pauses and plays Anchors Aweigh to the delight of the children and adults who race to stand in Sally Port and literally "feel the beat".

Upper Camp Troop and Deck 7 Girls' Hikes

The Summer School of Horsemanship and the girls enrolled in the horsemanship deck take turns camping out in the tradition of the US Cavalry. Highlights include the ride to the camp site, living in old-fashioned Cavalry style tents, taking care of the horses in the field, cooking out, games and activities on horseback, campfires and sing-alongs.

Upper Camp Air/Cav Pegasus Drill and Challenge

The annual competition between the Troop and Aviation units includes a squad drill competition on the final Monday of camp viewed by the entire Upper Camp and a teamwork challenge course the following evening, both components of the annual Pegasus Award for the best unit in the Air/Cav Battalion.

Upper Camp Girls' Great Race

Girls Decks compete in a relay that incorporates signature strengths of the Culver Summer School for Girls-- teamwork, spirit, fun and purpose -- into a relay that includes each member of the Deck in Naval and athletic events, culminating in the each Deck singing their Deck song when their last runner arrives.

Upper Camp Naval School Communications Relay

The Communications Relay for the Naval Companies tests the skill of each group in the areas of Naval Competition: Code flags, semaphore and signaling, Wherries, surfboats, kayaks, sailing, and cryptography in an intense relay that involves every member of the Company and reaffirms the Culver focus on TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More.

Woodcraft Drill-down

A show and competition of military maneuvers led by our Military Director.  Precision and confidence are prominent in this event.

Final Ball and Officer's Figure

The Final Ball is the formal dance on the last evening of the Summer Camp session. The Officer's Figure is a traditional military "grand march" for Officers and dates.