This month I interviewed veteran counselor, Kieran Flood. Read to see what West End means to him!
Do you have a nickname at camp?
I was “Flurd” for a couple years but people mostly call me by my name now.
What was your first year at camp, and what/who brought you to WEHC?
My first year was 2012. My mom is friends with the Moriarty family, who were at West End for a long time, so we found out about camp from them. My two older brothers first went in 2010 and then I went two years later when I was old enough.
How many years have you attended camp as a camper and counselor?
What are your first memories of West End?
My earliest memories from camp come from my first Desert War. I was on Fortune and during Color Rush in the morning, I guarded the path behind the 3’s with Jack Meaney. I don’t remember anything beyond that, but it was the first time I met Jack and he later went on to coach me in Color War three times.
What are your favorite activities at camp?
#1 is easily Prize or Consequence. I love the drama of the activity and how together the whole camp feels, and the prizes and consequences are always really fun to watch. It’s a really creative activity and a lot more important than people give it credit for. Desert War has always been one of my favorite activities too, and who doesn’t love Fortnite?
What is your favorite meal?
The absolute best meal I’ve had at camp was the chicken tenders we had in 2019, accompanied by the best fries we’ve ever had at camp. That meal made my Tuesday afternoons so much better. I had some great grilled cheeses this past summer as well.
What is your favorite memory?
In 2016, on one of the last nights of camp, my CIT and friend Alex Joseph was drinking an extra chocolate milk carton from the end of Color War. He said he got it from the kitchen but as a camper I was not allowed to go in there. I kept asking him if he would get me one and eventually he told me that he wouldn’t and that I should stop asking.
That night, he stopped by the bunk and called me outside, pretending to be mad at me for something. I walked outside unsure and really scared about what I did, and he surprised me with a carton of chocolate milk. I’ve had a lot of great moments at West End but nothing could ever compare to how I felt in that moment.
What keeps you coming back to WEHC?
I love a lot about camp, but the answer to this question has to be the people. I’ve met so many great people across my years at West End, and there’s something really special about seeing everyone come back year after year.
When I was a camper, there were so many great staff that I looked up to who really made me feel like a part of West End. Now that I’m staff myself I get to be on the other side of that, and watch kids I’ve known since I was a camper go through the same milestones I did, whether it’s their first year of senior leagues or becoming staff themselves.
Funniest story from or about camp?
I have a lot of funny memories from camp but the one that’s coming to mind for me happened during Song Night Practice for White Ignition during Color War in 2016. I don’t remember every detail, but some camper on our team was playing with a Rubik’s Cube instead of practicing the songs so our High Senior Captains took it away. He started to sing and eventually, in the middle of the song, our HSC tossed it back to him, but it hit the moving fan in the mess hall and broke into dozens of pieces that flew all over the Mess Hall. It was impossible to ignore so our practice came to an immediate halt and it completely broke all the tension during the end of a long war. People were finding pieces of that Rubik’s Cube until the end of the summer.
Best Color War memory?
Color War skit practice in general is just the single most fun thing at camp. I had the honor of playing Danny Walsh on Ignition and every time we got called out of Song Night Practice for Skit Practice it was the best feeling. We had a great group of people in that skit. My Low Senior Soccer game on Hustle was equally unforgettable.
A life lesson you learned at camp?
I learned what it’s like to be independent and away from everything I know at home at such a young age and I think that’s definitely helped me in life as I’ve gotten older.
Bill Margolin’s influence on your life?
Bill has been such a constant in my life over the past ten years. He’s always doing the little things to make sure camp runs as well as possible and I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older and older. This past summer, I had the pleasure of working with him on the start of Color War and even though it didn’t go perfectly to plan, I feel like there’s still so much I could learn about camp from him.
Example of how important it is to be “one of the boys”?
I think how important it is to be one of the boys was really apparent at the start of camp this summer when everyone had come back after not seeing each other for so long because of COVID. There were so many people who I hadn’t talked to or seen at all in two years that I was immediately able to pick up where I left off with. It felt like camp immediately went back to how it always was.
Example of a random West End connection/run in?
When I first arrived at college as a freshman, the literal second person I talked to was a really good friend of someone in my Gottlieb.
Thunder is the best Desert War team of all time