It was also their first time riding a REAL SCHOOLBUS! They loved it! Schoolbuses appear is so many children's books, a symbol of childhood and starting school... Living in Russia, they had never been on a bus. Even private schools in the USA occasionally use schoolbuses for field trips, etc., so Katya would have ridden one by now. The traffic is so bad at drop-off and pick-up that the camp provides the bus ride to a large parking lot near the school for a nominal fee.
The girls had a WONDERFUL day. When asked about what had been the best part of the day, they both thought swimming lessons were fantastic. Natalia also loved the "treasure haunt" they went on near the pond--where she found pineapples. Hmm. Perhaps "pinecones"? Katya delightfully surprised me by adding that her tutoring session had actually been even more fun than swimming!!! She LOVED it! I am soooooo glad (and relieved). Both girls have already made friends and they like their counselors. Katya was surprised--and happy--that there's even a Russian-American girl in her group. (Thankfully, though, they only spoke a teeny bit of Russian--just enough to show how cool it is to the other kids).
Even the girls' dolls are having fun at camp! My mom never gets to celebrate the girls' birthdays with them, so this year she decided to give them their presents early. (She wanted to get to see their faces instead of only seeing a picture). The girls already had Molly, the American Girl doll from 1944 Illinois; my mom got them her best friend, Emily, and their stage. Molly's father is an Army doctor serving in wartime London; Emily is a British girl who comes to live with Molly's family after her home is bombed.
I got them this background scenery book on ebay; it's great! You can open it to all different scenes: Molly's kitchen & bedroom; the local ice cream shop; her school and her summer camp. Knowing that these would be the girls' toys while in the US, I brought over some accessories that would go well (such as the campfire). I then cut some blue fabric to make the girls kerchiefs like their dolls'--and viola, Katya and Natalia's red shorts and white t-shirts suddenly became Camp Gowonagin uniforms, too!