A Happy 4th at the GRP! (Sessions 3 & 4, July 4)

By Sandy Schenck

Happy 4th of July to the GRP community!  Campers and staff came to breakfast in red, white, and blue, and we have celebrated the whole day long.  After a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, fresh fruit, and cereal, everyone set out on mentor hikes.  Our polar bears up at Uncle’s Falls were patriotic, yelling “America!” three times instead of the standard “polar bear!”  Another group hiked over to Fawn Lake and went swimming in the “watering hole”—aka, Fawn Lake; along the way, they discovered a gigantic luna moth whom they thought bore a distinct resemblance to Benjamin Franklin.  On other hikes, they were re-living pioneer days; at the Pioneer Cabin, they were practicing their fire-making skills, using flint and steel, and down at the Hemlock Grove, they found the vestiges of the old cabin that used to be down there, as well as the burial ground that’s in that area.  Another group went to their starting point blindfolded; then they relied on map and compass to get them back to Base Camp.  They were also practicing their stalking skills, since they were able to “count coup” on another mentor hike (watch them go by without being noticed themselves).

After barbecue for lunch and rest hour, campers and staff started a new round of activities.  Campers in Nature Art looked at the work of Andy Goldsworthy, and then set about coming up with their own creations.  One camper made a really beautiful nature art sculpture—it had a tall, slender pine cone standing straight up in the middle, and then she surrounded it with a ring of stones, and then a spiral of leaves and twigs, forming an intriguing geometric pattern.  In outdoor cooking, they made a fire and then cooked up some caramel corn—popcorn covered in caramel—and scrambled some eggs from our chickens.  In outdoor skills, they built lean-to’s out of branches and leaves.  In “Tree of Life,” a new activity, campers looked at various plants and trees, talking about similarities and differences and how they would classify them.  In yoga, campers stretched out on mats in the Gazebo, enjoying the breeze and the shade.  Stretching our minds and stretching our bodies!

After a hamburger cook-out for dinner, we all gathered on the West Field for a 4th of July carnival coordinated by our co-counselors.  Campers participated in relay races, like the sack race; they spit watermelon seeds as far as they could and guessed how many jellybeans were in the mason jar.  Eating doughnuts off a string with no hands was a popular option, too!  After the carnival wrapped up, we gathered on the hill next to the canoe lake and watched a spectacular fireworks show.

We’ve had a fabulous 4th—you can see some pictures of our fun here!