Avast, me hearties! (or is it ahoy?!?!) (Session 2, June 21)

By Sandy Schenck

Shiver me timbers!  We were invaded by pirates tonight, for Pirate Night.  The rest of the day, even though we were landlubbers, we were still looking for treasures with our mateys.  Yo ho ho!

Our Uncle’s Falls mentor hike found a really cool treasure—a unique moth—giant, all white with black circles.  They also did the Salamander Crawl—up at Uncle’s, there’s the Salamander Cave, which is a cave with a lot of salamanders—very cool—and there’s also the Salamander Crawl—a very narrow cave that you enter in one place, slither through, maybe see a salamander along the way, slide up, twist a bit, and slip out another opening, that’s closer to the pool of water at the bottom of the waterfall.  You get a little bit dirty, but it’s really cool—both temperature-wise and interest-level-wise.  They also caught a big crawfish, and then they watched as it did a handstand on the mentor’s hand—it pinched his hand with its claws and held itself straight up.   Another group visited our Farm, where they found other types of treasures.  They helped harvest potatoes—a whopping 67 pounds of them!  When you’re exploring down at the Farm, you often also find archaeological treasures like arrowheads and spearheads.  We have found evidence that the Farm site was inhabited as long ago as 7000 BCE.  Today, one camper found a beautiful spearhead, and another found a uniquely shaped rock that was likely used as a scraper, to prepare skins.  Other mentor hike groups stayed in camp; at the climbing tower, lots of campers had fun getting to the top of the wall—including at least one who is afraid of heights.  But she pushed on through and worked her way up, trying out different moves and strategies when she got to the tougher spots.

After lunch—er, grub, me hearties—cheese quesadillas with salsa, vegetable soup, eggplant fries, pears and blueberries, and salad bar—and rest hour, campers finished their third rotation of activities.  In crafts, campers are making their own treasures—making vases out of old Snapple bottles—they use colored tissue paper to apply a sort of papier-mache covering, for a brightly-colored and slightly opaque finish.  Today they were also working on gardening pots, using pictures from old National Geographic magazines to cover the pots with bits and snippets of snapshots, for a collage effect.  Re-inventing your basic clay pot!  Fencers learned some new moves, and then they held a mini-tournament—fortunately, no one had to walk the gangplank (groan, sorry!).  Outdoor cooking tried their hand at cornbread—there’s nothing like cornbread baked in an iron skillet over an open fire.  In fly-tying, campers designed and made flies of their own choice, such as “The Undertaker.”

At free time, campers gathered in the Lodge to hear about, and sign up for, their options for GLP’s—coming up in just a few days!  The day before camp ends, campers will be out all day on Group Learning Projects.  Staff design these days to incorporate fun and learning; some of campers’ choices for this session include an all-day canoeing trip, an all-day hiking trip, a “day of Zen” (learning about Tai Chi, meditation, and making smoothies that are both yummy and good for you), and a day of fly-fishing.  We’ll let you know how those go!

Then campers and staff went back to their cabins and put on their best pirate gear—scarves, eye-patches, stripe-y shirts, cut-off pants—and we also had cabins dressed like Peter Pan and the Lost Boys and Girls—and came to a dressed up Lodge—decorated, of course, with a skull-and-crossbones flag!  We dimmed the lights, put candles on the tables, and played the soundtrack from Pirates of the Caribbean.  There were also lots of “Huzzah” ’s and “Arrgghhh!” ’s being tossed around.  We have a lot of favorites here at the GRP, but Pirate Night is definitely up at the top of that list.

For evening program, campers searched for yet another type of treasure—Staff Hunt!  Half the staff hid, and cabin groups searched high and low around camp for them.  Staff are worth points based on how many years they have been at the GRP—# of years x 100—so anywhere from 100 to 1200 points!  At the end of the night, there was some walking of the plank, or, as we chant here, “Brian goes… in the Lake!  Brian goes… in the Lake!  Brian goes… in the Lake!”  We are sure our staff loved their chance for an evening dip in the lake!

Ah, but now everyone is back in their cabins, getting them shipshape for the night…. and for another day of fun tomorrow!  (You’ll find pictures from today here!)