By Sandy Schenck
Group Learning Projects were a great success today! We had several groups involved in learning projects in and around the Green River Preserve and the surrounding area. Our fly fishers stayed at Base Camp for the morning, practicing their casts and fishing in the lakes here. Then this afternoon, we took them down to Hemlock Field, where we met up with the Water Day group, and we all enjoyed a picnic lunch. The Water Day group had been exploring the Green River and learning about stream ecology; they had also caught some crawfish, and they cooked up a pot of them, so they could all take a taste. The fly fishers then stayed at Hemlock Field and fished the Green River, while the Water Day group came on back to Base Camp for swimming in the lake and a water-based obstacle course—off the zip line, swim to the dock, fill a bucket with water cup by cup…. Also staying in base camp today were our resident pie-makers, who baked the pies that we ate for dinner tonight. Homemade peach pies—crust from scratch, fresh peaches for the filling—scrumptious! Another group went tubing down the French Broad; we could not have had a prettier day for it, and they saw some amazing sights, including a bank full of gorgeous rhododendron blooms. Our basket makers headed out of camp for the first part of the day, gathering kudzu vines to use for baskets. When they returned to camp, they stripped the vines of leaves, made the base or framework out of the vines, and then wound the green vines in and out of the framework—voila! Charming baskets, each a unique shape and size. They also made Cherokee oak split baskets. Another group headed down to the Farm, where they spent the day building two bean tipi’s out of bamboo stalks. These are tall and are connected by a bamboo stalk, about 15 feet above the ground; it is designed to frame the entrance to the big garden down at the Farm, and it does so beautifully—a striking addition to the Farm. Our last group hiked out at Maybin Mountain. They bushwhacked up the south face, finding some cliffs from which they had a panoramic view of the Green River Valley.
Once campers returned to camp from their GLP’s, final night activities began. Campers first participated in several service projects around camp. Then they headed back to their cabins to get cleaned up and pack (it’s hard to believe they will be going home tomorrow). The pie-making group had also decorated the Lodge for our final night banquet, so we all ate dinner in “Coolsville,” surrounded by snowflakes and penguins. After dinner, our final evening program was an Upper Council Fire; we sang songs and, of course, heard a story from Bob. Campers who have returned for their fourth year were also recognized; they will receive a special Green River Preserve picture frame, a token of our appreciation for the time they have shared here with us. We finished the evening by the canoe lake, floating candleboats and listening to music played by several of our staff members. It was a quieter, more contemplative evening, which allowed us to think back on the many friends and memories we have made this session.
We will be sad to see our Session 1 campers go, but we are grateful for the time we have had together!