Epic GLP's! (Session 6, July 30)

By Sandy Schenck

Epic seems to be the word of the day for our GLP’s (Group Learning Projects), whether campers and staff stayed at the Preserve or whether they ventured into new terrain.  Several groups did stay here, exploring new ideas and building new skills.  Our “Yum Yum Eat’em Up” group spent the day at Beth and Paul’s house at Base Camp, thinking about new and different ways of cooking—specifically vegetarian dishes.  In their words, they made a lunch-time “feast of epicurean proportions!”  “Day of Food 2.0” was specifically not! vegetarian in its orientation—they utilized our new smokehouse, trying out a variety of food items—they smoked ribs, bacon, cheese, and some more ribs!  They also made apple cider and experimented with a crustless apple cobbler.  (We figure as long as you combine baked apples, sugar, and butter, it’s going to be pretty good!)  Another group stayed out at Bob’s cabin for the day, learning how to make fire by friction, which is a real challenge; they displayed immense patience and discipline in their pursuit of this skill.  “Day of the Disc” spent the morning practicing their throws and “laying out” off the dock—catching throws as they jumped from the dock into the swim lake.  Then, in the afternoon, they engaged in an epic Ultimate Frisbee game with our returning BRX Expeditioners.  Our Flute-Making GLP ended up with some beautiful flutes; they can now compose and play the soundtrack for our other epic adventures!  Our “Bio Blitz” tour hopped from location to location around the Preserve; their goal was to classify and record details about the various species of animals, specifically amphibians, living around The Preserve’s different habitats.  They found at least six different types of salamanders, including a green salamander, which we don’t often see around here.  Talk about epic; they feel like they barely scratched the surface, so they have begun a project that will go on for years.

Other groups sought adventure off the Preserve.  One group went canoeing at Cascade Lake; they canoed up to Hooker Falls and then hiked up to High Falls.  Our Fly Fishing group combined canoeing and fly fishing, taking canoes over to Lake Julia in DuPont State Forest.  They fished and swam and canoed, and they caught several fish.  One group went in search of The Fountain of Youth—which they found—a gorgeous waterfall on Maybin Mountain.    Our “Raven Cliff Falls” GLP crossed state lines, hiking to the tallest waterfall in South Carolina.  They had an epic hike, too, of about 8 or 9 miles.  All our groups came back tired and happy with their adventures!

After GLP’s finished, campers headed back to cabins to clean up and pack up.  Then we met in the Lodge for a festive final banquet, complete with a visit from our BRX Expeditioners and from Ortman and Scrappy, our superheroes who fight against ORT (aka food waste).  Then, we convened at the Upper Council Fire for our ceremonial final evening program.  At this campfire, campers place their “Spirit Stones” in a circle around the campfire.  They have been looking all session long for a stone that appeals to them, and they paint it with a design of their own; at the end of the summer, staff move all the Spirit Stones to a hillside right next to the Upper Council Fire site–so campers leave a piece of themselves at camp, in a sense, and any time they want to, they can return–to reconnect with the joy they found at camp.  We sang some songs and then heard a story from Bob, and then we ended the evening with our candleboat ceremony.

An epic evening, as befits an epic day and an epic session.  You can see pictures from today’s adventures here.  We have had a great time with our Session 6 campers, and we can’t believe it’s already time for them to go home.  We will miss them, but we will look forward to seeing them next year!