Fortitude (Sessions 3 & 4, June 29)

By Sandy Schenck

Early in the 20th century, Earnest Seaton, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts, wrote the “Woodcraft Laws,” and they are big part of the value system here at the Green River Preserve.  These “laws” revolve around 4 basic concepts—Beauty, Truth, Fortitude, and Love.  Today, campers lived up to the main principle of Fortitude:  “Be brave.  Courage is the noblest of all attainments.”  They threw themselves into their mentor hikes with gusto.  After a hearty breakfast—sausage, biscuits, jelly, fresh fruit (including blueberries and blackberries!), cereal, yogurt—campers began scaling climbing towers and mountains.  We had a couple of groups at the climbing tower and the Pioneer Cabin.  Many campers managed to climb all the way to the top of the tower, where they rang the bell that’s up there; others pushed their limits as far as possible.  Other campers went up to the Indian Cave; the Cave has three rooms, and to get into one, you have to slither through a narrow tunnel, on your stomach.  Campers tested their limits there by navigating without a light.  Another group hiked up to Uncle’s Falls, where they polar-beared, braving the cold water—and they also saw “about a thousand salamanders.”  Two different groups bushwhacked and “creekwhacked”—our new term for hiking up through a creek!—their way to their final destination points, Emerald Falls and the Spire, respectively.  Hiking through or up a creek is challenging but fun; it requires a lot of team work and communication.  Emerald Falls is a beautiful, well, waterfall, and the Spire is a jutting rocky point, from which you get a gorgeous view of the Green River valley.  Campers were brave today, and they worked well together, and they were rewarded for it!

After lunch and rest hour, afternoon activities began.  In crafts, campers are making really pretty vases by covering mason jars with a sort of papier-mache made out of brightly colored tissue paper—opaque yet vivid at the same time, if that’s possible, pinks, blues, and purples.  They are also re-making the basic clay flower pot, covering them with pieces and snippets from old National Geographic magazines for a collage effect.  Their only problem, they report, is that they keep getting distracted by the magazine articles themselves and stopping to read!  Inclement weather shifted some of our activities indoors, but field games managed to get on the West Field for some ultimate frisbee (we have a lot of serious ultimate frisbee players on staff, and they are doing their best to foster that love in campers!).  Our fencers were also able to practice their thrusts and parries outside, spreading out over the West Field.  In “A Bug’s Life,” campers collected some cool bugs, including a gorgeous yellow dragonfly that rested on a camper’s hand for about 20 minutes.  So, there was some Beauty, Truth, and Love around camp today, too!

We will finish the day with a camp-wide game of Predator/Prey.  In this simulation game, campers gain a new understanding of fortitude–from an animal’s perspective.  Campers and staff are assigned categories of animals, ranging from insect to hawk.  Most of the “animals” dress in camouflage; the “hawks,” however, are required to wear brightly-colored clothing.  These animal groups run all around Base Camp, “foraging” for resources; they can also capture members of other groups and absorb them into their group.  When the game is over, we’ll discuss strategies animals use for evading predators, including hiding, running, and camouflage.

You’ll find pictures from today here—we hope you enjoy looking at the pictures as much as we enjoy making them!