Marvelous Mini's (Sessions 3 & 5, July 11)

By Sandy Schenck

We were so excited for our Session 5—“Mini” Session—campers to get here this morning! and we have had a magnificent day with them.  Campers and their families arrived in a steady stream from 9 am to 11 am, unpacking belongings into cabins and going through check-in at the Lodge.  After families left, cabin groups went on a tour of camp, seeing some of the places where campers will be taking activities over the next few days.  Then we all headed to the Lodge for lunch—we were hungry!

After lunch, we went to the Gazebo for one of the traditions of opening day at The Green River Preserve—the Respect Circle.  Sandy Schenck, founder of the The GRP, talks to us a little bit about his own childhood visits to the property and the folks from the region whom he came to know and love;  these folks were, in a sense, his counselors.  They taught him to respect himself, others in his community, and all living creatures, and he asks us to agree to do the same while we are here at camp.  We all vocalize our agreement—we go around the circle and everyone who agrees says, “I will!”  The Respect Circle helps us to establish expectations and set the tone for the session.

After the Respect Circle, campers came to the swim lake for our swim review; we also cover waterfront procedures.  Campers will have a buddy every time they come to swim, and they always need to wear shoes to and from the swim lake.  Campers played some games while everyone finished up the swim review, and then, after everyone had changed, we went up to the Lodge for a snack—freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!—and for afternoon activity sign-ups.  Over the next three days, campers will take six different activities; their choices include BB Skeet, Canoeing, Crafts, Field Games, Gardening, and Outdoor Cooking.

After some cabin time and a delicious dinner—fried chicken, yummy mashed potatoes (seriously, SO good!!), green beans, salad bar, rolls, and chocolate cake (and we also always have a vegetarian option, as well as pb & j out)—we ended the day with our Upper Council Fire.  We heard some readings, including “Chief Seattle’s Letter,” and sang some songs, and then Bob, one of our mentors, told a story; Bob always tells us crazy, funny stories—this one involved his aunt and uncle and cousin going to live on a deserted island with bears and bugs and “pahooties,” and how they tried to avoid coming down with the icky-icky disease….!  Now our Mini campers have all gone off to bed, to get some rest for what promises to be a big day tomorrow.

Our 3-weekers are out in the field, enjoying great weather for their camp-out.  They will mosey back into camp tomorrow morning, and we are sure to be entertained by their stories of adventures at lunch!

You can see some pictures from today here, including a fun shot of a Northern Water Snake eating a very large bullfrog tadpole.  (Most of the cabin pictures were taken today, but one we’ll get on Tuesday.)  We’ll keep you posted over the next few days about what’s going on at camp!

More photos from opening day were uploaded on Monday.