Oh, deer!!!! (Sessions 3 & 4, June 30)

By Sandy Schenck

Yet another exciting day here at the Green River Preserve—lots of fun on mentor hikes this morning!  We had many campers polar-bearing up at Uncle’s Falls; they also did the Salamander Crawl—a narrow, twisty tunnel-sort-of-cave close to the Falls that you slide through and slip out, getting muddy and perhaps seeing a salamander or two along the way.  Another couple of groups stayed in camp, working on their fire by friction at the Pioneer Cabin and climbing at the climbing tower—some campers even tried climbing blindfolded.  Our Farm mentor hike had quite a productive morning—they harvested 120 pounds of potatoes!  They also found several horned tomato worms, the guilty parties behind some of the eaten-through tomatoes on the vines at the farm.  Other mentor hikes practiced their stealth skills, stalking and “counting coup”—following other groups or animals as quickly and closely as possible, or watching them go by, without being seen.  One group explored a part of the Preserve closer to Base Camp, bushwhacking their way off and back onto trails.  They also found a really cool spider—they had been seeing these gigantic spider webs the whole way along their hike, and they finally found one with the spider in it—as yet unidentified, it’s fairly big, and fuzzy, and a sort of greyish-white color, with black dots on it—we’ll keep it a few days and try and figure out what it is, and then release it.  Another group had fun bushwhacking around the area around Long Rock—but their most exciting moment came when they saw a deer!  So now we are 3 out of 4, for a Grand Slam for this session—and with Camp-Out coming up, our chances are looking really good….!

After lunch—chicken burritos with all the fixings—salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, peppers—and rest hour, campers started a new round of activities.  Even though you wouldn’t think we would need to eat after that big lunch, outdoor cooking was cooking up a feast.  They made up “hobo packets”—potatoes, onions, zucchini, and squash in tin foil and baked over an open flame (and the potatoes, zucchini, and squash were from our Farm); they also scrambled some eggs from our chickens.  In outdoor skills, campers learned how to make a shelter, gathering sticks and leaves and building a rough lean-to out of them.  Fencers were out on the West Field; after practicing thrusts and parries, they got dramatic, staging elaborate fight-to-the-death scenes.  In the Low Challenge Course, campers worked together to get through the “spider web”  element.  We had several campers hit the bulls-eye in archery, and one camper caught a 17-inch trout in fly-fishing.  In A Bug’s Life, they were checking out, among other bugs, the Japanese beetles that are feasting on the flowers planted in front of the Mentor Lodge.

For tonight’s evening program, we met at the Lower Council Ring, in the East Field.  Campers and staff kept each other entertained with songs and stories.  We started with a camp favorite, “making” rain—everyone rubs their hands together, then snaps, then pats the top of their thighs, and then slaps the tops of their thighs—when the group does that, progressively through the semi-circle of the Lower Council Ring, it sounds like a thunderstorm.  Another favorite is the “Scat Rap”—“It starts with an s, and ends with a t… scat! scat! scat!”  We finished the evening with a drum circle, performed by members of one of the drumming activity periods, and then by singing “Sisters, Brothers”—how we traditionally close the day:

“Sisters, Brothers,

Let me tell you how I am feeling—

You have given me such treasures;

I love you so."

Campers and staff are now getting ready for a good night’s sleep—because tomorrow, we leave for Camp-Out!!  (Pictures from today are up!)