Seeking the Joy (Sessions 3 & 4, July 8)

By Sandy Schenck

One of our sayings here at the GRP is “Seek the Joy!” and today, campers and staff had some different venues for doing that.  Campers and staff had a fantastic time today on their respective Group Learning Projects (day-long activities of fun and discovery, centered around different themes).  We had several exciting options, with enough variety to suit anyone’s taste.

After breakfast, we all made a bag lunch, and then the different groups met up to begin their day.  Some groups stayed at Base Camp.  Beth, one of our directors, hosted cheese-making; they had fun making mozzarella, queso blanco, a dessert ricotta (with honey in it), and lemon cheese—in the words of one camper, “it’s a soft cheese, with a delicate hint of lemon in it—because you squeeze lemon juice into it!”  Campers who chose “A Day of Cognitive Thinking” stretched their brains with games like 4-person chess and Risk.  Our staff who love Ultimate Frisbee and field games spread their love through their “Day of the Disc” GLP—campers did some drills, played some Ultimate, and tried their luck at “laying back” and catching frisbees thrown to them as they jumped off the dock.  One group of campers opted to paint a bus—they turned our (new) ex-school bus into a much livelier paisley-covered magic-adventure-bus—we think, actually, that we’ll call it “Seek the Joy!”  Another group of campers chose to spend the day exploring a capella singing—first, they talked about which songs would sound good performed a capella; then they chose one, arranged it, and practiced.  We heard it tonight before dinner, and they sounded wonderful!  Our Outdoor Cooking GLP went up to the Upper Bald area and gathered ripe, plump blueberries; then they came back to the Pioneer Cabin and whipped up lunch—chili and cornbread—and some blueberry cobbler.  Other groups ventured off the Preserve; our canoeing enthusiasts paddled down the French Broad, and some serious hikers went the distance, making their way up to Rainbow Falls—5 miles in and 5 miles out.  We also took a group over to High Falls for painting “en plein air”—they set up outside and let nature inspire them.  The Hendersonville Times heard about this GLP, actually, and were so intrigued they sent someone out to get the story; as soon as the article comes out, we’ll post a link to it!

Tonight, for evening program, our two sessions split up.  Session 3, our 3-weekers, loaded up on buses after dinner and went up to see the sunset from Long Rock—the evening started off clear, but soon clouded over, but it’s a striking setting anyway, and our 3-weekers enjoyed the chance to just hang out together and listen to music.  Session 4 campers 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 our 2-weekers ended the evening with our candleboat ceremony.

You’ll find pictures from today’s adventures and joy here!

We have had so much fun with our Session 4 campers—we are sad to see them go—but we look forward to seeing them next year.  Tomorrow, our Session 3 campers are headed off to DuPont State Forest—we’ll have updates on their adventures as well as a final post about closing day for our Session 4 (2-week campers) tomorrow!