Session 2 Monday, June 14
By Sandy Schenck
Session 2 campers were up and at it early, for our first full day of activities! We all ate a hearty breakfast—pancakes, eggs, fresh fruit, cereal bar (a variety of cereals dispensed by our “cereal robot”—and you have to say that in a mechanical tone, with robotic arm gestures—and there’s always milk, soy milk, and yogurt available). Then campers and staff headed back to cabins to get what they needed for mentor hikes—appropriate footwear, water bottle, raincoat, etc. Then they were off!
One of our groups hiked up to the Balds—Upper and Lower “bald” rockfaces on the side of the mountain, with a beautiful view of the Green River Valley. Along the way, they practiced their stalking, stopped to look at grasshoppers, and ate some wild blueberries, which are ripe just about now. Another group hiked up to the Indian Cave, so named because local legend has it that Native Americans used to use it as a hiding place. The Cave has three rooms, and it can be kind of spooky to go in there, so we admire our campers for their fortitude in venturing in, and they receive a “bravery bead” as recognition. But once you get in there, it’s really cool. Another group hiked out at our Reasonover Creek site; they tried a quiet hike, where they hiked along in silence, trying to make as little noise as possible and practicing their observation skills. It paid off, since they saw a deer, the first animal toward a Grand Slam for this session! (When campers and staff have seen a turkey, a bear, a deer, and a venomous snake, that’s a Grand Slam, and we celebrate with fireworks and an ice cream party.) A couple of mentor hikes stayed in camp; one group headed for our Tipi site, where they helped put the Tipi canvas over the framework of poles that had been set up previously. Another group split their time between our Pioneer Cabin, where they learned how to make fire the old-fashioned way, with flint and steel, and the climbing wall. (Check out pictures!)
After such a busy morning, campers and staff welcomed lunch (creamy tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, pears, and always a salad bar) and rest hour. Then we headed to our first round of activities. Some campers are taking pottery—we offer both wheel and hand—and so they were hard at work on bowls, cups, ceramic snakes…. Drummers practiced following the leader, repeating the beat tapped out by the leader. Another group was in the Craft Lodge, drawing pictures from photographs of wildlife—one camper was carefully coloring in the red band on the throat of the hummingbird he had sketched. Inclement weather had set in by the middle of activity periods; usually drawing/painting heads outside for inspiration. But they’ll try that tomorrow! While one group of canoers got to practice their strokes and steering in the water, the second period of canoeing headed up to the Lodge, where they turned one of the dining hall tables into their boat, and with two campers sitting on each side, they practiced their strokes by “air-paddling.” Outdoor skills hung out on the porch of our Pioneer Cabin, where they bound clusters of twigs and pine needles or leaves together with twine—presto! old-fashioned brooms and fans!
After dinner—spaghetti, French bread, vegetable medley, salad bar, and brownies for dessert—we met in the Lodge for the Upper Council Fire, one of the more ceremonial nights of camp. Sandy Schenck tells campers about some camp traditions, including Spirit Stones—each camper will look for a rock while they are here at camp, and toward the end of camp, they paint and decorate the rock they have chosen. They then bring this rock to the last Upper Council Fire, where they put it around the campfire. At the end of the summer, staff move all the Spirit Stones from the summer, which have accumulated in a large circle around the Upper Council campfire, to the side of the hill close to the Upper Council Fire. Campers returning year after year will be reminded of the way in which they were and are a part of camp. We also hear some readings and sing some songs. The evening ends with a story from Bob. Tonight’s story involved a deer seatbuckled into the front seat of his car, butterflies, and a rodeo….
What a fun day—we are looking forward to another great day tomorrow at The Green River Preserve!