Variety is the Spice of Life... (Sessions 3 & 4, July 6)

By Sandy Schenck

…and while we have our routines here at the GRP, we try to spice it up, too, with variety.  After a big breakfast—sausage and biscuits, oatmeal, fresh fruit (including some gi-normous blackberries), and cereal bar—we embarked on another round of mentor hikes.  Down at the Farm, we harvested some cucumbers and some sweet peas; we also gathered 14 pounds of kale—a novelty green for many—and we’ll see that on our tables here for dinner, soon.  Campers and staff also constructed small tipi’s, by lashing bamboo poles together with twine; these will be trellises for growing sponge-plants.  That’s right—you can grow sponges in your garden!  and we’re going to try it out.  Our Uncle’s Falls hikers polar beared and explored the Salamander Cave.  They also report seeing an inordinate amount of termites and spider webs on their way up.  Other groups departed on adventures to Emerald Falls and Bear Rock; these hikes are a little off the beaten path, so to speak, and you do a lot of bushwhacking.  The Bear Rock hike, in particular, was intense in terms of the scrambling—lots of campers showing lots of fortitude, and then reporting that it was “the most awesomest hike” they had ever been on.  They saw lots of signs of bears—bear scat and bear prints—but still no bear.  Maybe we’ll see one tomorrow—that’s the last variety of animal we need for a Grand Slam for this session.

This afternoon, we moved into our last round of activities.  Some campers were trying out juggling.  Today they learned the basic juggling techniques; they threw in a bit of hula hooping, too, just for fun.  Then they tried some juggling races.  In Tai Chi, campers learned about dantien—connecting to your center when you breathe; then they learned chee kung (deep breathing exercises).   Then they moved through the 18-form Tai Chi.  In printmaking, campers were carving pictures into linoleum blocks; when you ink the blocks, you can print copies of what you’ve written or drawn.  We’ll see how the final prints turn out tomorrow!

We finished up the evening with the Camper Variety Show.  We are always excited for the Variety Show—it’s a great venue for campers to showcase their many and, well, varied, talents.  We had some really amazing performances tonight.  Several campers played guitar and sang, including performances of everything ranging from Anna Nalick’s “Breathe” to Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song” to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  Another camper played a few selections on her cello, including “The Moldau” and a sonetina.  One camper played a song she had written—“Back in the Love.”  We also had a couple of dramatic performances; two campers enacted a scene from The Princess Bride that they had adapted to fit the Green River Preserve, and another camper recited Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” while two of her friends acted it out behind her.  Another camper demonstrated her skills with luna sticks, and another showed us the new levels that hula hooping can be taken to.

You’ll find some pictures from today here.  Tomorrow is our last regular day of activities, and then the next day (Thursday) will be GLP’s—group learning projects.  We’ll keep you posted on all the excitement!