A Beautiful Day Filled With Critters, Art, and Movement (when is camp not moving!?)

Dear Parents & Friends,

I was truly a spectacular day here at camp.  No rain and hot this afternoon and the weather was great.  Every single activity was enjoying our dry day and water activities were at the top of the heap for appeal.    Even our nature and camping group took to the water trying to find crawfish under the Lodge Creek (Forget-Me-Not Stream).  It’s one of the coolest places to be on a hot day.  Anything water as stated above was working for a lot of people.  Archers were in the shade for a while this morning but that changed.  Despite the bright shining sun, several campers shot playing cards for bullseyes. I know for a fact I couldn’t hit a card from the distance they were shooting.

Blacksmithing is a hot skill held under a shaded shelter and all “smithy’s” were enjoying their creations making fire strikers and various other metal pieces of art and function.  Some of our mountain bike single track traces an area near Blacksmithing so it’s also a good sport to seek out in the shade.  Kayakers and SUP boarders were on the water first thing this morning and the kayakers are getting ready for a river trip next week.  Everyone is getting over their wet exits and moving toward paddling with a spray skirt.  That can be a tough transition for some and it’s easy to understand that you don’t want to be upside down attached to a boat in the water.  It’s good to relax and make sure you go through the steps of feeling for the combing of cockpit till to come to your grab loop and pull it while slowly pushing off with your arms.  Your PFD will bring you right to the surface.

Our arts arena was on full display today with “gourds” taking on a new life through art, weaving projects growing by the minute on looms, and all the colors of the rainbow and designs coming alive in tye dye.  The arena for arts may have been plentiful, but camp critters were a hit also.  This morning Camping Skills and Nature came upon a Ringneck snake which they captured for just today. Many children could see this harmless and unique creature.  The campers named him “Stinky” because they put off a pungent odor when they are nervous or scared.  Everyone got to hold Stinky who wanted to.  Just after lunch I was over working on boats and noticed some staff peering into the water nearby.  They were watching one of our two lake turtles (we think both males) wrestling in the water.  We took this opportunity to snag a net and capture one of them.  Normally they are extremely shy and you can’t even get within 20 feet of them before they swim away.  They were so preoccupied that they didn’t see the future of life outside of the GV lake.  We put him a 50 gallons trashcan and let all the campers at afternoon change over check him out.  Afterward, a couple of staff carted him off to the river just down the road.  It was a banner day for critters.

Tonight was Twilight Play here at camp.  This is when we open many of our activities for about an hour and fifteen minutes after supper.  It’s a long and cool time of the to enjoy life at camp and certain aspects of the program.  There were active, passive, artistic, fun, challenging, and just plain free-play.   Unstructured free-play is one of the greatest parts of camp.  There is always and should be time for this in a child’s life.  We live in such a structured environment with tight schedules.  Free-play involves all the imagination and creativity that children can muster and boundaries are there just for safety.  I came upon Riverside tonight enjoying some games and just chilling throwing the Frisbee around and hanging out.  Hangout time at camp is necessary, especially for our older campers.  After returning from four days of paddling they needed that time to wind down and relax.  I hope you all at home are getting some unstructured free play while your children are with us! Stay tuned!