A Surprising Weather Day!

Dear Parents and Friends,

It was a surprising weather day here at camp and one that we enjoyed rain free.  Our forecast was rain all day and it didn’t live up to the prediction.  We had 10 cabins camping out tonight so we were keeping our fingers crossed that they could get a fire going and get off to sleep.  As I sit writing I see patches of blue with some clouds rolling in.  It rained throughout last night but ended around 7:30 this morning.  Rain at camp is hard to distinguish from the many creeks we have if you’re living in a cabin nearby one.  The water is soothing as it runs (rather loudly) downstream in all directions.  Rainfall in our area is at an all-time high so the creeks, streams and rivers have been full all spring and summer so far.  I went with a group of our life guards down to the river today on the other side of the road to help with some in-service training on moving and swift water rescue.  The river was too high for campers and we postponed all tubing today after last night’s rain.  As LGT’s, they’re going over skills they learned during their course or updating skills they learned earlier from another course.  We used throw ropes based on the old standards of reach, row, throw and go, which no longer applies and has been replaced by newer standards in the curriculum. We had a good time learning and realizing how powerful moving water can be.

Safety was a hot topic this morning in Outdoor Living Skills, as Catherine got the campers to prioritize what they needed to take on a trip and how important each object was.  I got there just as she was dumping many camping items out of a large bag and the campers had to choose which ones were the most important to them if they were in the woods camping.  After choosing they set off to put the items to work hands on.  Camp is all about hands on.  Our crafts instructors are always reaching over the top to guide hands in the creative process.  Even our farm staff are involved in showing campers how to break off an ear of corn, pick beans, broccoli, and the most dangerous of all—gather eggs without mother hen giving you a peck.  Children want to do things on their own.  I always find it enlightening to allow children to build their own fires.  We provide the directions, show them the type of wood to gather, how to place it effectively and how to light it.  Building an easy quick fire is a learning process that takes practice.  I wonder how many of you have read the book “Outliers: The Story of Success”, where the author talks about the number of hours it takes to master a skill.  We’re not shooting for those numbers, but we are trying to have the campers feel comfortable in trying new things and hopefully succeeding with proper instruction.  Camp is also a place where you can fail and it’s ok.  Everyone is not good at everything and there’s lots of support to move have another try and move forward.

Camp too is a place where “look don’t touch” is not practiced, unless there is a safety issue like picking up a snake or critter, or perhaps touching poison ivy or putting something in your mouth from the forest.  We want children to touch and feel the textures and look closely at our natural world.  It’s ok to catch a frog or tadpole or perhaps a salamander.  We always let them go right back to their environs and try not to disturb their world.  Some of these are budding scientists and we don’t want to squash their interest.  Yesterday as I was working on some things just back of the Lodge our young scientists from the WEB of LIFE found a fungus nearby that I had never seen before.  It was growing under our hemlocks and was almost totally camouflaged by the fallen needles and small cones.  It must be because of the wetness we’ve been experiencing.  I will try and take a photo and get it online.  Maybe someone can offer some advice.

Batik and our crafts were on in process of making some beautiful things as I took a touring family around camp.  We have four arts areas that churn out the camp goods day and in day out.  We hope you’ll see the finished evidence of some of these crafts.

Campfire just ended with a good ole mountain dancing session.  Mostly Brookside and a couple of Hillside cabins attended.  There’s only a couple of days before the 4th and everyone is getting pretty excited.  I think we’ll have some famous visitors from our past and most likely we’ll experience some special moments in our nation’s history.  Stay tuned!