Just Horsing Around

Dear Parents & Friends,

Sorry the blog is late.  We had some thunder boomers late last night and we shut down the computers here at camp.  Today’s pics brought lots of shots of horses from the riding ring and the ladies of riding are doing a super job down there.  Lily, Alice, and Alinta are the honchos at the ring with Alice and Lily having many years of experience here at camp.  Lily was actually a camper here.  Horses are a favorite among campers and especially girls at camp.  Every young girl loves horses and my wife was one of those horse lovers growing up and has her horse here at camp.  “Stitches” is her name but she’s too old to ride anymore but gets a good deal of love from the campers coming down to the stable. You might see campers riding with no hands and using their balance to get a feel for the horse under them.  We are leading horses when this is done so that campers have the confidence to let go and get used to the movement of the animal.  Balance and tuning into your own body is so important in many activities at camp.

Our arborist tree climbing program has been very popular this summer.  This is not your typical climbing that we do on the wall or rock.  It’s ascension of a rope utilizing a type of prussic knot that actually grabs the rope under tension and allows the camper to shinny up the ¾ inch rope.  It’s also a different type rope that we use and is commonly used by arborist and tree surgeons.  More and more folks who maintain healthy trees are using this method to climb trees because you don’t have to spike the tree in order to get up.  I’ve learned a good bit about tree maintenance over the years from the arborist who works on our trees.  The campers love it because they can control their own speed going up and you have to focus on being efficient in working your arms and legs together in tandem to ascend the rope.  It’s a great exercise in balance and brains.  Climbing is the same on the wall and rock.  It’s mostly at this level of climbing, mind over matter and thinking your way up the climb instead of muscling your way up.

Another one of those balance activities is mountain biking and learning how to shift your weight on the bike to ride in a safe a fun way.  Using all those gears is not that easy and some of our campers have only ridden on bikes with coaster brakes.  We’re trying to teach the campers to keep the same peddling cadence by shifting and also getting them used to using hand brakes on the bike.  Standing up while pedaling and riding up on the pedals is another skill that takes some time to learn for some children.  We have all skills sets here and everyone is progressing nicely.

Over the past several days we been holding “Open Houses” where one of the resource team members and a cluster/activity leader goes into the cabin to interview the campers without the counselors there.  This is all prearranged and it’s just a check-in to how the cabin is doing and how the counselors are doing with the campers.  We ask many questions and the campers are very honest with us and you can tell pretty easily when things are going well in the cabin.  We hold these visits until we think the cabin has had time to bond and allow the staff to get used to the new group that has come in.  If there is any feedback that’s needed we have time to do so before the end of the session.  The bottom line is making sure the campers are getting along and making sure the staff are being good role models and good cabin parents.  It’s not easy to replace you all as parents,  but we’re doing everything we can to make your child’s experience here at camp the best it can possibly be.  Stay tuned!