Mountainside is Off and Main Camp Flourishes at the Garden!

Dear Parents and Friends, Dear Parents and Friends,

A day without rain has been really nice.  We got just a sprinkle this morning but all was good the rest of the day.  It’s good to dry out and it was nice and warm here today.  We had sign-ups this morning and also after lunch.  The lake was a very active place to be for a number of reasons.  Just to cool off was number one and then to partake in some GV skills and thrills was next in line.  Water Polo was a big hit at the swimming pool this morning.  Our Main Camp Kayakers are headed out tomorrow to a section of the French Broad and our Mountain Bikers are going over to Dupont State Forest to ride the many trails there.  All of Mountainside left today for their adventures.  Climbers went to Looking Glass, Paddlers headed to a part of the French Broad that’s a great intro to paddlers, and Pioneers are hiking starting near the Art Loeb Trail in the Sam’s Knob/Shining Rock area.  It’s pretty country and good hiking with lots of water.  Many of us helped get everyone off this morning which is a chore getting 40 campers and 8 staff going in 4 different directions.  Everyone meets behind the kitchen and then off.  There are packs and food in piles everywhere and it’s always an exciting time of the session.  The campers will return confident, assured in their outdoor skills, and a stronger group as they tackle their individual outdoor components.  Their friendships will grow stronger as well.   Our Riverside groups number only 12 and it’s amazing how they bond as a small group in the three weeks they are here.  This has been a great group of campers on Riverside and we look forward to having many of them back as SIT’s and staff in later years.

I was on the lake with Mountainside Paddlers this morning and headed with them to the river after lunch.  The Farm is cranking these days with the abundance of rain and sun.  Not only are the vegetables coming in but I think the campers are seeing the animals grow as they care for them each day.  They also get a taste of the old and new as they milk Bessie the cow by hand and with our automatic milker.  It’s certainly faster that way.  Soon corn will be coming and of course the big event at the Farm is Mama Pig and when will she have her babies.  You’d be surprised what you can do at the farm in a two hour period.  There’s always work to be done and campers really take part in the hands on aspects of the farm.

There were some beautiful things coming out of weaving today and I stopped in after dinner to see campers putting the finishing touches on some of their work.  Archery is a camp favorite and one camper said today that we didn’t have Archery open in the afternoon.  There are so many things to choose from at camp but Archery is usually in the top 5 or so.  Another favorite is our tree and arborist climbing program.  Both utilize trees but in different ways.  Traditional tree climbing uses the limbs to ascend and arborist climbing ascends the rope connected to the trees.  Both can take you up to the land of Transylvania White Squirrels and birds but they’re very different types of climbing.  I personally like the arborist climbing and think it’s a bit harder as you pull and step up the rope to near the inner sanctum of the tree where not many humans go.  We been doing tree climbing since Anne and I took over camp 15 years ago and it’s always been a hit with the campers.

We’ll keep you posted on Mountainside and Riverside if we have any news.  Until then, stay tuned!