Good Day Mate! Today was Australian Day at camp and we had a great day learning about the folks that live down under. Of course no Australian breakfast is complete without a little Vegemite on toast (it puts a rose on your cheeks). For those that wanted the full experience there was also spaghetti –oo’s on toast along with scrambled eggs and fruit. I tried it all and frankly it wasn’t that bad. Cereal filled in the holes for those that didn’t want to venture into outback of food.
As the day went on the Australian sun shone brightly after morning showers came and went with bands of rain coming and going. It actually feels nice when you’re outdoors and playing hard. Even the climbers were able to scale the wall during the morning sprinkles. I was at the climbing wall this morning and this afternoon for a short stint. Several boy campers were impressed that girls could make it to the top of the wall and were envious as well. Our climbing staff has a woman on it again this year named Jamie and she is great with the kids and is such a good role model for the girls at camp. Dylan who runs the program is as well and provides a well rounded experience as he leads children through all aspects of the program. Chris rounds out that group and has been on staff for several years and was a camper here. The children were learning to tie their own figure eight follow-throughs and were checked by staff with their practice ropes and of course before they climbed. It’s a hard knot to learn but once you get it, it’s a cinch, no pun intended. It’s important to tie a “clean knot” because, “a not neat knot, is a knot not needed”. Maybe your camper will learn to throw a half of the figure eight which is fun to learn.
The weather cleared just in time for an Australian Bar BQ on the Green for lunch and we all picnicked under the almost blue skies. Pulled chicken, sliced cucumber salad, beets, chips, egg salad, and lemonade was had by all. Lots of campers went back for seconds. This was a time before sign-ups when children could participate in what we call unstructured free play. They made up their own play, like rolling down the hill, spontaneous games of tag, teaching each other slap games, and just talking and running about. Counselors were all in as well, participating and being the adult to make sure that the unstructured part wasn’t too unstructured. Outdoor play is so important and is a multi-sensory activity. While outdoors, children will see, hear, smell and touch things unavailable to them when they play inside. They use their brains in unique ways as they come to understand these new stimuli. This is especially true in activities like Web of Life and Outdoor Living Skills. Playing outdoors is open-ended. There is no instruction manual for outdoor play. Children make the rules and in doing so use their imagination, creativity, intelligence and negotiation skills in a unique way. We’ll talk more about this as the session goes on.
With the sun out after rest hour we had some wonderful offerings. I headed up to Shady Grove to see what kind of crafty crafts that Tamara was cooking up. She was making baskets that looked like bird houses. It was a pretty close resemblance to the real thing. From there I headed off to spend time with OLS because they were playing camouflage up in the woods near Pioneer 2, one of our campout shelters on the property. Campers were very creative in using ingredients from the woods in finding ways to blend in. It was a quiet and stealthy afternoon.
After spending time with them the mountain bikers rode by and I was able to catch some video of them as they took on the Main Camp Trail. Our main trail is not easy but everyone learned very quickly about their Granny Gear which helps immensely on the hills. Once you get to the top of our property then it’s a lot of fun riding downhill all the way back. As Cass, our king of biking, calls it our flowy trail. I sometimes ride it early in the morning all seasons and have seen deer, turkey, and once a bear passing through the property. We have a newer trail near Mountainside and also a skills area that the campers test their mettle on. Across the road is another single track trail that is a good transition for beginner to intermediate.
Tonight’s campfire was learning more about Australia and some of it’s animals and even a few skits and dancing. Ask your kids about the Wiggle. Some of the Aussie staff showed us all the dance. It was fun and active. As we wound down the evening they sang one of my favorite songs from their country which reads:
“We are one but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come,
we share a dream,
And sing with one voice,
I am, you are, we are Australian.”
I’m sure you can find renditions of it on the web. It’s worth a listen. Stay tuned!