Sunny and Hot; We’ll Take It!

Dear Parents and Friends,

It was a beautiful day here at camp today. Nice and sunny and hot. Good day for any kind of water activities. Frankly it was a good day for all kinds of activities. Safety was a hot topic this morning in Outdoor Living Skills, as Leah 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. In the next couple of days she will be teaching how to cook over a hobo stove (a #10 can). 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. We are not good at everything and there’s lots of support to try and try again and hopefully 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. I went with Web of Life today and we stopped and pulled open a rotten log to discover some interesting creatures that scurried away under the cover of leaves. They were some very large beetles that had nestled down into the soft wood of a fallen tree, rain soaked and full of life after the tree had died. We quickly learn in the Web of Life that everything sustains something else.

Our crafts were in process of making some beautiful things as I walked around camp this morning. 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. Brookside attended and Hillside went with to the Gatehouse Green to listen to Tajar Tales. Mountainside takes a day off from their Mini-adventures and Riverside is out there climbing at Foster Falls. There’s only a few 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!