This weekend, starting on Friday we say goodbye to the first session overnight campers, while welcoming the second session folks. Our “end-to-end” Long Trail Questers groups, the Taylors and Robins, are about 150 miles into their journey. Full season campers are in for a treat, with an all-camp activity in Killington, then camp games and entertainment. Many staff will get a well-deserved day off and reset for the new arrivals.

We’ve had our share of excitement this session, with what began as a bear finding and rummaging our trash dumpster behind the Resource building. This led to staff being more diligent to thoroughly clean recycled containers, compost all food and to dispose of trash more carefully. The bear, finding no easy food source at the dumpster, was spotted near Timberlake  Outdoor Living Skills area, and when campers and staff saw the bear in the distance, they did as they have been taught, and made so much noise that the bear was seen treed over 50’ up. Timberlake campers can really make some NOISE when they want!

Bears are a natural and important part of the Vermont wilderness. Part of our conservation plan is to maintain a wildlife corridor. Fortunately, nocturnal bears prefer the quiet wilderness over our (often noisy) camp areas. This is the first bear sighting in F&W camp areas in 11 years. We spoke with the game warden, who advised that we continue to follow the protocol we have in place, including keeping no food in sleeping areas (that means no contraband candy or treats). We will remain vigilant to follow our protocols and ask for your partnership in not sending any food to campers. We expect the bear to move on and do not want to encourage its return.

Red Spruce Grove campers are back at Indian Brook, after their appreciations and solos to conclude their time on the plateau. Blueberries are just coming in, so next session “Grovers” will enjoy the blue-tiful bounty. Flying Cloud had their second Honoring Ceremony of the summer, with what is reported as a tremendous bonfire. Over 30 pounds of beef, trays and trays of cornbread, alongside handmade decorations, graced the SAM Camp dinner and dance on Tuesday, with many camps joining in the festivities. I heard a jam session of the Zodiac dance/song as I toured our 1199/SEIU partner representatives around the camps, wrapping up their tour at Saltash Mountain Camp.

This has been a peaceful summer in many ways, with the usual excitement and challenges. Overall, staff have been amazing, thoughtful, and full of energy for your young people. Your children and teens have filled our roads, woods, and hearts with their spirit, singing, and passion. Whether you’re visiting, dropping off, sending your child on a bus from Boston or NYC, we hope you’ll stay engaged with F&W, and come back!

In peace,

Rebecca Geary

 

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