Published July 5, 2019
We’ve been up at our wilderness site for five full days now, and life at Red Spruce Grove is in full swing. Our firewood pile is stocked, campers have cooked delicious meals (pancakes, burger night, and veggie quesadillas have all been favorites), and activities are going strong. One of our newest programming elements is “Guilds,” where campers get to select one project led by one counselor that meets five times throughout the session. This time around, campers are:
- Building a sundial with markers not for times but for key moments throughout the day at Red Spruce Grove. We don’t use clocks, so the group is using things like “morning circle,” “lunch, “rest hour,” and “red spruce time” (when the spruces turn red in the evening) to mark out the sundial;
- Practicing mindfulness meditation, yoga, and body awareness;
- And playing with magic and tiny things in Fairy Guild, where campers are doing crafts, getting creative in the forest, playing scouting and sneaking games, and building tiny shelters.
Grovers have also been preparing for Interdependence Day. We’ve been collaboratively writing a song to share with all of the other camps. As a part of the songwriting process, I asked campers a few writing prompts to generate some poetic ideas. One of the questions was, “what makes Red Spruce Grove special?” Here is what they said:
1. We’re a small, close-knit community
With only 12-15 campers and five staff, Red Spruce Grove is truly an intimate community. Everyone is a part of making camp run, from campers cooking meals to gathering firewood to designing work projects to make the Grove more beautiful and functional. We all get to know each other really well throughout each session – through the good times and the hard! We end every day with appreciations of one another, and each evening, I’m inspired by the gratitude and connections made between campers and staff alike.
2. We pay attention to nature
Several campers remarked that Red Spruce Grove is special because we respect the Earth. We learn wilderness skills that bring us closer to the natural world, like shelter building, fire making, earth crafts, and nature awareness. We fill our days with hiking, playing in the meadow, swimming in the pond, and learning how to live in the outdoors. Yesterday all of camp spent fifteen minutes watching a juvenile robin step out of the nest for the first time. We pay attention to these things and celebrate them together!
3. We have a balance of autonomy and togetherness
Something else multiple campers commented on was that they are able to explore their own ideas, interests, and instincts at Red Spruce Grove. There is plenty of structured activity at RSG, but there are also times during the day when campers can choose what they’d like to be doing. In those times, campers will often spread out around main camp, carving, working on a craft they just learned, playing music, or journaling. They create their own fun – like a game called “pebble cup,” or water games played just with buckets, or writing their own camp songs. Campers have reflected that their 24-hour solos, especially, are times when they are able to follow their own intuition without a schedule. For some, this is the first time they have been able to experience this!
With Interdependence Day just around the corner, our song is complete and we’re almost fully ready after many sessions of “band practice.” We can’t wait to share why RSG is special, and why we appreciate all of the other camps at Interdependence Day!
Posted in Red Spruce Grove