Friends old and new gathered in the clearing for our first circle of the second session on Sunday evening. Lots of excitement and goofiness from those happy to be back in the space went a long way towards assuaging the trepidation of our newcomers.

Later in the evening we held our opening Friendship Fire. We all shared what we hoped to bring to Flying Cloud, what we hoped to learn from Flying Cloud, and what we hoped to leave behind at home. Here are a few things that were spoken.

“I want to leave behind homework!”

“I want to bring hard work to Flying Cloud.”

“I’d like to take away a new sense of self worth.”

“I want to learn lots of nature skills!”

“I want to leave behind doubt and anxiety.”

“I want to bring friendship to Flying Cloud.”

“I want to leave behind electronics and live in the woods!”

The next morning, we all got oriented to what we do here – using tools safely, learning all the chores, and learning how to make a fire. We also played some name games to get to know each other. In the afternoon, we created our “In and Out list” – a list of things we want “in” our community, and some things we want to keep “out.” Campers said lots of great things – they advocated for consent, understanding, and hard work to be on the “in” list, and decides that grudges, cliques, bullying, meanness, and complaining didn’t have any place at Flying Cloud. I think it’s fine to whine now and then, but I do appreciate the sentiment. Lots else was shared and my overall impression is this is a socially aware and intentionally empathetic group of young people.

The next day, we split up into groups and took the very long way to Saltash Mountain camp to go swimming in the afternoon – fortunately it stopped raining for us by then! Groups got oriented to the lay of the land and saw lots of cool landmarks on the way, like Magic Springs – the cool, clear water forever bubbling up through a rock from deep underground.

Since then, we’ve been doing activities. Friction fire, spoon carving, drum making, shelter building, knife sharpening, sewing and embroidery, cooking and nature walks are just a few of the very cool things staff have been doing with campers. We visited another camp just down the road, Red Spruce Grove, yesterday and had a blast picking berries, doing yoga, moving in silence and working on sensory awareness with them, plus lots of other cool stuff like more carving and exploring the surrounding area.

That’s all for now. We have our first Flying Cloud Day coming up, where we’ll get lots of visitors from other camps to hang out, do activities, and enjoy a big fire with us. I’ll tell you all about it in the next blog!

Till then, take care –

-Charlie

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