What a whirlwind of activity, surprises, and delights our August session has been at Indian Brook. With Senior Lodge out on their overnight excursions until Monday, First and Big lodges were able to make good use of “small camp” and practice their leadership and voice in program and activity choices. have been building scarecrows to learn about pest management in the garden and also playing games to learn plant identification.

Saturday evening First Lodge and Big Lodge campers worked happily and busily preparing goods and supplies for this weekend’s Fair. It was wonderful to watch our camp community come together through joyful work. I hope that you all will be able to join us to enjoy the fruits of their (and all other camper’s) labor at Fair this weekend.

Senior Lodge returned from their trips Monday, receiving a warm welcome back to camp. All trips this session went so smoothly. Campers and staff were well prepared and enjoyed sunny, warm weather during their back country adventures. The evening of their return, Senior Lodge prepared and shared trip skits, regaling us with humor, music, and laughter about their adventures. The Senior Lodge apprentices then returned to their work of preparing for the final week of camp, and finishing the projects begun during this session. The Outdoor Living Skills Pioneers completed their “solo” overnights. Work Projects built doors for the Big Lodge showers as well as storage cubbies for our waterfront. Barns and Gardens raised our chickens for the harvest dinner, and I have never seen such large and healthy birds! Our waterfront Loons assisted with Grand Circuits (swimming laps all the way around the Woodward Reservoir), and helped to coach swimmers and boaters during waterfront activities.

Tuesday morning all campers gathered at the Indian Brook garden to help with the harvest. Campers dug potatoes, gathered a variety of lettuces and greens, and also began preparing beds for the second, fall planting. It was so rewarding to watch the enthusiasm and surprise campers showed as they unearthed potatoes, or learned what flowers were edible, and would be eaten at the banquet.  Campers got the opportunity to harvest a bed in our garden to completion, even getting the opportunity to learn how to wash and package the food for distribution at Tamarack Farm. Watching these young people come together in work that benefits our community, is fun, and teaches skills was incredibly rewarding and uplifting.  Anna, our Farmer, and Cass, our Barns and Gardens Activity Area Director, were amazing role models for grit, resiliency, and joy in work. senior lodge apprentices have been learning about herbalism and helping our pigs with a new shelter structure. “The garden has been full of beauty and we are so happy your campers had the chance to contribute their hard work and laughter to the space!”

All campers had opportunities to participate in the many special events that are a part of the August session. This past week included the chicken harvest. As a part of our farm program, and to help campers develop an understanding of food origins and to cultivate respect for our food, campers had the opportunity to participate in the harvesting of our meat birds in preparation for the closing harvest banquet. The process began with a visit from our farmers. The farmers meet with any campers who might be interested in learning more about the chicken harvest, and who were considering participating. The farmers explained the individual steps of the process, what roles campers will play, and general expectations for behavior. The day of the harvest, campers worked in teams of two or three people.  The farmers reviewed each station and provided a demonstration of the process at each area. I was extremely proud of our community. Our campers showed such a high level of respect, compassion, and determination throughout the chicken harvest process.

Thursday evening included our Harvest Banquet. The spread crafted by our Kitchen Crew was simply scrumptious! The chickens that we raised and harvested were slow-roasted over an open pit by Ruby, our Head Chef. Ruby and her team used the vegetables, herbs, and flowers gathered by the campers earlier in the week to create a delicious array of dumplings, stuffed breads, salads and sweet deserts. During the meal, various groups of campers “affirmed” staff. An affirmation is a note of gratitude shared in front of the community, and a simple bead on a hemp string is presented and worn as a necklace by the recipient. This practice of gratitude is so essential and important for not just campers, but staff as well, to practice. Often enough, we do not thank the people in our lives who love us, and support our own growth and happiness.

Finally, Saturday is our Farm & Wilderness Fair. I sincerely hope that as many families and community members who are able join us and enjoy this event. Every camp community is working diligently on creating a special and memorable event. I know that they would all simply light up to see their families there to enjoy their hard work and to celebrate with them the closure of camp. After Fair ends, our campers will enjoy dinner at the Fairgrounds, and then dance the night away at a contra dance with a live band! The bonfire our Pioneers have been working on will be lit, and in the early evening, our campers will say farewell to each other, and head back to their respective camps. Indian Brook will have our closing ceremony after Fair, with candle service and songs.

 

To close this week’s blog, I’d like to share lyrics from one of my favorite camp songs, Linger.

Mmm and come September
Mmm I will remember
Mmm our camping days and friendships true
Mmm and as the years go by
Mmm I’ll think of you and sigh
Mmm this is goodnight and not good bye

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