What a summer! Red Spruce Grove is really finding its identity within the F&W community. The campers, counselors, and the land itself are informing how the program grows and evolves. Already, plans are brewing for next year, based on input from all of our community members.

First up: Building projects! Consistently, the biggest highlights of this summer were the projects that contributed to the infrastructure and beauty of RSG. Campers felt strong and powerful constructing an earthen oven with clay they dug and carried themselves (up the mountain, all the way from Lake Ninevah!). They spoke of wanting to leave a legacy at the Grove, gain more hard skills, and of the joys of seeing a project from start to finish. Some possibilities for next summer include: a wood shed, a large covered gathering space, a passive solar water heater to warm our showers, new benches and tables, and maybe even a pedal-powered blender so we can, yes, make our own hummus at camp.

Next: Inter-camp connections! Campers and staff are looking forward to even more time spent with Flying Cloud, as that was a wonderful part of this summer for both camps. Maybe some shared day hike adventures, a party hosted at RSG (akin to the SAM Dance or Flying Cloud Day), or working on some skills together?

Last but not least: Traditions! RSG is accumulating small rituals and traditions that keep camp magic alive and connect us all to the land and to each other. Some of these emerge organically, and others are forged with meaning and intention from both campers and staff. Next summer, I hope to further develop traditions of honoring campers and their individual gifts within the community. The camper leader roles will develop and evolve with more responsibility. Music and song may play a bigger role, as creative expression is a true “Outdoor Living Skill.” Traditions next year may be wilder and more challenging – more nighttime sneaking and wandering may be in order. Stay tuned!

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