After a whirlwind few days, we’re getting into the rhythm of life at Red Spruce Grove! It’s amazing to be back in the meadow with both new and familiar faces. Despite two days of rain and fog, and some new systems to get used to, spirits are high – we’ve been singing an RSG classic song “Vermont Weather” (adapted from a Scottish tune) to fortify ourselves against the storms…

I am a friend of Vermont weather

I don’t mind the wind or the driving rain…

Walking, walking, ‘tis my pleasure,

From this forest I was made.

This summer gives us a unique opportunity at RSG: to spend the entire three weeks of the session at our off-grid site, living with the land and one another. We’ve spent the first two evenings of camp discussing how important it is to treat the earth with respect – because the earth sustains us – and also creating a values contract together about how we can solve conflict, be inclusive, and bring positivity and fun into our camp community. Campers have also started learning the physical skills that make up daily life at our little homestead. They’ve tried their hands at axes, bow saws, knives, and a drawknife for peeling logs. They have been washing dishes, cleaning kybos, feeding chickens, building fires, and generally jumping in headfirst to life at the Grove!

Something that excites me the most about the beginning of camp is when campers and counselors start to feel both ownership and creativity in camp. Red Spruce Grove belongs to all of us; we create it together. Here are some highlights of ways folks have already been bringing their curiosities and ideas into camp:

  • During a map-making activity, we collectively drew a map of the Grove after having some time to explore (harder than it sounds)
  • Each household group is working hard to be inclusive and welcoming, even though we spend time in separate groups
  • A few campers have stepped up to play instruments or lead songs during singing time A few campers have appointed themselves “chicken crew” and took care of a chicken who was being bullied by the two others
  • There is a spontaneous frog funeral happening during rest hour today
  • The firewood pile is HIGH!

These next few days there will be more introductions to the basic skills of camp, like shelter-building, knots, and care for the garden. We’ll also be starting some craft projects, hiking down to Lake Ninevah, and playing lots of silly games.

It’s wonderful to be back at camp, and to see everyone so happy to be together – and away from technology – after such a hard year and a half. I’m sure there will be more challenges ahead… probably some more rain, or some conflict we’ll have to work through… but I’m so confident in this community’s ability to work through it, even on day three. That’s what camp is about, isn’t it? Developing the resilience to move through challenges and make it to the other side. I can’t wait to see how we face challenges, grow, and learn together.

Signing off, until next week,

Tori

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