Every time we sit down as a community at Red Spruce Grove, I walk away feeling so inspired by the meaningful things that have been shared – even on the second night! Last night, we had our first talking circle, where we wrote a values contract together. We did it in the format of an “Ins and Outs List,” where everyone contributed things that they want in camp (like respect, personal space boundaries, and being present) and things they want out of camp (like gossip, being exclusive, and negative self-talk). Using a talking piece, everyone got a chance to share their own thoughts on how we treat one another.

We also introduced our social justice curriculum by talking about what equity means, and which conversation topics might exclude people due to different identities and backgrounds. Campers talked about how different people have different mental abilities and statuses, go to different schools, and come from different kinds of families. After this conversation, during evening teatime in tent groups, everyone seemed just a little bit closer to one another.

The community is coming together in other ways, too. After-dinner dishwashing finished in record time last night (good job, Quaking Aspen tent!!) and everyone is pitching in for chores. We’ve started compiling a list of songs we want to make into song cards for morning singing time, and campers are starting carving projects after learning how to use knives safely yesterday. This afternoon, each household is sending out their first letters to their pen pals at Flying Cloud – a new tradition for our pandemic summer that some staff members started last session.

There was an amazing thunderstorm last night, which we got to watch approach because of our gigantic sky view – everyone took a pause from what they were doing to watch lightning flash in a dark cloud from far away. There was a little nervousness during the storm, but everyone stayed dry and a few campers even expressed gratitude for the thunder during Morning Circle today. As usual, the Grovers are appreciating the beauty of the natural world around them, even when it comes in the form of rain!

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