The day at Flying Cloud begins with the sun sparkling through the trees and lighting up our clearing. Camp activity starts with a circle, where the Flag Keeper, a senior camper chosen for his leadership and spiritual strength, leads the community in a Thanksgiving Address for all that we appreciate.
To get our appetites going for breakfast, we do chores, collecting and breaking up firewood, baking bread, working in the garden, piling ice around in the icebox, or pumping water by hand from our well. When the campers on daily Cook Crew finish making breakfast, they call us all together with the treble of a conch shell, and we circle up before eating. Our meal is simple but tasty, perhaps a hot grain with honey, or yogurt, granola and fruit. Whatever it is, we eat it happily in the sunshine or under the canopy of our open-air eating space.
After breakfast, we gather somewhere in our clearing or the surrounding forest for a short period of reflection, meditation and relaxation, known as Silent Meeting. Morning Activities will carry us until lunch time, and can include such favorites as making a wooden bowl or spoon, practicing stalking and camouflage games in the forest, playing instruments, or perhaps learning to write creatively and share our stories with one another.
Lunch and a rest period carry us through the hottest time of the day, after which every member of the community has a little while to work on some skill he wishes to hone. This could be a chance to practice a musical instrument, or work on pencil drawings, or perhaps it’s a chance to improve his tracking skills or work on starting a fire using friction.
During afternoon activities, campers may continue existing projects or start something new. Some days we venture out of camp to go pick blueberries on a nearby mountaintop or go for a swim in nearby Lake Ninevah. Other times, we do work projects around camp, such as building a shelter or clearing a trail.
After a filling dinner of stew and fresh bread made by campers, the community gathers together for an all-camp activity. This is usually a chance to burn off the last of the day’s energy, playing Sticks (F&W’s version of Capture the Flag), Battle Ball (dodge ball), or perhaps a game of our own Flying Cloud design like Zairey.
Dusk finally brings our running and laughing and playing to an end, and we gather together to close the day. Everyone is encouraged to speak out as we go around the circle and share some part of our day. This may be an appreciation for another camper or counselor or perhaps for an animal or plant we learned something from that day. Or maybe it’s just a chance to reflect. In the end, it leaves us all feeling good as we head off to our simple lodges to start a fire, crawl into our sleeping bags, and chat about the past, present and future as we wait for sleep to close in.