There is rarely a “normal” day at SAM! Most mornings, campers wake up in a new spot, having hiked or paddled many miles the previous day. Out on the trail, campers must arise to start the camp stove for breakfast. Each person refills his or her water bottle with purified water, and eats breakfast from a mess kit. Every morning, sleeping bags must be re-stuffed, backpacks re-packed, blisters tended to, and maps consulted for the adventures ahead.
Often there is a “leader of the day,” who, with consultation from the group, is responsible for charting the day’s course. The day is spent on the move; the pace is adjusted to accommodate everyone. Periodically, the group will take a break for water or a handful of gorp – or sometimes just to sit and take in a panoramic view or catch some sun rays on a rock. Lunch provides a welcome rest. If they are lucky, the group will find a nice spot to swim, hang-out and/or write in journals or to have silent meeting along the trail.
In the evening, everyone pitches in to get camp set up for the night. If there is no shelter, the group sets up tarps and stoves. Everyone is involved in making camp: collecting firewood, boiling water, cooking dinner, washing dinner, and rolling out sleeping bags. After dinner, there is time to sit around the campfire to roast marshmallows and tell jokes and stories.
Life at SAM between trips has a rhythm of its own. We eat breakfast under the outdoor food shelter, and, throughout the session, everyone pitches in to wash dishes; some of our best songs are written in the kitchen! After breakfast we do camp chores (“asanas”) and gather on the hillside for announcements (usually in the form of skits) and the singing of favorite songs. We make our way up to Silent Meeting, held in a magical spot with trees and birdsong all around. Morning activities may include learning to play the guitar and sing songs, swimming at the waterfront, holding an edible art show, tie-dyeing our T-shirts or beading bracelets, rehearsing skits to perform for other F&W camps, or discussing current events on the porch. At night the entire camp gathers together for an evening activity, such as playing improvisational theater games, romping in the soccer field in a raucous game of “Sticks,” or quietly discussing who we think we might become when we grow up.
At the end of each day, campers and counselors slide into their sleeping bags, tired but full of the learning and fun of the day. They tell stories or think through the adventures of the day to come.