Dear families, caregivers, and friends of Catoctin,
After a year hype, anticipation, and excitement, a new action packed summer at Catoctin Quaker Camp has finally arrived! Our counselors and staff hit the ground running, and brought an entire off-season of plans and ideas with them. Statements like, “I’ve been thinking all year about this new eco-activity I want to try with campers!” and, “I figured out a great new idea for a trip!” were common during our pre-camp training, and by the time campers arrived, team Catoctin simply could not wait to provide the incredible, fun, and joyous experience that we’ve been preparing for all year.
And what an experience it’s been! With session 1 only half over, we’ve definitely started the summer strong, and a combination of perfect weather, exceptional overnight trips, and that special brand of camp magic from a high ratio of returning staff have culminated into a CQC greatest hits track that keeps on kicking.
Here’s all the latest news from the mountain beginning with the unit wilderness trips:
Unit 5/6: Our youngest unit may be small in size, but they’ve been big in heart 1st session. Unit 5/6 did the classic Catoctin Mountain hiking loop in the local camp area. They dazzled their counselors with a spontaneous camper led and initiated play on the first night of their trip with role playing characters they had come up with during their journey. Creativity is this unit’s ongoing mission, and they turned a simple hiking trip into an ongoing epic theater production with a storyline that has yet to end…
Unit 4/5: Unit 4/5 did a similar low mile, local hiking trip as 5/6, but they infused their trip with an eco focus. Counselors pointed out and gave insight into local flora and fauna, and helped campers understand and even utilize the natural tools at their disposal. This included making their own trail tea with mint and sassafras bark.
Unit 3/4: Unit 3/4 got to enjoy the mountain vistas at Annapolis Rocks, and got their hands dirty by learning how to create personal shelters from the tools and resources around them. Though counselors brought our standard tarps to sleep under at night, many campers opted to use their own shelters instead!
Unit 2/3: The superstars in 2/3 hit the Appalachian Trail for several days of ridge hiking that overlooked the valleys of western Maryland near the border of West Virginia. Counselors took the opportunity the gorgeous landscape provided to give the trip a spiritual focus while allowing campers to appreciate the fulfillment of the environment’s natural beauty. Campers were instructed to spend time in “magic spots” at their campsite to sit and reflect on their connection to the woods.
Unit 1/2: The second to oldest unit got to hit the Potomac and conquer the rapids of White Horse and Needles. They bonded over their ability to get through together, to leave no boat behind, and to communicate with one another in order to complete their journey. As a bonus, they got to meet up with campers on a similar trip from their sister camp at Opequon Quaker Camp and sing songs to one another while enjoying their similarities and exploring their unique differences.
Unit 1: “Intensity Trip!” was the call of the campers from Unit 1. They embarked on a truly epic hike that started in Maryland and ended well into Pennsylvania with nary a complaint between them. They were rewarded for their incredible accomplishment with ice cream from a local burger stand at the conclusion of their trip. Their spirits remain high, and they’re already looking forward to their 10 day grad trip.
In following our new Catoctin tradition of creating a Special Day around camper input, CQC staff launched a day of wild and zany fun around the theme of alter egos. Campers got to spend time shaping and honing their identities with props, costumes, crafty additions, and makeup, and spent the day completing relays, putting on performances, and enjoying one another’s artwork. The day concluded with an award ceremony that honored campers’ individual accomplishments and creativity. Award winners were…everyone of course because each camper truly accomplished so much.
On the spiritual side, campers were able to enjoy the stillness of the fire circle when the rowdiness died down. In addition to being introduced or reintroduced to Quaker worship, campers were able to respond to a query on the topic of inclusion, community, and the idea of being welcoming.
We’re pleased to announce our brand new eco-friendly bathhouse is up and running! This jaw-dropping facility was ready to go just in time for 1st session, and everyone – staff and camper a like – have been basking in its bright, spacious and breezy glory. Incredibly, our new bathhouse complete with composting toilets saves hundreds of gallons of water every single day, and was constructed in part with wood from the very trees that were cleared for the site. Counselors have enjoyed using the bathhouse as a tool to instruct campers on the topic of sustainable, green, environmental practices and stewardship as well as the wonder campers express of the magic-like process of it all. Special shout out to everyone in the community who helped make this vision a reality from our donors to our hard working staff!
Upcoming dates and events
Session 1 ends Saturday the 8th. Departing campers should be picked up between 10AM and noon. Campers staying for a second session will remain at camp for regular scheduled camp programming and meals. We strongly recommend that families do not take changeover campers home during the transition between sessions as it interrupts their experience and interferes with unit cohesion.
Visiting Day for session 2 is July 15th from 10:30AM to 1:00PM. If you plan to attend, please confirm by contacting Catoctin, and please bring a dish for our potluck lunch!
The amazing camp magic just keeps coming! Stay tuned for more news and updates!