Hello family and friends of Catoctin!
As we launch into the second week of our first session, we take a moment to reflect on our time together over the past two weeks. Stories from trips, Fire-circle, Special Day, and Afternoon Activity, act as windows – revealing the charm and pleasure of life in the mountains of Catoctin, even as we look forward to the activities of the next week.
Campers transitioned quickly from life at camp to life on the trail during the first week. Units embarked on adventures on and off the mountain.
Unit 1A set off on their first, pre-graduation trip of the summer with a hike on the Appalachian Trail to Caledonia State Park. The unit set their sites on getting themselves dialed in for their grand ten day on the horizon, as they get they tried on their trail legs for the first time this summer. Their hard work was rewarded with a much deserved swim at the State Park.
Unit 1/2 embarked on the Catoctin Mountain Classic canoe trip on the Potomac River. Exciting rapids including White Horse were no match for 1/2, and the unit was proud to report few capsized boats. All campers were in good spirits when they successfully made their pickup time; a difficult feat on the river on the 4th of July holiday.
Unit 2/3 beat the heat under the comfortable cloud canopy of the Appalachian trail near Greenbrier State Park. They enjoyed a bonding trip while managing to stay dry under clouds that continually threatened to unload, but thankfully never did.
3/4 hit the rocks at Fishing Creek for a fun filled day of climbing. Campers of all skill levels were able to push and challenge themselves to different heights of literal proportions with everyone able to set and meet goals – then surpass them!
Units 5 and 6
They set out separately, by they remained united. Both units 5 and 6 went on local hikes around the mountain to some of our favorite ponds. In addition to being able to enjoy dips in a reprieve from the sun, they also enjoyed zanny themed activities that included treasure hunts, monster hide and seek, and the occasional pirate saga. The units were overjoyed to discover the greatest booty of them all was the unification of the two units for giant mega games!
After trips, campers and counselors returned to camp with new bonds that were founded from their shared experiences on the trail or on the river. On the evening of a joyous arrival back to camp, individuals shared their collective stories around the fire circle at a special afternoon thank you circle. Campers and counselors offered responses to a query asking them to describe moments of beauty or heroism they experienced on the trail. They also shared the conversations, jokes, and songs they used to entertain each other and support one another during the more strenuous moments of their trips.
Fire-circle, an integral aspect of Catoctin encourages campers to explore about and articulate their thoughts. Throughout the session, fire-circle committee posed two queries, “How do we create a community where everyone is included?” and “Why does it feel good to do good?” The circle was at times full of deep silence and at times bursting with camper voices as many community members shared their messages.
Fun and spontaneity also serve as important tools for growth and relationship building. Afternoon Activities throughout the week included opportunities to get physical: Mega Ga Ga Ga (a game which took up the entire dining hall), Capture the Flag and a guest yoga instructor, opportunities to be creative like “bad poetry” writing and t-shirt make-over, and chances to connect with nature through activities like fairy house building out of natural materials, flower pressing, and Jays and Juncos a tag game which teaches campers about local birds. With a rollercoaster of temperatures over the past week, we have beat the heat with dips in our very own Goon and warmed ourselves by the firecircle. On Thursday we also worked up a sweat when treated to the musical talents of Slim and the Sunshine Band which came in to call an all camp square dance and storytelling!
On Saturday we waved goodbye to our beloved one-week campers after a great 7 days with them and welcomed another set just in time for Sunday’s Friendly Monster Day. During this creature-themed specials day, campers and counselors are exploring the creatures and myths of Catoctin by choosing between a rock climbing monster archeology trip, a singing and dancing Monster Mash-Up Musical, creating a comicbook encyclopedia of CQC monsters, going on a hike to discover the Great Twin Lakes monsters, and creating a floating Moster Boat to celebrate the Goon Monster. We are excited to see them present all of their adventures at tonight’s gallery walk and performance.
On Monday, campers will strike out again for more hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing adventures, after which we look forward to a visit from The Travelling Players, an all youth theater troop who will be coming to perform for us at the end of the week.
With the conclusion of first session comes the end of camp for some and the beginning of camp for others. We are so glad to have spent the past week with your children and appreciate your willingness to give us the opportunity to learn and live with them.
In Love and Light,