Catoctin has started off excellently! Contrary to the weather on both drop-off and visiting days, campers and staff have had sunshine filled days creating, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, singing, dancing, laughing and pondering. We are so grateful for not only our sunshine but the rain that helps us appreciate it even more.
The first round of trips went smoothly, as evidenced by our rich and full fire circle where campers and staff shared about “cuddle-puddles” during the rain storm, overcoming challenging hikes and telling each other stories to pass the time. Stories illustrated campers and staff commitment to one another, their shared goals, and energy for taking care of each other.
⅚ hiked from Ridgepost to Black Rock, enjoying the view and new experiences.
⅘ had a water-full trip, swimming at Blue Lake, playing at Coffee Hollow, and splashing at Cunningham Falls.
¾ went to Green Lake, had great successes rock climbing at Fishing Creek and swam at Blue Lake.
⅔ began their trip on the Antietam Creek but alas, were unable to complete their canoeing trip due to high water levels. Trading rivers for lakes, they hiked to Cunningham Falls for more adventures.
½ hiked all the way to Harper’s Ferry, and were a true team in getting through a seventeen mile day!
1A was out for four, instead of three, days–in preparation for their big trip next session–and made their way all the way to Caledonia swimming pool a hike of almost 50 miles!
For Special day this session, we celebrated Mother Earth but somehow along the way angered the Garden Ghoul! Throughout the day, campers and staff summoned the “Goon Monster” to help with the Garden Ghoul’s disgruntledness. To summon each part of the Goon Monster, campers and staff participated in important and varied activities:
-To summon the brain campers and staff utilized the camp library and found facts to create a giant banner of eco-facts.
-To summon the voice, each socio group came up with a song and performed them.
-To summon the heart, socios worked on getting their own thumpers thumping with a little cardio.
-To summon the feet, campers made bejeweled foot prints to lay in our ever evolving garden.
-To summon the body, socios painted their bodies and created a body for the Goon Monster.
-To summon the spirit, socios pulled together to solve a number of group challenges like undoing the human knot and getting the whole group “across the river”.
At the end of the day, the Goon Monster and two Garden Ghouls appeared! And had their conflict mediated by our talented counselor, Sara Dean. They figured out how to get along and were brought closer together with songs and positivity from campers and staff. It was a remarkable change of heart. Cooks also pitched in by creating a dessert of dirt and worms with flowers as a flourish!
In all the excitement, we have also taken time to reflect with Meeting for Worship at our fire circle and have loved all of the thoughtful responses from staff and campers alike. The queries this summer have been:
-How do we show kindness? And how do we grow kindness?
-Why do we take time to be silent? What are we listening for in the silence?
We look forward to seeing the families of our 2 week campers when you pick up your child this Saturday between 10:00 and 12:00. Please make sure to go through the full check-out process before leaving. Details will be given at our Farewell Ceremony and on-site. Also, as many of you know, we are hoping to raise funds for new bathhouses which will include very clean eco-friendly composting toilets! We invite you to check out the plans for the bathhouses when you arrive, and please consider donating.
We are sad to say goodbye to Kathrin as she heads back to New York to go back to her day job as a social worker in an Early Childhood Education Center in Brooklyn. She is profoundly sad to be leaving Catoctin but looks forward to figuring out ways to support staff from a much longer overnight.
Thank you as always for sending your wonderful campers to us and trusting us with their care. It is a joy and a privilege to watch them grow!
Dyresha and Kathrin and the Catoctin Staff