News from Catoctin 2nd Session 2019
It’s almost impossible to believe, but we’re already halfway through our summer season at Catoctin Quaker Camp. Being halfway means we only have three weeks left; it’s true! But it also means we have three incredible ones yet to come. Yes that’s right: there are three, fabulous but true, whole weeks of Catoctin Magic left to create. That means there are nothing but opportunities from now until the end of the summer to continue providing the fuel for the life changing stories to be told around our campfire. Here is but a sampling of what we’ve been up to so far!
Unit 1 – Our soon to be Unit 1 graduates set off on their epic 10 day adventure one week ago which means that, as of this update being typed, they are currently on their home stretch. Unit 1 has already bested the mountainous yet beautiful terrain while hiking through the world renowned Shenandoah National Park. It wasn’t always easy! Unit 1 found this out firsthand on their last day which involved more than a little thunder as well as the infamous regional heat wave. Still, our campers were undeterred, managed to beat the heat, and triumphantly arrived to the canoe portion of their trip ready and excited to trade their packs and boots for paddles and water shoes. Canoeing on the Potomac went off without a hitch! After three days of relatively flat water, the unit was transported to the trail for the final, and more relaxed, portion of the trip with a focus on bonding and spirituality. We anticipate their glorious return in only two days…
Unit 2 – It didn’t take long for unit 2 to pick up the mantle of the oldest campers at camp in unit 1’s absence. They were ready to lead, and lead they did. But first, unit 2 had to complete a series of trials and tasks in order to rise to their rightful place as the new unit to beat. It involved a hiking trip through the picturesque Caledonia State Park. But that wasn’t it. Their theme? Why Dungeons and Dragons, of course. That’s right. Unit 2 embarked on an epic, real life, group wide, giant game of D&D; complete with characters, traits, powers, and stats – oh so many stats. The end result being a fun trip, and entire new personas that are still going strong.
Unit 3 – Embarked upon a CQC Classic rock climbing trip to Fishing Creek. They spent more time on the rocks than any unit has in quite some time. They simply wouldn’t quit! Counselors were happy to report that all campers set goals for themselves and all campers were able to make progress toward their goals by either achieving them or getting further than they thought they could. When it comes to challenge zones, getting to test your limits is so important, and we could not be more proud of unit 3 for giving it all they had!
Unit 4 – If you ask Unit 4 what the best part of their trip was, they’d likely say getting to explore historic Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia along the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah. Unit 4 campers reported being absolutely enthralled with the old architecture and the living history in plain view. Harper’s Ferry was a highlight to be sure, but their counselors couldn’t help but notice that the unit also absolutely killed it with some tricky ridge hiking beforehand. It was the ‘getting to’ Harper’s Ferry that was supposed to be the challenging part. But don’t tell that to Unit 4 who didn’t seem to notice!
Unit 5 – Our two youngest units got to enjoy local trips around the mountain, but that doesn’t mean they missed out on any fun. Unit 5 got to try out their skills in the harness as they rock climbed at Fishing Creek, though on a different day than Unit 3. Many if not most of these campers had ever rock climbed before, but you wouldn’t know by looking at them. Our counselors certainly couldn’t tell. By the conclusion of the trip, Unit 5 were informed that they’re all rock climbing pros now. A designation that certainly feels true based on their effort alone!
Unit 6 – Unit 6 had one thing and one thing only on their mind during the duration of their trip. That thing was monsters. Good monsters! Unit 6 also embarked on a local mountain trip, but the twist was a fantasy adventure ripped straight from their favorite stories. Imagination knew no limit during this trip which was only aided by their lovely team of counselors who provided more than enough props, story settings, and narration to keep everyone fully engaged. There have been rumors of dragon eggs – which were discovered dormant, pristine, and untouched, a few miles away from our camp at a popular lakeside vista…
Heat Waves don’t stop the fun at camp; we just find ways to work around it. Case in point: Desert Island Special Day at Catoctin Quaker Camp this past weekend which was all about staying cool and beating the heat. Staying cool isn’t so difficult when your camp is located on a mountain in the shade with a fun pond to swim in, but having a Special Day dedicated to water fun certainly doesn’t hurt! Highlights of this joyous day included the “Eat Camp” group who, along with staff guidance, were able to create a wide assortment of treats and edible goodies including but not limited to wine berry smoothies and mint iced tea. Desert Islands tend to have ice machines, right?
During our more quiet moments, campers were able to experience fire circle and meeting for worship as a time to reflect and share with one another. As always, campers of all age groups were able to hold, respect, and fully utilize this space as we all encouraged one another to journey inward. Queries campers responded to were: ‘What can be good about challenge’? And: ‘What does it mean to show, and receive, support?
With three weeks down and three to go, there is absolutely no telling what amazing stories are still to come, but we will be sure to keep sharing! Stay tuned!