News from Shiloh C Session 2013
The weather is great! No, really – we’ve lucked out this summer, and our days often peak at 80 degrees.
Session Three has been all about Trying New Things (TNT) at Shiloh.
A troupe of young thespians visited Shiloh last weekend. They performed “Much Ado About Nothing” in its entirety. It was an al fresco performance, at night, but with the help of microphones, the thespians beat out the cicadas. Campers loved it, and proceeded to sing and dance with the performers the following morning at breakfast.
A camp favorite for staffers and campers alike is the game of Jugs. Jugs, a twist on Capture The Flag, is usually played just once a session. This time, we played it twice. Campers marched to the lower field after dinner last night, and despite the competitive nature of the game, were spirited and supportive. As always, it was a tie!
Talk about TNT, Shiloh’s really switched up trip themes these past two weeks. We began with a service trip at a local farm. And this isn’t just any farm. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo Farms provided Shiloh with its first ever chickens this summer. In return, we helped them garden and build a goat shelter. On top of that, our oldest campers are on a beach trip right now, and Unit Two (or “U2”) are hiking thirty trail miles while making a movie.
The Farm-to-Table craze has made its way to Camp Shiloh. For the first time ever, last week, we ate a meal that incorporated plants grown on our own property. Our Mexican tacos came with salsa chopped up and spiced by campers. The tomatoes were grown next door in our neighbor’s garden, and the fresh chili peppers came from just outside the dining hall. In some campers’ doggie bags, we’re including canned wine berries from Shiloh’s woods. Delicious!
Our afternoon activities have included blazing a second trail to our new Unit 4 cabin, tracking Shiloh critters, swing dancing, rocking out to classical music in the girl’s bathhouse, and plenty of time in the pond.
Units 1 and 2 left this morning for 3 night trips, while Units 3-5 are soaking up as much in-camp time as possible before heading out in the morning. Staff-Staff will eagerly await their stories of challenge and triumph upon arrival on Friday.
Shiloh Quaker Camp
Dear Friends of Catoctin Quaker Camp,
We have had a great first week of the session here at Catoctin and can’t wait to have more adventures next week!
Trips went out this past Tuesday and were on the trail (or river) until Thursday. Unit 2/3 went canoeing in the Potomac River and made it down two sets of rapids, Needles and White Horse. Unit 1/2 and 3/4 went rock climbing at Annapolis Rocks; some campers even kissed the carabineer went they made it to the top. When off the rocks, campers got to hike a portion of the beautiful Appalachian Trail. Units 5/6 and 4/5 joined together and went on an Explorers Trip to discover new animals and places here on the mountain. They saw a glow-in-the-dark caterpillar and even discovered a rare Mid-Atlantic pineapple growing out of the ground!
After returning from trips, campers had a chance to sing around the fire circle, and shared their favorite stories from their trips. Fire-circle is an important time here at Catoctin, not only for campers to sing and be goofy, but also for them to reflect and articulate their thoughts. Before trips went out, a query was posed to the campers about what they do to see the inner light in others. Campers and counselors alike shared insights about how they find light in all people.
Campers were thrilled to see their families at Saturday’s visitor’s potluck, and jumped right back into camp with activities like capture the flag and jewelry-making when parents left. Other activities that have been taking place around camp include Campstagram, sumo-wrestling, friendship bracelet-making and face painting. Campers are never at a loss for things to do here at Catoctin!
Later in the week, we celebrated a board-game themed Special Day by creating life-sized versions of many common family favorites. Presided over by dualing directors (the black and white queens of Chess) campers and staff dressed as everything from Monopoly’s Mr. Moneybags to Candyland’s Lolly-pop Princess. Each socio group then created a game to play including a giant Battleship grid, where players answer camp questions to place coordinates and a literal version of “Guess Who” game with wonderfully disguised community members.
Throughout all this we’ve been supporting Unit 1B from afar as they continue the adventures of their 10-day trip. This weekend they were canoeing on the Shenandoah River and tackling some impressive rapids and last night, they completed the marathon day – 26 whole miles!
We’ve loved getting to know your children this week. Seeing them challenge themselves, build friendships, and have fun together has been truly amazing. We look forward to a wonderful end of the summer.
Love and Light,
Dyresha and Kathrin, Co-Directors of Catoctin Quaker Camp
August 5, 2013
Dear Opequon Families & Friends,
Greetings from the ridge; we’re having a great two week session (and a continued fabulous four weeks for those who are here for a month) and this one week session that started yesterday is off to a wonderful start!
First, an update about last week for our two-week and four-week camper family and friends: Campers arrived on Sunday, July 28th and we had a beautiful fire-circle with lively singing and a query which campers and staff responded to out of the silence. It was a delightful first night of the session. Monday we had a lovely first full day of camp for the session with fun morning activities in Units and plenty of time in the pool and creek in the afternoon. Campers had a wide range of especially fun and creative afternoon activities to choose from last week, there was truly something for everyone including a creek float, landscape painting on miniature canvases, and many sports/games, and arts, crafts and nature options.
Tuesday morning they headed off on their overnight adventures. Unit 4, the youngest group, rock-climbed at Crescent Rocks all day long until dinnertime! The next day they hiked on the Appalachian Trail to Snickers Gap and we picked them up there. Unit 3 started hiking on the Appalachian Trail at Ashby Gap and then hiked to Sky Meadows, a truly gorgeous spot with rolling green hills and rock outcroppings surrounded by mountains where they spent the night and where we picked them up the next day. Unit 2 floated down the Opequon Creek with their packs and food on floating tubes to a beautiful local farm where they spent the night and then hiked back to camp. Unit 1, the oldest campers did a local hike with a “get rowdy, get spiritual,” theme with rowdy camp games and silent hiking and a spiritual focus. They spent the night at Hopewell Meeting House, a nearby historic meetinghouse, built in the 1700s. When all the groups returned back to camp on Wednesday we had a lovely fire-circle with raucous and lovely singing and then campers and counselors shared hero-shero, thank-you, gratitude, adventure stories and beautiful moments from their time on the river, rocks and trails.
Thursday morning we started another exciting set of 3-day workshops that campers signed up for: “Make Your Own Field Sport,” (they created “Quakeball” a very creative and well-designed game), “Meditation, Observation, Exploration,”
“Opequon Guild of Puppeteers” (they created an original script, made puppets and filmed a puppet adventure movie), “Polo Yolo” (water polo in the pool and creek, they learned the skills of the game, created an Opequon team and had a lot of fun doing it), “Super Magic Healing Adventure” (they made “soul collages” creating collage art to express their souls, spent time at the creek and in different magical spots around camp, and more!), “A cappella” where they learned and arranged a cappella songs including, “Don’t Worry be Happy,” and “Respect” and performed them for the whole camp during the Art Walk, and “Keeping it Reel” (Contra and folk dancing from around the world).
The Art Walk on Saturday was amazing, full of performances from the dance and A cappella workshops, demonstrations on the field of their games by the Quakeball and Polo Yolo workshops, and explanations of their workshops and what they learned by all the workshops, shared with the whole camp! Later that evening we had an all-camp viewing of the puppeteers’ original film screening of their fourteen-minute production complete with an impressive and inspiring soundtrack. After the art walk and dinner we had our closing fire circle and graduation ceremony with singing and a query followed by a dance party. The next morning on Sunday, we were sad to see our one week campers leave and then happy for our next one week campers to arrive!
This week is off to a great start with an especially sweet night of singing during Sunday night fire circle, when campers arrived yesterday, and a query (an open ended spiritually focused question that we ask during fire circle and that anyone in the camp community is invited to respond to). Campers had a lot to share in response to the query; it was delightful to hear what they had to say. Today is a full day in camp as the new week settles in and we prepare to leave for overnights tomorrow. Unit 4 will be doing a local hike in this lovely weather and will be staying at Hopewell Meeting house. Unit 3 was going to do a creek float down the Opequon Creek, however, due to the rain and cold weather, they are now hiking on the beautiful Appalachian Trail to Crescent Rocks where they will be doing a ropes course while the rocks dry in the sun and then rock climbing as well depending on how much the rocks dry out. They were very excited for their creek float and are also very excited for the change of plans and the ropes course adventure. We are planning on offering another creek float during afternoon activities later this week so they will still get to do that as well. Unit 2 is hiking from the Blackburn shelter on the AT to Crescent Rocks where they will spend the night and then wake up Wednesday morning for a full day of rock climbing. Unit 1 is currently on their graduation trip. We dropped them off at Crescent Rocks this morning for a day of rock climbing. They are then doing two days of hiking on the AT including some special Unit 1 closure/graduation activities.
The trips will be back Wednesday and we will have another lovely hero/shero fire-circle with raucous and beautiful singing followed by campers and counselors hero-shero stories, thank-you, gratitude and adventure stories and beautiful moments from their time on the river, rocks and trails. Thursday they will start another set of three-day workshops, which will include most of the following: Tai Chi and Meditation, Gender Extravaganza, Slam Poetry, Human Rube Goldberg Machine, Merengue and Bachata dance workshop, Clay (dug-up from our very own Opequon Creek!), perhaps Underwater Movie-making, and performing and recording Camp Songs. Saturday will be our last Art Walk of the summer followed by fire-circle with lots of singing, of course, and our last query and graduation ceremony of the summer.
It has been another truly magical summer up on the ridge and we so look forward to soaking up the last days of this session. We are so impressed with the new campers who are jumping in to their first summer at Opequon and bravely trying new things. We’re so glad they’re here and are so very glad to see the returning campers as well.
We look forward to the rest of the session, and to seeing you when you come to pick-up your campers. Here’s to a fabulous rest of the week!
Love & Light,
Elaine & the Opequon Staff