Greetings from Opequon!
We are halfway through session one and our summer is off to a wonderful start! Arrival day was very rainy and a even a bit chilly yet remarkably smooth. The weather took mercy on us during name circle time and evening activity before raining through most of the night. The day was marked with sweet reunions and budding new friendships. We have such a great group!
During our first Sunday night fire circle of the summer, after some joyful and beautiful group singing, campers and staff shared on the query, “What does it mean to be a friend?” It is such a pleasure to hear what young people have to say about these big questions. What an honor and privilege it is to learn from and with them.
The CIs (“Cabin Intensives,” or out of camp overnight trips) were a great success. The units returned as cohesive groups and empowered by having met the challenges of their CIs. Unit 4 spent their time hiking on the Appalachian Trail and climbing at Annapolis Rocks. They were troopers through and through and did some amazing rock climbing! They ended their CI with an afternoon at the Washington Monument State Park (the original one in Maryland, not the larger one in DC). Unit 3 canoed for two days on the beautiful Shenandoah River and spent the third day hiking on the C&O Canal. It was a fun and adventurous trip and the counselors gushed about how great the campers were and vise versa. They also spotted a wonderful array of wildlife on the river! Unit 2 did some serious hiking on the AT for the first half of their CI and then spent the rest climbing beautiful Annapolis Rocks, as unit 4 headed out. Unit 1 hiked on the AT including some very challenging hiking on what’s called “The Devil’s Racecourse”. They returned to camp tired, bonded and happy to be back at camp! Our post-trip fire circle was lovely; after some rousing singing, many campers and counselors shared adventure stories, beautiful moments, thank yous and hero/shero stories. They were so full of gratitude for each other; it was so sweet.
We played our first game of Jugs of the summer on Friday evening. Jugs is a camp-wide game similar to Capture the Flag and is a favorite event amongst campers and staff alike. True to long-standing Opequon tradition, everyone dressed up in “camp fancy” for the game and played their hearts out in capes, ball gowns and other amazing costumes. The fun continued on Sat. evening when we took the whole camp to Stephens City for Fourth of July fireworks!
We are just finishing up the first round of workshops of the season and they were magnificent. Campers in “Portraits: Past, Present, Phuture” are learning portrait techniques while exploring who they are inside and creating expressive life size self-portraits. The “OQC Free Library” group is building tiny libraries to install around camp to encourage camp-wide book reading and sharing. So sweet! The “Basketball” team is learning fundamentals, practicing their technique and focusing on the importance of teamwork, all while staying hydrated of course. In “The Poppin’ Pickle People Power Pop Shop,” campers are exploring food traditions/culture and gut health, learning about fermentation and making their own sour kraut, pickles, root beer and yogurt! Campers in “Tell Your Story” are creating original stories and recording them audio book-style to be played aloud for the whole camp during Art Walk. Campers in “Printmaking” are learning different printmaking techniques and playing around with different mediums and colors to create beautiful artwork. We can’t wait to see their creations and hear all about their experiences at the Art Walk!
And that just covers the mornings! We’ve been filling our afternoons with a variety of activities, some artistic, some active, some reflective, some rejuvenating. Here is a sampling from the week: sewing and creative patching, collage, painting with your feet, musical jam session, swimming, basketball, GaGaGa, soccer, letter writing and postcard making, creek float, creek art and yoga.
Soon our Unit 1 graduates will head out on their Grad C.I. (trip). The unit 1 counselors have lots of plans for making the grads’ last Opequon C.I. special. Upon their return to camp, the traditions will continue, culminating in a sweet and magical graduation ceremony.
We look forward to a fantastic second week!
Love and Light,
Sara Brigham, Elaine Brigham and the Opequon Staff