Opequon Quaker Camp Session 3 Report

By August 3, 2015 January 6th, 2016 General, OQC

Greetings from the Opequon Ridge!

The first of our one-week sessions has been wonderful! On Sunday afternoon, we welcomed campers new and returning and the day was full of sweet introductions and excited reunions. We spent the evening at the fire circle singing joyfully and reflecting on the query, “How do we find joy?” It was so inspiring to hear what the campers had to say.IMG_9487

The C.I.s were great adventures for all! Unit 4 hiked on the Appalachian Trail and rock-climbed at Crescent Rocks while enjoying the beautiful view. Unit 3 road-hiked from camp to the historic Hopewell Meeting House, originally constructed in 1734, and then back to camp after sleeping out on their beautiful green grounds, all the while shooting an original movie in which they all starred! Unit 2 canoed on the Potomac River, honing their skills on flat water the first day and paddling through exciting rapids on the second. Like Unit 4, Unit 1 hiked on the Appalachian Trail and rock-climbed at Crescent Rocks, but they hiked a few more miles ;). The afternoon trips got back, camp was filled with excitement and joy. At our post-trip fire circle campers and counselors shared stories of adventure, courage, beauty and hilarity. Some campers spoke about the meaning of C.I.s and how they felt like the C.I. had bonded them as a unit and camp.

Thursday was our first day of Workshops! We have an exciting and diverse lineup this week. Campers in “People Powered Possibilities” are playing group-building games on a low ropes course and discussing how to make social and political change in their schools and communities. The “Soul Animals” workshop is learning about ecosystems at camp and around the world while discovering to which animals each camper feels most connected. “Daaaaaance ‘15” is exploring principles of choreography and creative ways of coming up with original movement as well as gaining comfort in moving their bodies in different ways. At the art walk, they’ll perform a dance choreographed by the whole group! In “We’re Just Making This Up,” campers are exploring the limitless world of improvisation. “Mardi Gras,” led by staff who reside during the year in New Orleans, are exploring the rich history and politics behind the Carnival tradition, making floats, masks, and king cake. Campers in “Woah, That’s Big,” are exploring big ideas, big hearts, and big creations, while creating a big and meaningful group sculpture. In “Clayventures,” campers ventured to the Opequon creek to gather clay from the banks the first day, and spent the rest of workshop hard at work with their clay creations.

IMG_6861And that just covers the mornings! Our afternoons have been abuzz with playful summer energy. For instance, our Thursday lineup of activities included a creek float down the Opequon, a jam session/sing-along, catch-the-counselor, Frisbee golf, postcard-making, wheelbarrow-full-of-mud, card games, shower painting, and pool time.

On Friday, we had the much-anticipated game of Jugs, which is a whole camp game similar to capture-the-flag that we play on our field at the bottom of the hill. What makes Jugs unique is the attention we put into dressing up in “camp fancy” beforehand and the boundless carefree joy and enthusiasm felt on the field. This time, we had a “camp fancy dinner” beforehand so we got to spend a dinner and chores in our fabulous garb as well. Saturday was our last day or workshops! In the afternoon we had Art Walk, where each workshop got to display/perform and talk about what they did and created over the previous three days. We ended the last night of the session with “Off the Hook,” an all-camp variety show that never fails to inspire and entertain. And the whole group was an incredibly present, encouraging and joyful audience. What a lovely week!