Second session has been wonderful! We had 20 campers stay on from first session and they helped us welcome the new campers who arrived on Sunday. The day was full of excited introductions and joyous reunions. The rainstorms early in the week brought some rare and much appreciated cool weather.
Our C.I.’s were a great demonstration of our campers’ and counselors’ flexibility. Units 3 and 4 combined forces into one trip. They were planning on canoeing but 4 inches of rain the night before trips went out meant the rivers were too high to safely canoe. Instead, they hiked to a nearby farm where they learned about farming and provided a few hours of service. On the second day, they went rock climbing at Crescent Rocks. It turned out to be a great trip. Unit 1 explored two different state parks and a new-to-us section of the Appalachian Trail. And finally, Unit 2 conquered many miles of trail—It was a challenging and bonding experience for them all. Our post-trip fire circle was especially cozy this week. Many many campers and counselors shared wonderful adventure stories, beautiful moments, thank yous and hero/shero stories. They were so full of gratitude for each other; it was so sweet and moving.
We had a fun day of visitors yesterday (Sunday) including parents and caregivers as well as many of our graduated Opequon campers on their way home from Teen Adventure, shining in the afterglow of a challenging and successful three weeks on the trail. It’s always nice to see our beloved campers taking to heart the phrase from The Opequon Song, “Don’t forget that when you leave you can always call Opequon home.”
During our two Sunday night fire circles of the session, after some joyful and beautiful group singing, campers and staff shared on the queries, “What is truth and how do you know your truth?” and “What is joy? Where does it come from?” It is always amazing to hear what our wise young people have to say about these big questions. What an honor and privilege it is to learn from, and with, them.
We just finished up the first round of workshops of the session. As always, the workshops were inspired, lively and creative. “Rockin’ Out” was a fun exploration of pop music that culminated in a hilarious and entertaining red carpet introduction to our Opequon rock stars and a series of interviews. In “Nay-Cha”, campers created a series of nature “mocumentaries” which the whole camp had the pleasure of viewing—they were so funny! In “Graphic Novels” the group collaborated to write and illustrate an original work of literary and artistic brilliance. In “A Whole New World”, each camper used the materials of their choice to create their own world—very magical! The “Camp-sical 2014” group worked together to write and perform an amazing camp musical based on camp songs! It was truly magnificent! In “Write It, Say It, Slam It”, the campers wrote their own powerful slam poetry and performed it at the art walk. The poems themselves were amazing as were the readings! During the Art Walk, campers from all six workshops shared their creations and experiences with all of camp and clearly felt empowered as the artists they are. That’s what we like to see!
We’ve been filling our afternoons with a variety of activities, some artistic, some reflective, some active, some rejuvenating and some outrageous. Here is a sampling from the week: Creek Adventures, swimming in the pool, Pet Rocks, “Titanic-ing”, Ga-Ga-Ga, Snapchat Unplugged, Letter Writing, Postcard Making, Hair Mystery, Fingernail Painting, Foraging & Fishing, and Fruit Sports (i.e. Banana Baseball).
Coming right up is our second and final ODWAD (One Day Workshop Adventure Day) of the summer. The theme of this ODWAD is Wizard of Oz with groups representing Brain, Heart and Courage. The Courage group is going canoeing on the Potomac River. The same day, our Unit 1 graduates will head out on their Grad C.I. (trip). They will begin at Fox Haven Farm near Frederick, MD where they will be doing community service and participating in solos, a long-standing camp tradition for unit 1 grads. From there, they will be transported to the Potomac River where they will canoe, on both flat and white water. The unit 1 counselors have lots of plans for making the grads’ last Opequon CI special. Upon their return to camp, the traditions will continue, culminating in a unique and magical graduation ceremony.
Stay tuned for more news from the ridge!
Love and Light,
Sara and the Opequon Staff