Greetings and salutations from Shiloh Quaker Camp! It’s been sunny, it’s been cloudy; we’ve had hard rains and we’ve had gentle breezes. Our summer kicked off to a fun and rowdy start with lots of name-games and full camp get-to-know-you activities such as classic standards like the Name Circle (where everyone got a chance to introduce themselves with whatever name or nickname they chose to use), or the recently developed Disaster at the Intergalactic Council (where camper-ambassadors from all across the galaxy worked together to solve an extraterrestrial mystery).
As a fully acquainted group of campers, counselors and volunteers, we’ve been hard at work cramming the most amount of fun and serenity into every waking moment. Other full-camp events have included Captain’s Coming (a sea-fairing version of Simon Says), Jugs (Shiloh’s more elaborate version of Capture the Flag), our lovely thrice-annual Work-Crew skits (which this year involved Cryptozoological discoveries, superheroes, the fear of the number 14, Wookies, and Gummy Bear Monarchs), and the newly implemented Sky TV, where the whole camp laid down silently in a field and watched the skies (after which, everyone shared their experiences, what they saw and what they thought about; it was a beautiful fireside discussion just before singing songs and sending the kids off to bed).
Smaller group activities, of which there are approximately ten options each day, have included Ultimate Frisbee, Query-Based Collage Making, Meditation, Catch the Counselor, and a Fully-Clothed Walk from the Upper Field to the Fire Circle, doing our best to ignore the pond sitting between those two locations. Many campers professed to be blissfully unaware of any obstacles on their walk, even while halfway submerged in water.
Our overnight 3-4 day trips that have gone out so far have been predominantly hiking trips, with Unit Five tackling the beautiful and rocky Old Rag mountain, Unit Four touring multiple waterfalls around White Oak Canyon, Unit Three traversing twenty-six miles along the Appalachian Trail, Unit Two rock climbing the cliff faces at Little Stony Man in Shenandoah National Park, and Unit One hiking out of camp towards the Paccosin Hollow Trail, taking that path towards the Appalachian Trail as well (where they ran into Unit Three along the way!).
There’s also been a big push among the staff this year to make lasting changes to the campus, which has included working on a dam for a New Swimming Hole (bringing our grand-total of swimmable locations to three), the installation of a New Garden from which we hope to grow some delicious herbs and veggies, the frame-work for a Ceiling Mural in the dining hall which has its frames and awaits a paint job, and we have just finished construction on a Chicken Coop, which we plan to fill with fowl by next weekend (hopefully they’ll be hopping around by the time to arrive to pick up your kids!). Our resident cartographer has also designed a new Map of the Shiloh Campus, a version of which will appear on our latest batch of T-shirts (they will be on sale for $20, if you are so inclined to pick one up for yourself or your campers), as well as an 11” x 17” Poster (available for $5).
Today in camp was Special Day, which the counselors decided this session would be Election Day! We decorated the campus with red, white, and blue streamers and balloons, and the Fork and Spoon parties have launching their platforms over a series of themed activities and events, including voter registration, a moderated town-hall style debate, the formation of camper lobbying groups, and campaign rallies taking place around Shiloh. There was a major shake-up halfway through the day with the formation of a third party, the camper-helmed Swiss Army Hand (a combination of various third parties, including, but not limited to, Chop Sticks, Hands, Sporks, and Sporknifs) really taking the lead in the polls. While the results of the election have yet to be determined, an inaugural ball is planned and ready regardless of the outcome.
With a week left in this first session of camp, we have a whole slew of fun activities left to run with the campers. Project week trips were just announced, a chance for the kids to mix and mingle outside of just their own age groups, and the two-night trips include a super hike, a gaming trip (The Art of Competition), a community service trip, a canoeing trip and a rock climbing trip. The campers are excited to find out what trip they’ll be on (as we work to match them to one of their three top choices), and the counselors are just as excited to take them out on their next big adventure.
Until Next Session,
The Shiloh Staff