After a cold and rainy week the skies cleared up just in time for our campout. I was curious to see what kind of group we had and how we would respond to each other and to adversity, competition, solo time and personal responsibility. I also wanted to see if we could just plain have fun, if we could laugh we each other and get a little crazy. On all accounts, I was pleased. I think this group is awesome!
We spent some time making journals (which may need some maintenance...) and practicing tent pitching (dang, we are good) and stove starting (again, check) before heading off to Camp Roger.
We trundled our gear off into the woods and set up camp on a high spot with a view of Pickerel Lake, in a grove of red pine and oak.
After setting up and gathering firewood (and pine pitch for torches), we went to the sandy wash for some dodgeball. In four games, the downhill side won each time. There were head shots, amazing catches, impressive arms, against-all-odds comebacks, and not a few screams. Frankly, I thought watching Christie - on her own - defend Team Even's honor was almost more fun than playing.
A rousing game of capture the flag followed dodgeball, and was dominated by a couple terrifically agile and sneaky guys. They used a combination of sheer speed, on-the-fly reasoning, and thorn bushes to achieve success.
For dinner, pizza pita pockets, cooked right on the fire. Mmmmm. Next time, we'll have fewer mushrooms and more pepperoni! After dinner, we headed off for some No Group time. Under a last quarter moon and incipient starlight, with a chorus of Canada geese, spring peepers and grey tree frogs, we soaked up God's creation with few distractions.
At campfire, we had s'mores and then some more s'mores. Then Jake's mafia game (with the evil nurse) and Andrew's mafia game (the plot twists!) had us all laughing uproariously. If we ever become hopelessly stranded somewhere, we'll at least have entertainment!
In Council, we listened to everyone else share their idea of a great summer Saturday, and then something about themself they were proud of. People listened deeply, listened for understanding, and valued other's thoughts enough to put their own internal dialogue away for awhile. It was one of the most impressive things we did as a large group.
In the morning, we pondered a great oatmeal experiment before deciding we didn't have time, and we set off on our hike loaded down with apples, oranges, trail mix and dry cereal. We walked through the Pickerel Lake preserve and on along Ramsdell Avenue to Townsend Park. Along the bike path we saw mayapple and swamp buttercup in profusion.
We stopped along the path to talk about - and remove - garlic mustard, and how it isn't really part of the plant community as God intended it: it is an invasive species. We split up to spend some time with our journals, trying to introspectively find our own invasive species. What subtle things creep into our lives and rob us of our chance to continue becoming what God created us to be?
We were called in from solo time to find a traverse set up across Bear Creek. The challenge was to get the entire group across the rain-swollen creek without anyone getting wet. The way everyone accepted the challenge, encouraged others, and did the little things necessary for the group to succeed was impressive. With the exception of Hannah's hood and the top of Lucas's head, we all arrived dry.
Once we were all on the other side, we piled into cars and headed back to school for sandwiches - hand made by Torie, Hannah and Audrey - fruit and Sun Chips. At the Expo, we made some money for the trip by painting faces and selling plants. Some of us wandered out to see the boys play baseball...it was a picturesque afternoon, with blossoming trees and cumulus clouds spangling the green grass and blue sky.
As we drifted off to sleep later that night, some of us thought "it doesn't get a whole lot better...."