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Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.  Albert Einstein

Week Five of Summer Camp 2017!

Sarah Chaffee, July 29, 2017

Archer's Apprentice

This week the archers of Archer's Apprentice practiced their skills by completing a variety of shooting challenges, one of which involved stalking and hunting pineapples. When they weren't loosing their arrows, they spent time crafting and playing epic games with the Capture the Flag campers.

An archer taking aim at her target.

On Friday their instructors, Shep and Marina, gave them each a gift of animal hide and cordage to make armguards to help protect themselves while shooting.

A camper cutting a piece of animal hide to use as an arm guard with Shep, an Archer's Apprentice instructor, helping.

Capture the Flag

The Capture the Flag, CTF, campers enjoyed a week of adventure and games at the YMCA Outdoor Education Area.

Two campers during a morning game.

All week long campers enjoyed playing their favorite game - CTF! On Tuesday they split themselves up into two teams and had to work together to build a shelter out of sticks as tall as their tallest team member. However, they could only use sticks from the other team's side and had to avoid getting tagged.There were also mischievous counselors that would come and knock down the shelters if campers weren't guarding them. The forest was filled with excitement laughter during this game.

A camper running during a game of CTF.

But it wasn't just a week of epic games of CTF for these campers. They also completed daily fire challenges that tested their knowledge of fire-building and teamwork.

A camper learning how to light a match and start a fire for the first time.

On Friday campers worked together to build a large enough fire to burn a rope that dropped a special surprise - chocolate and marshmallows!

Dylan, a Capture the Flag instructor, blowing on the flames of a fire in hopes that it will ignite a rope above it.

Coyote Camp

The counselors-in-training, CITs, of Coyote Camp enjoyed a week exploring different natural areas around Ithaca and learning about leadership, mentorship and advanced wilderness skills.

Sean, a Primitive Pursuits instructor, helping the CITs identify a plant.

On Wednesday the group traveled to the South Hill Recreation Way where they practiced their plant identification skills. They participated in the "Meet Your Tree" exercise where a blindfolded CIT was led by another, not blindfolded, to three different trees. After the blindfolded participant had visited all three, he or she took off their blindfold and tried to find their trees.

A CIT during the "Meet Your Tree" exercise.

Throughout the week they discussed the importance of CITs and what their role within Primitive Pursuits is. They also talked openly about challenges they might face as a CIT and how they would overcome them.

A CIT working on a coal burning project.

While at the South Hill Recreation Way, the CITs worked together, half of them blindfolded, to gather wood and build fire. They were successful and enjoyed sitting around their fire during lunch.

A blindfolded CIT letting another be his eyes while trying to start a fire.

Growing Wild

This week the adventurous Growing Wild bunch enjoyed exploring the YMCA Outdoor Education Area. They enjoyed free-play, playing Owl and Mice and even got to make bark baskets using white pine bark!

The Growing Wild campers with their instructors at their base camp.

On Friday they learned about camouflage and used their new skills to find a hidden watermelon, which they got to eat during lunch. The Growing Wild campers also saw a garter snake and got to learn more about them.

Sierra, a Growing Wild instructor, showing the campers a garter snake.

Hidden Trails

Bog Turtle Clan

This week the Bog Turtle Clan enjoyed exploring the beautiful trails of the Ellis Hollow Natural Area. This group of campers loved to play high-engery games, with Wolf Pack and Weasel Tree being some of their favorites.

A camper during a game of Wolf Pack.

They loved having lunch by the creek and harvesting clay to make bowls and mugs. On Friday they enjoyed roasting apples over a fire they built themselves.

Campers working together to use a friction kit.

Brown Bat Clan

The Brown Bat Clan made the Fallen Tree Camp at the Ellis Hollow Natural Area their home for the week. There they made a large shelter using y-sticks, bark and pine needles and practiced making scout fires. By the end of the week they were able to build and start a fire all by themselves!

A muddy Brown Bat.

On Friday the clan embarked on a mission to complete three challenges in order to receive a special surprise. The challenges involved navigation, stalking and fire-building and led to a delicious cantaloupe treat!

April, an instructor, helping campers start a fire during lunch.

Coal Skink Clan

The Coal Skink Clan were a brave and adventurous bunch! On Monday on the way to their basecamp they marked several "hidden trails" and later in the day went to explore them. One of the trails they found led to a dry, dead tree perfect for fire "whispies." They harvested some to use for fires throughout their week.

A camper wearing a flower crown.

When they weren't out discovering secret trails they enjoyed free-play by the creek and harvesting clay to make pottery. On Friday they built a fire under a rope and burned it, dropping a watermelon they all shared.

Campers and counselors playing a running game.

Rattlesnake Clan

Members of the Rattlesnake Clan preferred to explore hidden trails while also hidden themselves. They enjoyed learning about camouflage and going on scouting scavenger hunts where they had to gather five facts about another clan without them noticing. On Monday they built an obstacle course using string tied to various heights on trees. A blindfolded camper would make his or her way through the course while allowing their peers to be their eyes. They had to carefully listen to their instructions and trust them in order successfully complete all the obstacles.

A camper completing an obstacle course blindfolded.

The Rattlesnake Clan's base camp was near the creek at the Ellis Hollow Natural Area and they enjoyed having free-play there and also practicing their plant identification skills.

A camper giving a coyote howl during Friday's closing circle.

On Friday this clan, along with the other Hidden Trails' tribe members, were greeted by the "cursed egg." The egg was thankfully defeated during their closing circle.

Sarah Brown, Primitive Pursuits' program director, holding the cursed egg.

Scout Week

Scout Week had a talented group of young scouts who learned scout etiquette and formation, stalking skills and camouflage techniques through daily missions they completed. Some of these secret missions included trips to gather information from other clans and stalking the Hidden Trails tribe's closing circle without being spotted- which they successfully did.

Ariana, a Scout Week instructor, looking for the scouts, who had skillfully hidden themselves along the trail.

On Friday they challenged their instructors, Ariana and Will, to a blindfolded race through the creek at the Ellis Hollow Natural Area. Afterwards Ariana and Will had their own challenge for the scouts to complete- travel to a secret location to find a surprise without being seen. The group traveled in scout formation to the spot, sometimes having to hide themselves amongst bushes and trees to avoid being spotted by passerby. They eventually found a burlap sack filled with blueberries and whipped creme, which they had to feed to each other while blindfolded.

Will, a Scout Week instructor, and a camper during a blindfolded feast where they had to feed each other.

Wilderness Explorers

The Wilderness Explorers spent the week traveling to various locations around Ithaca and exploring each one's natural wonders. On Thursday they went to Shindagin Hollow State Forest and practiced their plant identification skills by gathering leaves from different trees. They enjoyed exploring the creek, finding crawfish and admiring the many waterfalls there.

Two campers playing a running game.

The explorers played Keeper of the Keys and another blindfolded game that tested their intuition and awareness. One camper remained blindfolded while another crept up behind them with the intention to "hunt" or "hug" them. The blindfolded camper would turn around and point the moment they felt like they knew what their intent was. They were amazed to find that they were able to accurately feel those intentions.

Wilderness Explorers checking out the view from their camp at Shindagin Hollow.

Thanks for reading! We're looking forward to another week of discovery and exploration here at Primitive Pursuits!

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Need a trail guide?

We’re happy to help you navigate. Give us a call at the office (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or use the link below

Get In Touch

Don't miss a beat, add yourself to our list to get all the latest details.