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

Week Two of Summer Camp 2017!

Sarah Chaffee, July 8, 2017

Archery, wildcrafting, scouting- oh my!

We had another wonderful week of learning and discovery at Primitive Pursuits' summer camp.

Archer Camp

The young archers at Archer Camp may have started off the week feeling clumsy and awkward holding a bow and arrow, but by the end of the week they were aiming at targets almost 200 feet away and even shooting at night!

An archer taking aim at his target.

On Wednesday night campers cooked their dinner over a fire they started themselves using a bow drill kit. As the sun began to set both campers and instructors enjoyed listening to the chorus of birds and wind through the trees surrounding their camp at the Arnot Forest.

The Archer Camp instructors.

The evening's activity was nighttime shooting at the archery range with the tip of a candle as their target. Many of the campers wondered if this was even possible. Justin, an Archer Camp instructor, said:

"The exercise isn't about the candle at all. The candle just provides a focal point for them to hone their concentration and let the archery form they've been practicing shine through. To shoot without visual references forces us to feel the bow as an extension of ourselves."

An archer in deep concentration while aiming at a target.

The campers strung and unstrung their bows with ease and handled their arrows with expertise. After several rounds of shooting at the candle a young archer stepped forward, pulled back his bowstring and watched as his arrow flew towards the target and the candle light vanished.

Shep, an Archer Camp instructor, demonstrating proper form.

On Thursday they continued to refine their skills by aiming at a watermelon and a yellow pepper. They also made their own archery quivers out of Japanese knotweed.

A camper proudly holding up the watermelon target he successfully shot.

A camper placing his arrow in a quiver he made.

Base Camp

Raccoon Clan

The Raccoon Clan set up their camp near the stream at the Ellis Hollow Natural Area. They practiced their shelter building skills by making three stable structures in their camp.

Campers hanging out in the shelter they built.

These campers were a very resourceful bunch and used a fallen tree near their base camp for "whispies" in their fires.

Liz, a Raccoon Clan instructor, teaching campers about plantain leaves.

They also used clay from the stream and leftover charcoal from their fires as body camouflage. After a week of fun and adventure, they enjoyed tea and sweet treats around a fire in their base camp.

Zak, the Tribe Leader for Base Camp, working on cordage with a camper.

Crow Clan

The Crow Clan were diligent builders and wasted no time constructing two sizable debris huts in their base camp. They loved having free-play by the stream, especially on warm days, and even built a bridge!

A member of the Crow Clan playing with clay at the stream.

All week these clan members worked to improve their fire skills and by Thursday they were able to light a fire without help from their instructors.

A camper playing a round of Everybody's It Tag.

Growing Wild

Mudpuppy and Pollywog Clans

Growing Wild's theme this week was "the four directions." They explored this theme by greeting the North, South, East and West every morning during their opening circle.

A Growing Wild camper during a closing circle activity.

The Mudpuppy Clan made tree spirit masks using leaves, pine needles and other natural materials, all while practicing gratitude for these resources. They also built their own fort and spent some time learning about the different plants found around Trillium Camp.

A camper listening to a story while wearing his tree spirit mask.

The Pollywog Clan loved going on imaginary adventures on the "horsey log" and also visited the "Lost Camp" where they spent time learning about trees - and hugging them of course!

Nina, an instructor, and a camper on the "horsey log."

Together the two clans were visited by an Animal Spirit who taught them about animal movement and voices. Both clans also explored the creek where they saw crawfish and frogs. On Friday they practiced excellent fire safety while sitting around a roaring fire and listening to a story about a chickadee. They ended their week with a delicious apple treat.

Kelly, an instructor, telling the Growing Wild campers a story.

A camper enjoying a cinnamon apple cooked by the fire.

Hidden Trails

Fisher Clan

The Fisher Clan had an exciting week of scouting! They found new entrances to the Beaver Pond, discovered a new scout pit and explored the far corners of 4-H Acres, all while remaining hidden and practicing good scout etiquette.

A camper playing "keeper of the keys," or in this case "keeper of the matches".

Tribe Leader Alex sneaking up on the Fisher Clan for a surprise visit.

They also learned how to fox-walk and use their "deer ears." The Fisher Clan learned how to use two-person friction kits with every clan member getting smoke!

A camper practicing his camouflage technique.

Zach, a Hidden Trails instructor, using his "deer ears" to hear the forest around him.

Coywolf Clan

This clan had a very deep connection to nature and loved using natural resources as camouflage during their scouting adventures.

A camper sneaking up on the Advanced Wildcrafting Clan during a Hidden Trails scouting mission.

Liana, a Coywolf instructor, playing with a Fisher Clan member.

One day they even covered themselves head-to-toe in mud from the creek!

A camper using mud from the creek to camouflage herself.

River Scouts

The River Scouts had an adventure-filled week exploring waterways all over the Finger Lakes area. They focused on exploring, navigation and crafting. Each camper made a pine bark basket, practiced cartography, made stone tools and ate endless mulberries and black caps.

A River Scout working on a map by the river in the Arnot Forest.

They also saw amazing geographic features in Hick Brook, Coy Glen and Shindagin Hollow. After lots of training, the River Scouts now consider themselves masters of Foot Tag.

A happy canoer.

A group of River Scouts canoeing towards Cayuga Lake.


Wildcrafting Wizards

This clan made their camp this week at White Pine at 4-H Acres. They ethically harvested beech saplings and peeled the bark with stone tools to make "wizard staffs."

A camper using a stone tool to scrape bark off of his wizard staff.

They were even visited by the great Wizard of Fire himself!

Wildcrafters getting a surprise visit from the Wizard of Fire.

Advanced Wildcrafting

This group of advanced wildcrafters made their camp at the base of Beaver Pond. All week long they exercised their cordage and coal burning skills and even made their own carrying frames.

A camper "pecking and grinding" a rock.

An Advanced Wildcrafter running after stealing the other team's flag.

They also enjoyed some epic games of Capture the Flag and Forest Renegades.

Thanks for reading! We are looking forward to another fun week here at Primitive Pursuits!

Need a trail guide?

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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.