Week Six of Summer Camp 2017!
Sarah Chaffee, August 5, 2017
Bear Camp enjoyed the last week of summer camp at the Arnot Forest. They spent the week exploring the vast woods around them, sleeping in tents and telling stories around a fire. Each evening the campers would divide themselves into guilds based on different outdoor skills such as basket-making, fire-making, plant identification and cordage.
A Bear Camp instructor reading the items the campers needed to collect in order to complete the scavenger hunt.
Throughout the week the campers skills developed and were ultimately tested on Thursday night in an epic scavenger hunt. The items on their list included-
- One container for trail mix
- One plantain leaf
- Two winter green leaves
- One handful of pine needles
- Three pieces of yarrow
- One handful of whispies
- A length of cordage as long as a group's shortest camper
- A spruce root as long as a group's tallest camper
- A kindle bundle the size of a robin's nest
- A tiny twig from a birch tree
- One rock that is good for a hand-hold
Campers searching the Arnot for the scavenger hunt items.
The campers broke up into several groups with members from each guild. They expertly navigated around the Arnot while busily working on the strand of cordage that had to be as long as the tallest camper, many of whom were over five feet tall. In order to finish the scavenger hunt they needed to complete a final task given to them by a wizard. One group had to take a bow drill from a blindfolded wizard without him hearing any of them. Afterwards they all gathered around a fire and talked about what skills they were happy to take home with them, anxieties they had about the week and what they were grateful for. They ended with a song and much laughter.
Campers and instructors sitting around the fire during their closing circle.
The Broadhead Clan enjoyed a week of target practice, epic scouting missions and challenging archery tasks. On Monday in order to begin their Forest Archer journey, each camper had to earn their arrow during a game of Keeper of the Keys.
A young archer taking aim at a target while Paul, a Forest Archer instructor, watches.
On Thursday the archers "hunted" a rabbit and kindly gave their kill, a locally-sourced rabbit, to the young chefs of Primitive Cafe.
The archers and April, a Forest Archer instructor, taking aim.
The Fletcher Clan were not only a talented group of archers, but also masters of scouting! They traveled through 4-H Acres, carrying their bows and arrows and fox walking close to other clans' camps, many times without being noticed.
A camper taking aim at a moving disc thrown by Sean, a Forest Archer instructor.
Their awareness to the forest around them was tested daily whenever the elusive "Mudballer" would surprise unsuspecting campers.
An excited camper after realizing he hit his target.
Each day both clans would come together for target practice and other archery activities. On Tuesday Sean and Paul, the Forest Archer instructors, helped the young archers to make their own arrows. Some also worked on other crafting projects- one camper made her own armguard while another worked on a quiver using a deer hide he made during Gifts of the Deer.
An archer making an armguard.
On Friday they had an Archery Olympics where it was clan against clan, each competing in seven different challenges. Some of these challenges included a clout shoot, aiming at a moving target and shooting at fruits and vegetables, some as small as a cherry tomato!
Archers during the clout shoot challenge for the Archery Olympics.
The campers of Growing Wild spent the week learning how to identify plants, playing in the creek and singing lots of songs!
Zak, a Primitive Pursuits' tribe leader, helping campers find plants for their nature bracelets.
On Tuesday each camper made a bracelet out of tape with the sticky side outward. Zak, a Primitive Pursuits' tribe leader, taught them about several plants and then helped add them to their bracelets.
Josie, a Growing Wild instructor, playing Forest Fire.
Later they played Forest Fire, but instead of pretending to be an animal, when the name of a plant on their bracelet was called they had to run to the other side of a field without getting caught. By the end of the week the camper had learned about jewelweed, white pine, wood sorrel and so much more!
Sierra, a Growing Wild instructor, showing campers a frog she found in the creek.
The campers at Primitive Cafe showed incredible determination, hard work and passion for cooking at 4-H Acres. Their home for the week was at the Village Camp where they constantly had a fire going and got to use the cob oven, which they discovered can reach temperatures over 600 degrees Fahrenheit!
A camper cooking bacon over a fire.
Finished Johnny cakes.
On Monday they created appetizers, making garlic knots, stuffed grapevine leaves with rice, lemon-thyme muffins and Johnny cakes. On Tuesday the young chefs carved out watermelon and used it as a bowl to cook soup. Then they went on a scouting mission to invite another clan to their camp to enjoy slushies made from remaining watermelon.
Cob oven pizza.
On Wednesday the campers from Forest Archers presented Primitive Cafe with a rabbit they "hunted." The young chefs made a fire and split roasted the rabbit. They also cooked personal pizzas in the cob oven.
A camper working dough that was made to make rolls.
Sumac berries used to make warm sumac tea.
On Friday they competed in the Primitive Cafe Iron Chef Challenge where they had to create an entire meal using the ingredients given to them by their instructors. Their food was judged by the Growing Wild staff who immensely enjoyed the salad, bread, rice and sumac tea they made. Each day the campers showed appreciation to the Earth for providing the food they were able to cook and enjoy.
The young chefs anxiously watching as the judges try their food.
This week at Primitive Camp campers attempted to create a new society in the woods where fire, water, food, and shelter were all that mattered. As a whole group, they listened to the teachings of the woods from their sit spots, which opened up discussions on ways they could live closer to and lighter on the earth.
A camper painting blueberries on his arm. Throughout the week the Primitive Camp clans participated in activities that focused on fire, water, food and shelter.
The Elderberry Clan were an adventurous group who traveled all over 4-H Acres. On Monday they made a beautiful shelter using moss, grass and other green plants. They also played Keeper of the Keys, but instead of sneakily snagging a pair of keys, the campers had to take a bandana that revealed a box to matches, which they used to have a fire with lunch.
Campers excitedly watching the fire to see if it was tall enough to burn the rope.
On Friday they collected whispies, splinter sticks, and pencil sticks to build a fire under a rope. They sang "Burn Fire, Burn" and watched as the flames licked the rope and caused it to burn. When the rope broke it dropped a bandana that hid a secret clue. This clue, along with many others, took the campers on an epic scavenger hunt around 4-H Acres that led to a tasty surprise!
One of the clues the campers found during their scavenger hunt that read "You gather on me for opening circle- what am I?".
Raging Raccoon Clan
The Raging Raccoons were a very creative group who enjoyed using natural material to build shelters, fairy houses and even a mini golf course!
Campers playing Keeper of the Keys.
On Monday they tested their fox walking skills during several rounds of Keeper of the Keys. They also learned what kinds of wood to gather for fires and some even got to practice lighting a match for the first time! By the end of the week they were able to build a large enough fire to burn a rope hanging from trees about it.
A camper getting caught during Keeper of the Keys.
The members of the Sumac Clan were very skilled builders who made a full-sized shelter using sticks, leaves and hay. Hani, a Sumac Clan instructor, spent the night in it and said aside from a few pointy sticks, it was comfortable, dry and warm. They also made bark baskets from white pine and used the baskets to hold and boil water.
A camper putting hay over their shelter.
On Tuesday the campers found numerous deer bones by their camp and had a serious discussion about what to do with them. Some wanted to keep them while others felt they should leave them alone. The Sumac Clan sat in a circle and talked about what they each believed was right and why. Their ultimate decision was for each camper to do what they felt was best.
Sumac Clan members discussing what they should do with the deer bones they discovered.
On Friday they visited Primitive Cafe and, in exchange for an ember, they sang "Morning Light." The Sumac Clan transported the ember in punk wood and used it to light a fire and cook crawfish.
A camper harvesting jewelweed.
Frog Weaver Clan
The members of the Frog Weaver Clan were very skilled wild crafters. All week long they worked on making a circular basket out of grape vine and goldenrod, which they also used to weave together individual mats. They even made candles!
A Frog Weaver tending to a fire.
On Friday a Frog Weaver brought homemade scones to share with his fellow clan members. Together they collected wood for a fire and warmed up their delicious treat.
Scones being warmed by the fire.
Golden Salamander Clan
The Golden Salamander Clan was a fitting name for this bunch because they loved finding salamanders, toads and newts. They enjoyed plenty of free-play by the creek where they could find their favorite critters and build houses for them.
A camper holding a salamander.
The Golden Salamanders also made mats using goldenrod and harvested clay from the creek to make a beautiful bowl.
A camper weaving goldenrod together to make a mat.
Golden Wolf Clan
The Golden Wold Clan loved to let their imaginations run free during free-play where they formed an "Explorers Club" and adventured their way up the creek.
Campers playing Head Honcho, a fun rhythm game.
On Friday they were visited by a witch who gifted them with apples, popcorn and ingredients to make ash cakes. The wild crafters came together as a tribe and celebrated the end of the week with an epic feast!
Campers looking for critters.
Thanks for reading! We're looking forward to another exciting week here at Primitive Pursuits!