Stories From Our First Week of Summer 2019!
Conor Millard, July 9, 2019
By far, one of the camps I was most jealous of. Professor Alex Szuba (okay, he's not actually a Professor, but he could be) shared his excitement, patience, and hard earned knowledge of bow making, inspiring everyone to give their full attention to the sometimes exhausting and monotonous work. As the week progressed, so did the bows, and the blisters, and aching muscles.
Each day, the rough cut of wood they began the week with, started to look more and more like a powerful and carefully balanced bow.
Finely tuned and ready to fire, the Bow Making camp prepares
for the zombie apocalypse.
We had many little people visiting Trillium Camp this week, and we had three big people -
Sarah, Ryley and Sean – who came to protect Trillium’s visitors from nasty woodland things like raccoons, squirrels, poison ivy and witches. Big person Sean, began the week with a story - a true story - about Marty the Mink. According to Sean, Marty had a bag of magic marbles hidden in the creek by Trillium Camp. It seemed a little far-fetched at first, but Ryley and Sarah backed him up. Coincidentally, we were right there in Trillium Camp! The campers went out in search of these special marbles and found many hidden among the rocks, leaves and sticks. At the end of the day, they put all the marbles into a basket to keep them safe for Marty.
But! When they came back to camp the next morning the Magic Marbles were gone! Judging by the tracks, the marbles had been stolen by a witch, a squirrel, and a raccoon. Over the next few days the team at Trillium would face many challenges as they sought to retrieve Marty's Marbles.
Our experienced nature mentors, Elijah, Felicity and Leo, led a group of 9 young creatives through brush and over stream in search of useful materials. Sometimes, just looking is the fun part!
The campers in this group had a wonderful connection to the land and each other. Somewhere along the way, they shed their lifeless Advanced Wildcrafting identity, and became the Blueberry Bagel Guild. Daily activities of a Blueberry Bagel included, but were not limited to: spoon making, bowl burning, raft building, and lunch munching. And lots of games. It’s hard to be a Blueberry Bagel, but somebody’s gotta do it.
Good luck to all of you Blueberry Bagels out there! Hope to see you again.
Forest Village Camp: Aster Guild
The Asters! The Aster guild had a lovely week of forest frolicking led by their wise elders.
Exploring the grounds of 4-H Acres, they noticed something interesting happening in the barn; A group of bigger kids were working really hard on something. The Asters were curious, and stalked them quietly from the surrounding woods. The next day, after concluding that the situation was not threatening, the Asters ran into the pole barn and introduced themselves. The older kids were working on bows and happily showed the young Asters their projects.
Later in the week, while eating lunch in the White Pine Grove, the Aster Guild hears the unforgettable story of Tippy Tippy Tiddle Mouse and Rainy Puddle Toes; a story of wisdom from their friend, Monica.
Forest Village Camp: Goldenrod Guild
Rifka and the Goldenrods played a game I call, find-a-tree. Once blindfolded, you are taken by the hand and led to a tree. Now, get to know the tree using all your available senses. Done? Okay, now we spin you around and around. Take the blind fold off. Can you find the tree based on what you smelled, touched…tasted…heard?
Lots of time was sent playing in the creek and gazing at the alien life forms underneath the surface. Later in the week, we brought dried clay, soaked it in the creek and used it to make bowls and cups…and they smeared it all over each other.
This week, eleven happy faces came together to defend the most honorable title of “Week 1 Base Camp".
I ran into this guild all over the place. They were lucky to have Becca, Willem, Hope and Keegan as their village elders.
They were also quite lucky, to happen upon a bag of apples hanging from a tree! When they saw what rich bounty bobbed from the high tree branch they could hardly contain their excitement. They salivated at the sight, but the bag was much too high to reach. However, the rope that secured the bag was anchored close to the ground. But...nobody had a knife to cut the rope. Hmm. They scratched their heads and, finally, their hunger inspired a brilliant solution. They would build a fire and burn the string!
And they did. I wasn't actually there,I heard about this whole apple rescue situation through the grapevine. No pictures, you'll just have to take my word for it. Anyway, since they already had a fire going, why not roast the apples? And so they did. This required some patience, but was well worth it.
This far traveling guild would leave the 4-H campground each morning to explore the nearby Cornell Botanical Trail System, an expansive trail network that follows the Cayuga River for miles and miles.
Above, coyotes make a crossing to find the rest of their crew.
The Coyotes are the oldest group of campers here at 4-H. However, that doesn’t always mean they are the most mature. Understandably! Their journey into adulthood is just beginning. This time in their life is unique and challenging. Be wise, Coyotes. Take care of each other and seek wisdom through open conversation with your community.