This week the campers enjoyed the forest through the celebration of mammals, games, and cooking.

This weeks theme was mammals and Advanced Wildcrafting began the week by playing a blindfold game where one camper would guide another camper blindfolded to a tree then that camper would have to locate the same tree once they had the blindfold off. Next they began  carving their favorite mammals out of wood. 

Forest Explorers began the week by identifying poison ivy and learning how to start a fire using a bowdrill. The Purple Finches gathered sticks for throwing practice and threw on the excellent range setup by their mentors. The Yellow Warblers enjoyed some free time in the woods and some used it to try and dig to China while others used it to create an animal sanctuary. Meanwhile the Mallards enjoyed story time and a stone passing game. 

Tuesday’s Growing Wild flocks ground up charcoal and mixed it with water and clay to paint their faces. Some campers became tigers; one even incorporated found feathers. The Mallards practiced starting a one match fire to roast various things for lunch. Archer’s Apprentice had selected and stripped the bark off of branches which will become their handmade bows. The campers carefully dried the bow sticks over a fire. The bows can’t have too much moisture in them as they will not have enough spring back when pulled. Then the Archer’s practiced archery with Lucy as their guide.

A camper throws a large stick in target practice. Campers practice their throwing technique in trying to knock over larger stick and log structures set up by the staff.               Photo: Ben Bookout

Campers scatter from a troll in the game crow’s spirit.

Photo: Ben Bookout

” Wednesday at Ellis Hollow, campers played a rousing game of foxtail and then went to check out the fort the Pathfinders had constructed the week before. While visiting the fort campers divided into two teams and had a session of battle of the bands with forest objects as their instruments. After this campers hiked out to the main camp and again divided into two groups with one group going to practice throwing sticks and the other deciding they would like to build forts. 

On Thursday the Forest Explorers joined with Pathfinders for a game of crow’s spirit. In the game staff members become trolls and campers need to find the crow and get the mark of the crow in order to chase the trolls and turn them back to staff members. The campers found the crow buried in a log and quickly overcame the trolls to win the game. Meanwhile, the Archers had strung their new bows and were at the range testing them out with some target practice. It was a hot day and Growing Wild campers cooled down by running through the sprinklers. The Forest Engineers had crafting and creek time, making atlatls and leather wallets. The Night Owls had their overnight on Thursday and it was a wet one. 

On Friday the Yellow Warblers took an offering of walnuts to old squirrel in exchange for black berries to make a cobbler. Campers spent most of the morning gathering enough walnuts to make old squirrel happy enough to give them all the black berries they would need for the cobbler. The Mallards opened “Cafe Mallard” and enjoyed decaf coffee and biscotti. Meanwhile at Ellis Hollow campers worked to break down the structures they had built during the week to return the ecosystem back to the way they found it.

A camper with Archer’s Apprentice looses an arrow that will find its mark. Photo: Ben Bookout

A camper displays her freshly caught crawdad holding a stick. Photo: Alyssa Denger