campers and mentors enjoyed games, crafts and problem solving in the woods. 

Two elements dictated much of the camp experience this first week. Early in the week afternoon and evening thunderstorms blew through the region filling gorges, rivers, streams and creeks with much needed water. 

These storms also created wet conditions in camp and made crossing some of our larger creeks more challenging. Luckily the Forest Engineers were up to the task and constructed a bridge using mentor Ian’s large saw and hammer! The engineers sawed a large fallen log in White Pine Camp and carried it down to the creek. The campers managed to place the large log amongst some stabilizing branches. Campers inside and outside Forest Engineers camp then tested the bridge. All found it solid and passable. Nice job Forest Engineers! 

Speaking of bridges, the Forest Explorers also built a bridge over a large puddle in the midst of the forest in addition to building shelters and playing the “which food do you love” game with the hemlock trees. This game involved the campers and three trees as well as calling out various foods. Campers then rushed to one of the three trees depending on if they liked a food, didn’t like a food or didn’t know. There were some crowded trees with easy ones like watermelon and dirt had some scratching their heads. The next day the yellow warblers painted their faces in preparation to see what had happened to their shelters overnight in the forest. To their amazement they found small eggs in their shelters from an unknown bird rumored to be warbly!

Pathfinders began making white pine bark baskets. This piece will be sewn together to create the small basket. Photo: Ben Bookout

Mentors-in-Training practice orienteering to each of the camps at 4-H acres. Photo: Ben Bookout

At Trilium Growing Wild had a fun introduction to the camp. By using their fox ears, they were able to find the creek, the slide hill, the nature potty, the bridge and the fire ring. Campers listened for their mentor’s call at each of these locations then learned the rules for each spot. The game concluded with campers gathering up some tools for their first bit of fun in the sandbox. After warming up in the sandbox, Growing Wild moved to working with clay from the nearby stream as campers made foxes and squirrels, trees and flowers.   

The Mentors-in-Training (MITs) learned orienteering by navigating to each of the camps at 4-H Acres! The groups left their mark at each camp for the wider camp to discover the next day. Their training continued as they navigated through the forest blindfolded attached to each other on a rope. Their week concluded with a tarp challenge that included setting up a tarp in 15 minutes as a team of 4-5 in the Ash Grove. For those whose tarps did not pass the test, they were met with 5 gallons of water hung from a nearby Ash Tree. Good thing they brought their raincoats!

Capture the Flag was typically playing games in the forest. On Tuesday mentor Jake played an excellent old owl in the game Keeper of the Keys, but this time it was played with matches. Hardly anyone got a match away from him. The next day it was capture the goat and the curly haired goats defeated the smooth haired goats with many goat insults hurled on both sides. 

Camp was called off early on Wednesday due to smoke but that didn’t stop the Purple Finches from constructing a stone dam and destructing it quickly to watch the rush of water careen down the gulley.

Unfortunately, our week was cut short due to air conditions but we had a lot of fun packed into the first few days at camp and we are looking forward to much more throughout the summer! 


Camper Kyle creates his windchime in Red Oak Camp. Photo: Lydia Brandt 

A camper creates cordage using basswood bark. Photo: Ben Bookout