The kids were pumped for our second week in the woods!

There were some new camps as well as some old camps so I had to get used to new flock names. Because there were new campers this week, the instructors had to go over the safety precautions before they began their adventures.

The Yellow Warblers started off by learning how to respect themselves and others, while the Purple Finches began by singing a group song. I observed the Pathfinders playing a game that taught them communication, group work, and listening skills. They had to throw a ball around (in random order) in a circle until it got to everyone in the group, and then do it again until they could beat their time.

I watched Primitive Cafe learning the safety basics for the tools they would be working with. Before they began making food, they had to tie some tarps up as the weather forecast showed some rain for the rest of the week. I watched the instructors of Growing Wild give the kids an incentive the stay hydrated by playing a game about animals and their characteristics.

The Primitive Cafe campers succeed with primitive pizza

Check out the mud/clay rocket stove!

The Yellow Warblers played a game that was familiar to me, as we played it during staff training week. It taught them patience, focus, and persistence. Later in the week, I listened in on Growing Wild, who were learning about the fundamentals of the bow drill as well as looking at some fossils. During their snack circle, Forest Village was learning about the different trees and plants in the woods like the White Pine, poison ivy, various nuts, and the Shag Bark Tree. Today, they were going to learn about the Hemlock trees.

As I listened in on one of the groups, I heard one of the instructors say that there are only about 10 people in the world who speak the native language of the Gayogohó:no’ people. The instructor later stressed that it was up to the campers to take care of the trees and land. This land does not belong to us.

Even though I am not an active part of the groups and do not participate in the activities, I still learn so much from the instructors and campers about the history of the land, the native people, the different types of trees and plants, and more.

One skill we learned during staff training week was how to fox walk. It was a technique used by hunters (animals and humans) to sneak up on their prey without making noises, but also maintaining their field of vision. Adventure Academy was playing a game that forced them to be silent while sneaking up on one of their fellow campers. The goal was to be able to steal one matchstick set in front of the blindfolded camper, without the camper knowing.

I watched as the Archer’s Apprentice campers were struggling with a game of strategy. One camper had ropes around his/her wrists that were also tied to the wrists of their partner; they had to figure out how to untangle themselves without untying the rope or taking it off.

In the meadow, I observed the Pathfinders playing a game of wolves and deer. One camper explained it to me and said how it was kind of like tag and capture the flag. 

One of the days, I ventured to Fall Creek for the first time with Adventure Academy. They stopped in a meadow just beyond the bridge and played a game of Forest Fire before walking further to the cliffs.

When I got back to camp, I watched Archer’s Apprentice learn the basic physics of a bow and how it works before they began making their own. This was another instance where I learned something new from the instructors. I had always been interested in bows, partly because of The Hunger Games series, but no one had ever explained to me the reasoning behind the design. I really enjoyed watching the instructor explain the bow and give examples of why it works and why it sometimes fails, before allowing the campers to find their own bow sticks.

At Ellis Hollow, one of my fellow photojournalists observed the campers playing in shallow creek water and playing games where they had to hide behind trees to blend in.

Week 2 was an exciting, fun-filled week, and we look forward to what week 3 brings! 

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Campers spread out to our second location in the Eliis Hollow woods this week

A camper hides behind a tree in the Ellis Hollow woods

These kids don’t let a little (or a lot of!) rain get in the way of a great camp day!