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Archive for July, 2014

2014 – Camp season update

Posted: July 15, 2014

 

North Country Camps Newsletter

Camp Lincoln

July 9, 2014

Pulling into camp, after a long ride, with a bus full of excited campers is always a somewhat magical feeling.  It’s like the curtains opening on a new set; one which will be our stage for many weeks of fun.  The possibilities stretch out before you and the excitement coming off the kids is palpable.  This is even more true when the weather is beautiful, as it was last Sunday.

The boys streamed happily off the bus, eager to find their cabins and begin moving in.  They were met by counselors and Workgroupers, ready to help carry baggage.  Within minutes, everyone was down in the sections.  After checking in at the health center, with Brandy and Amy, the boys met at the waterfront for a refreshing dip before dinner.  For some campers, the summer hasn’t really started until they’ve swum in the cool waters of Augur Lake.  Our dinner of roast chicken was excellent and we capped the day off with our first council fire of the season.  We commended each other for good and helpful deeds, introduced the 2014 staff and sang some songs.  It was a great start to a new camp season!

When we awoke the next morning, we wasted no time getting down to the business of camp.  Boys headed off to activities like horseback riding, baseball, archery, sailing, ropes course, biking, wood shop, art shop, kayaking, canoeing, nature exploration and tennis.  It’s a joy, each year, to hear camp in action after such a long period of silence.  Many, many boys have spent time passing their swim tests this last week.   For most, this means swimming their annual 16 laps, but for new boys, the basic 4 swim tests were their goal and many have finished them already.  The final test involves swimming back to camp across the lake from Cubs Point (with a lifeguard rowing beside them).  Countless Lincoln campers have recounted, later in life, that this test left them with an intense feeling of accomplishment and pride.  It’s no different today and most boys come out of the water with a big smile, amidst the cheering of others on the dock.  Each night at dinner we announce the names of those who have swum the lake and the applause is genuine and loud.

We’ve had some unusual and creative activities as well.  Michael has been leading boys in the care of our new baby chicks, as well as the older chickens (last year’s chicks), who roam free around camp.  And, Aidan has been teaching some fun woodcraft skills, like animal tracking, fire building and woodland camouflage.

We’ve lost no time starting trips, either.  Though we’re only one week into the camp season, the Lincoln boys have already climbed 8 mountains!  We’ve sent afternoon hikes up Pinnacle and Poke-O-Moonshine, both local favorites.  Other, longer day trips have summited Jay, Roostercomb, Cascade and Porter.  Emily led an intrepid group of boys up Knoblock mountain, a trailless peak that required the use of map and compass to reach the top.  And, Ted led a group up the “Bennie’s Brook” slide on Lower Wolfjaws.  The coming weeks will be packed with more opportunities to get out into the mountains and onto the lakes and rivers of the Adirondacks!

This past weekend saw us enjoying several special events.  Lincoln and Whippoorwill held a joint cookout on the Whip field Saturday evening.  It was a great chance for siblings to check in with each other and there was quite a bit of happy mixing between the two camps.  This continued afterwards as each section met with their Whippoorwill counterparts for a social event.  On Sunday we held our annual Pioneer Meet, where the red team and the blue team square off in events like the bucket brigade, log toss, pyramid, cross cut saw and, of course, the pony express, a relay race from Whippoorwill to Lincoln.  The weather was superb and so was the sportsmanship.  When the dust settled, the blue team came out ahead this year, but it was a fun day for everyone, culminating with a council fire in our outdoor council ring.  The evening was lovely and once again, we commended each other, gave out awards, sang songs and even got to hear Steve Frauenthal tell us a story.

There’s a lot of summer still to come.  It feels like we’re out to a very strong start with good weather, good health, a great staff and an adventurous group of boys; we know, however, that we will only pick up speed from here.  There are new activities to be tried, new friends to be made, mountains to climb, rivers to paddle, lakes to sail and special weekend events to look forward to.  Energy and anticipation are high, both among the new campers and those who have several summers at camp under their belts.  Everyone is looking forward, and we’ll give you an update in a couple of weeks.  We hope you’re having a fun summer too!

 Best wishes, Doug

Camp Whippoorwill

July 9, 2014

Families gathered at Horace Mann School under clear blue and sunny skies. It was a cool relief from the steadily climbing temperatures for many, to board the bus amidst a mix of happy chatter, nervousness and anticipation. As parents waved goodbye to their campers, introductions were well under way as girls got to meet others whom they will spend the rest of the summer with.

After a long, yet cheerful drive up the North way, campers were thrilled to spill out of the buses, and be greeted by their counselors. It didn’t take long to choose beds, unpack and check in with Christina, while catching up with old friends and making new ones too. Many took the opportunity to splash around in the crystal waters of Augur Lake – a perfect remedy to a long journey.

After a hearty meal of Mac and Cheese, Chicken tenders and curried chickpea burgers, along with a full and tasty salad table, everyone felt satisfied as they headed to the Nest for staff introductions and a council fire, led by the Work Group.

On the first full day of the summer, campers met with their sections, to learn general information about our community and surroundings. Then everyone had the opportunity to take their swim tests, which, when completed, allow campers to be in a boat without a counselor. Other options included learning sign language, Archery, Drama, Badminton, creating natural decorations around camp, and learning sign language.

Campers very quickly got started on weekly activities for two morning sessions, each lasting an hour. By attending the same activity for an entire week, the campers are able to really develop their skills in a particular area and become fairly accomplished in their all round knowledge and achievements. Great strides were made down at the lake where campers learned about knots, wind direction and patterns in Sailing and Windsurf. They practiced paddling skills and safe exit strategies in Kayak and Canoe, as well as learning good stroke technique in Swim.

Many girls took part in drills and scrimmages as they worked on teamwork in soccer, while preparing for their game against a neighboring camp this week. Others finessed their Tennis strokes or improved upon their aim in Archery. Climbers learned teamwork on the Ropes course and helped each other complete the different elements, while Horse Riders learnt about basic grooming techniques, transitions, tempo and steering, depending on personal ability. Mountain bikers explored the trails between Lincoln and Whippoorwill and worked on speed control, basic maintenance and safety checks.

A great benefit of our program is that afternoons allow for some variety in choices. Children can choose something different each day, depending on the list of activities generated by staff and campers. Some examples of what we’ve been doing in addition to our traditional choices are Water Quidditch, Water Color painting on Birdie beach, Swamped Canoe races, Fishing, Mixed Sand Volleyball and Water golf (using golf clubs to hit whiffle balls off the dock, then retrieving them).

There has also been lots of action in the Trip program so far, with campers in the Junior and Birdie sections, heading out to wonderful cookout and lean-to spots at Whippoorwill. On these occasions girls learn how to pitch a tent and hang a tarp. They build fires and cook dinner, while hearing and seeing how to ‘leave no trace’ in the wilderness.

Hikers have been coming and going too, climbing local peaks to warm up legs for larger upcoming trips or simply to get an introduction to our beautiful surroundings.  Megan led hikers up Pinnacle before breakfast one morning, and cooked pancakes on top for the group – the report is that Blueberries should be ripe in a week or so!  Another group of girls attempted to reach the fire tower on Poke-O-Moonshine, but will need to return at some point to finish that goal. Lily and Alyssa were joined by campers and took a trip up a local peak named Coon Mountain, where they enjoyed terrific views. Likewise, a group summited Rattlesnake and took in the amazing scene of Lake Champlain. Lucy and some Whippoorwillians joined Emily and a few Lincoln campers to climb Jay peak, and were successful in conquering the several false peaks that come before it on the ridge. There are plenty of paddlers practicing their strokes and canoe over canoe rescues in preparation for water trips to come.

We held a traditional Pioneer meet on Sunday between the Whips and the Wills. Campers were split into the two teams and dueled their way through a number of different ‘Olde Tyme’ events. The day started with a bucket brigade, to put out the imaginary fire started by ants who were disgruntled about campers not leaving candy in their cubbies! This was followed by favorite challenges like the cross cut saw, Dress the Birdie and the Egg toss. As is our fashion, we had a deciding game of Human Croquet in the afternoon!  It’s still hard to remember what the real results were, because it was a day packed with so much fun!

We held ‘Whip’s got talent!’ at the start of the second week, where campers performed songs, dances, spoon balancing, jump rope routines and Diablo displays, to mention just a few of the breathtaking acts. In conclusion, what we learned from the festivities is that Whip does in fact have talent – and a lot of it!

Our full and vibrant Birdie section is settling into the camp routine very easily as they meet new friends and spend time with their Work Group buddies. In the next week or so, they will help pick out a few chicks from our flock that are sunning themselves under the heat lamp at Lincoln. At which point, the infants should be strong enough to move to the animal pen with our resident rabbit. The Birdies have been doing a stellar job of animal care so far under the knowledge and guidance of Shannon.

On Saturday, we had an all-camp picnic, eating burgers, veggie burgers and pasta salad. It was a successful evening of good cheer, frisbee tossing and Newcomb playing. Later that evening, campers split by section to spend the evening with their Lincoln counterparts, playing ‘get to know you’ games on the field for the Junior and Birdie sections, while the Seniors had a ‘social’ in the Red barn.

We have a very healthy and happy population here at camp, with plenty of adventures yet to come, so stay tuned for future updates!

   Best wishes, Kate

 

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