Camp Lincoln For Boys and Camp Whippoorwill for Girls

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Third bulletin of the season

Posted: August 9, 2011

                                                              North Country Camps Newsletter

                                                                    Lincoln and Whippoorwill

                                                                              August 6, 2011

It was fantastic to see so many of you at our annual parents’ visiting day this past weekend!  The boys and girls were all up early, eagerly awaiting the chance to reconnect with family, show you their cabins, introduce new friends and show off some of their activity skills.  As always, we greatly enjoyed speaking with each of you and sharing a fun sing on the beach at Whippoorwill.  Everyone came back to camp refreshed and ready for two more action-packed weeks.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

 At the beginning of each summer, seven weeks seems like a long stretch of time, in which there will be endless opportunities for activities, trips and hanging out with friends.  However, after six weeks, everyone is aware that time is growing short.  We’re taking full advantage of the time that’s left!

At LINCOLN all of our regular activities have continued on without let-up and it’s exciting to watch and see how much progress has been made over the past six weeks.  Many boys who started the summer holding the jib of their sailboat are now steering with the tiller.  Arrows are hitting closer and closer to the center of the target and the matches on the tennis court are getting more and more exciting to watch.  In addition to old favorites, we’ve seen some new activities offered recently, including Australian-rules football, foot tennis, inter-galactic destructo ball, shelter building, water cricket and yesterday, a group of Cubs, led by Emily, went over to Whippoorwill to wrangle up some chickens.  They were able to catch five of the young birds that were born at Whip this spring and these, all named now, are currently living in our animal pen.

Some of our activity areas are starting to look towards major events that will happen during week seven.  In the wood shop, most work is now centered on the construction of pinewood derby cars that will be put through their paces in the big race next week.  At sailing, one can feel the excitement brewing and there’s quite a bit of speculation about who will be the skippers in the annual Chief’s Cup regatta.  Things are even picking up in the Lincoln vegetable garden, where campers harvested 15 pounds of green beans this past week, in addition to numerous peas and cucumbers.

The big story, however, at this time of the summer is trips!  We’re sending lots of three, four and five day trips out into the woods each week now, as well as day trips.  In the past two weeks, we’ve sent out two trips to the Gill brook region, two trips to climb in the Dix range, a trip to the John’s Brook valley to climb the Great Range and one stalwart crew to the Cold River area for five days of backpacking and mountain climbing in the Seward and Santanoni ranges.  A group of Juniors and Cubs spent three days climbing around Heart Lake, ascending Algonquin, Wright, Iroquois and Phelps!  Another group of Cubs spent two days there later in the week, climbing Phelps and Mt. Jo.  The Cubs also went out on a canoe overnight to Franklin Falls this week.  But those are just the extended trips!  In addition, the boys of Lincoln have also climbed Noonmark, Catamount, Giant, and Rocky Peak Ridge; and Emily and Will took one group of adventurous boys up the “Poko gut”, a narrow gully that goes up between two of Poko’s large cliff faces.  To round out the day, they then bushwhacked over to Chief’s Peak and back.  Not to be outdone, Ted and Jeremy led a group of very ambitious climbers who wanted to climb the two highest peaks (both over 5,000 feet) in New York, in one day!  The sun had not yet risen when they started up the trail to Mt. Marcy, but they made good time and managed to climb Algonquin as well and still made it back to camp in time for dinner.

Our second annual kayak polo tournament has recently concluded, though boys are still playing this fast paced and challenging game regularly.  And our annual tennis tournament, the “High Peaks Open,” is just getting started.  We’re not slowing down a bit here at Camp Lincoln.

After the most tremendous Parents visiting day, our life at WHIPPOORWILL has returned to a more normal pace of skill building in the mornings, fun-filled afternoons and trips coming and going every day!  We jumped right back into important business on Sunday morning, beginning with a very welcome breakfast of ‘Eggs Amler’ – a post visiting day tradition. A dedicated crew of staff and camp family arose early to prepare the famous toast, egg and cheese delight. We were hugely grateful to everyone who helped prepare the sumptuous feast. With happily full bellies, we met as a community on Birdie beach to pitch ideas for our final banquet, then vote on our favorites. After much thought and discussion, it was agreed that the 2011 final banquet theme will in fact be “Holidays!”

We have seen further skill development in activities as campers become a little more capable of navigating the varied winds of the Augur, controlling the horses, paddling the canoes, riding the bikes and working on art projects. Last week saw us shift into a week of daily choices. This gives campers a chance to try new activities, work on particular skills and finish up projects or ranks. During this time, there were plenty of opportunities for the Birdies to try windsurfing and learn the basics in quieter winds, while more experienced windsurfers learned some tricks. Sailors have started practicing racing in preparation for the Farrington Cup race next weekend.  Youthful farmers have harvested peas, green beans and beets from the garden, and are eyeing a ripening crop of squash, cucumbers and tomatoes.  A group of girls took part in a full morning activity of “Iron Chef Trip Food,” where they are able to choose from a selection of typical trip food ingredients, build a fire and invent delectable meals and morsels. Older Seniors planned an evening scavenger hunt, everyone racing around camp to complete different tasks such as weeding the garden, picking up pine cones with your elbows, and coming up with answers to camp song trivia.  And now that we have a banquet theme, artists and crafters are working hard on brainstorming and making decorations for the big day.

Trips continue to come and go. Three separate groups of Birdies have ventured out on a canoeing overnight at Follensby Clear Pond, and a fourth group of Birdies headed into the Gulf Brook lean-to, where they spent the night and hiked Hurricane Mountain.

Seniors headed out on a St. Regis Canoe trip and the Work Group spent an afternoon and night alone on their “solos” at the cliff property, under the supervision of Phoebe and Jess. Seniors completed Marshall, Marcy, Skylight, Grey, Cliff and Redfield on a Lake Colden trip last week, while this week a group is hiking in the Cold River region. The Gucker women (Robin and Lindsay) spent the night on Rattlesnake Mountain for their Culinary overnight, the point of which is to cook fabulous trip food. The mixed age group had an amazing experience and gave reports of such delicious foods, including chocolate Fondue!

A successful group of hikers, led by Jordy and Jess, completed the Great Range, and enjoyed camping near John’s Brook Lodge, while our first 46er of the year finished her quest by climbing Whiteface and Esther. There may well be more girls who accomplish this feat in the coming days.

In special event news, our staff finally reached the point of madness last Sunday – it seems to happen at least once a year!  But happily, the campers assisted the counselors in regaining their sanity during a Mad Counselor Hunt.

In addition to in-camp activities and trips, BOYS and GIRLS stayed busy with special events of all shapes and sizes.  Since we last wrote, we have enjoyed the staff-written play called “The Creations,” a fable featuring fairy tale characters.  Chris and Kitty worked tirelessly with the cast and crew, who were diligent about going to rehearsals and learning their lines. With a Sunday matinée performance, we took the opportunity to dress in our finest threads for the big show.   It was a huge success and everyone was impressed at the quality of the production put e in a few short weeks!

We had perfect weather for our “outer space” themed county fair.  Each cabin created and staffed a booth.  “Dunk the counselor”, a waterslide, and the soda slide were all popular, as were old favorites such as the marriage booth, Cubby Jail, face painting and pony express, plus plenty of other games of skill, too!  Later that night, Bruce Hennessey stopped by to call an all-camp square dance on the Lincoln field.   Everyone who tries it loves square dancing, and all of NCC went to bed tired and happy that night.  Sunday evening after visiting day campers from Lincoln and Whip were lucky enough to enjoy a concert in the big Red Barn, put on by the father-daughter team of Todd and Caroline Mack, camp alumni who were up visiting for the weekend.  They are talented musicians and the kids loved the concert.

Barry led a group of older campers from both camps on a four day backpack expedition from Newcomb Lake to Heart Lake, passing through some very remote and beautiful country, as well as making a bushwhack ascent of Little Santanoni.   Workgroupers have continued to put in volunteer time at the neighboring organic farm and they’ve also been hard at work building Adirondack chairs with Frau at Lincoln and helping David with the construction of an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven at Whip.  We’re all looking forward to the completion of that project!

We’ll be seeing many of you soon, but we aim to use every remaining moment we have together. So, although it’s not too long until the buses pull into camp, forgive us for not even thinking of saying goodbye just yet….

Doug and Kate

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