Parents of campers at North Country Camps know that during the summer, we send out regular bulletins, describing what's happening at camp. Each Fall, we take excerpts from these bulletins and construct a document, with pictures, that can be given to prospective families who are interested in reading more about life at Lincoln and Whip. We thought everyone might enjoy taking a look this year. This first installment will cover the beginning of summer. For NCC alums, it should be a walk down memory lane! *Note: The descriptions switch back and forth between Lincoln and Whippoorwill, but what's happening at one camp is quite similar to what's happening at the other!
The Buses Arrive!
The 2015 camp season got off to a great, but damp start. However, the rain was nice enough to let up while the buses pulled into Lincoln and baggage was unloaded. As we've seen in the past, the wet weather didn't seem to affect the boys at all! They scampered down to their cabins, full of energy and enthusiasm, ready to start another summer of fun! This indomitable spirit persisted through several more days of rain showers, before giving way to a string of beautiful days.
Our typical routine for the first day of camp gives everyone a chance to hear about how we plan to live in a community. Section groups met with their counselors and section heads to discuss ways in which we can be responsible in our approach to living in close quarters with others, different boundaries of camp and safety tips too. This is a useful way for new campers to get a sense of what to expect from living away from home with friends, ask questions and have some input into building our community too. This aspect of life at Whip is integral to the success of each camper old and new, who are then able to feel invested in making this a great summer with her peers. The birdies in particular got to meet and learn about their bunny neighbors named Augur, Hazel and Fiver, whom all the campers will enjoy taking care of and visiting with throughout the summer. For the rest of the morning, campers chose to take part in an introductory activity, yet were able to attempt their swim tests too. We put the girls through their swim paces each year, to make certain that they are confident enough to feel safe while out boating. Many campers are keen to get cracking on this hurdle right away, while others take some time to build up to it. Regardless of when it takes place, passing one's swim test leads to a real sense of accomplishment, particularly for first time campers.
By Tuesday morning, everyone officially started morning activities, which are chosen on a weekly basis. There are usually about 10-15 different options for girls to choose from, so always something to pique one's interests. Popular choices always include Arts and Crafts, Drama, Tennis, Archery, Sail, Windsurf, Canoe, Swim and Kayak. Girls also signed up to train as a soccer team for an upcoming game against a friendly neighboring camp.
And, though the summer has just begun, we've already started into special weekend events as well. The boys and girls got together for social events on Saturday evening, a great way to get to know each other and for siblings to connect after a week of camp. This past Sunday, the camp divided into red and blue teams to compete in the annual pioneer meet. Boys spent the morning in events like the bucket brigade, racing water up the hill to put out a fire (imaginary), the crosscut saw, egg toss, tug-of-war and a relay race between Whippoorwill and Lincoln. Spirits were high and the weather was beautiful. We capped the day off with a council fire, down by the lake, where we commended each other for nice things done over the week, sang some songs and told a story. Council fires are a lovely way to finish off a week in the woods. We have many weeks of fun to go in this summer! The kids and the staff are full of energy and enthusiasm for the adventures ahead.
2 Weeks In
Although only a couple of weeks have passed, we have been so busy that it's hard to believe everything that's happened in such a short span of time. The girls are settled into our routine by now and the weather has been simply wonderful, with each day dawning with more adventure on offer. Our population is happy and healthy, while friendships blossom throughout sections, within activities and on the many trips that are happening. One of the powerful things campers learn while living as part of a community, is how to face the challenges that come with being in close quarters with others. Having now been together for over 3 full weeks, we have seen wonderful growth throughout camp with regards to problem solving, learning to communicate and being sensitive to one another's needs. It is a unique thing that our wonderful counselors can provide in their careful nurturing and guidance within a female community. From our experience, these tools that your children are learning, will be resources they can draw from for the rest of their lives.
A good deal of focus has been on the many activities girls are able to take part in during the summer. In particular we've enjoyed the waterfront, especially since the weather has been so pleasant. On any typical day that you might stroll to the lake, you'll see canoes paddling away from Birdie beach to practice strokes and canoe over canoe rescues. This feels like an integral part of our traditional camp culture, and is not only a really cool skill to acquire, but allows for some really neat exploration of our lake as well as other waterways in the Adirondacks. Kayakers start their week by learning "wet exits", where they'll practice getting out of a kayak while it's rolled upside down. We do this procedure right away to make sure that girls know what to do if their kayak capsizes and it gives an added sense of confidence in knowing how to deal with it safely. There's been some fantastic wind of late for sailors and windsurfers to enjoy, yet earlier in the season, girls honed their skills in lighter conditions, which has paid off. In addition, some of our more proficient sailors successfully raced against a neighboring camp supported by spirited committee boats.
Up the hill, boys are learning to care for horses and how to ride them. This is another activity where a lot of learning and practice produce skilled, and proud participants. Not only can they ride and take care of the horses, but they care for the tack as well. At the ropes course, groups of boys and girls work together to overcome the challenges set for them there, some of which are on the ground, others of which bring them up into the trees. And, our mountain bikers have been zooming around camp and off on the trails through our woods. The bikers even took a ride into town last week for ice cream!
Field sports continue to attract many boys. After our first week of baseball, we had a week of instructional soccer, which is an immensely popular sport these days. The team practiced hard and enjoyed 4 great games against Camp Poko. It was such a treat to watch them, as the boys put on a display of their amazing talents and their excellent sportsmanship! This week has been dominated by ultimate Frisbee, which also has a loyal following. The tennis players have been practicing their strokes, trying to earn the honor of being that day's "tennis samurai." The archery range is always busy and our shop has been a hive of activity as well. Many boys have been working on woodshop projects like benches, wooden boats and one boy even built a shoe rack for his cabin, which impressed the cabin inspector greatly! Many artistic projects are in the works there as well.
More Special Events!
On weekends, we've enjoyed more special events. Two weeks ago, we held our "final four" event, where four teams competed in games like quidditch, blindfolded tent set-up and 8 man canoe races. It finishes with a tremendous all-camp relay race. This last weekend we spent Sunday morning doing service projects around camp. Every boy pitched in somewhere and a lot of valuable work was done around camp, including some site-prep for our new basketball hoop! And, you can be sure that the trip program has been chugging along at a great pace. We'll supply more detail in our next bulletin, but many, many mountains are being climbed, lakes and rivers are being explored and cliffs scaled.
Tune in next time...!