Friday, July 28, 2006

Reflections on Camp - part 2

After three weeks, I've finally had and taken the time to go through my pictures and find some suitable for posting. Hopefully this will help convey the camp experience and you'll begin to see why we love going back each year.

This is a fairly typical activity - playing in the creek! Kids bring shoes to wear in the water (although that's particularly for the "big creek" hike). This small creek runs all the way through the camp and has all kinds of crawdads, minnows, snakes, frogs, etc. which the kids can catch and turn in to the Discovery Center wet and dry aquariums. That way everyone can see what has been found, but the animals remain fairly safe and taken care of. All creatures get released every night, and this is explained to the kids so they start to understand this kind of respect for and care of the animals.

A couple of hours each day are spent in small groups. Activities vary (these kids are going in to the 6th grade so the attention spans are not all that long) and can be anything from games to bible study to crafts or a hike. This is a shot of my small group this year attempting to work together to untangle their knot. It's always questionable whether the kids at this age are ready for this kind of activity or not - some years they get it in a couple of minutes! This year it proved to be quite a challenge, but led to some great conversations afterward.

This is probably my favorite event of 6th grade camp - making our campfire dinner!! Each small group works together and the kids do everything (under supervision) for themselves. Each group gets a cooler with food (hamburger meat, potatoes, carrots, onion, yellow squash, green pepper), a bag of charcoal and aluminum foil. The kids then work together to make a charcoal fire, peel and cut the vegetables, and fill their sheet of foil to make a "hobo dinner" which is then cooked directly on the hot coals. For dessert, they make banana boats (bananas are cooked in foil on the coals with marshmallows, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips - very sweet and gooey and always a hit!) and then everyone helps clean up. It's always interesting to watch the group dynamics as they go through the whole meal. Sometimes the girls will take over tending the fire and the boys will do most of the food prep, while other years they fall into more "traditional" gender roles (although I encourage them to step out of those when possible). Sometimes the kids all whine about how "gross" everything is, and others, like this year, they will just be so excited about getting to do things for themselves and proud when they actually eat things they made.


rae's space said...

I really miss Sixth Grade Camp. Do they still call small group "Home in the woods?" Of course, I was always trying to have my woodsy adventure indoors with air conditioning, but kind of defeats the purpose. Plus, carpet doesn't burn as well for a campfire.

mandyc said...

Yes, it is still called Home in the Woods and many of the campers wish for that home to have air conditioning, but we don't really allow for that. The leaders choose the spots OUTSIDE before the campers arrive. If the heat gets too bad, the entire camp moves inside the dining hall building for air conditioning, but it hasn't been much of a problem when we've been there. Most of Camp Egan is under trees anyway, and there's always the swimming pool and creek to help cool things down.