Just before lunch, I wandered around camp just to see what was happening. I started at the barn, where I encountered five excited equestriennes eager to show me how they had planned out matching their outfits today with their horses’ ear bonnets. Our riding staff noted their excitement for this activity and, after their riding lesson, had helped to make it happen. The campers were very much wanting to have their photo taken of them with their favorite horses. One of the girls told me that she was also getting ready to go on the optional overnight backpacking trip. “I was so excited last night about the plan to dress to match our horses and then to go on the backpacking trip that I just couldn’t sleep!” she told me.
As I continued on my way, I encountered a pottery class in action. Several of the campers had asked to learn how to throw a pot on the wheel. I enjoyed seeing the interest of the other campers, mesmerized in watching these clay vessels come to life on the wheels, as our pottery instructors taught them some critical skills to keep the clay centered and wet in order to carefully maneuver it into the desired shape.
On the hill, I spotted a solitary camper, deep in concentration as she worked to learn a few chords on the ukulele. She had taken a few lessons with Maddie and was choosing to practice on her own, perhaps in anticipation of accompanying some friends later. I think there’s a group ukulele concert in the works for later in the week.
And perhaps my favorite moment came as I was about to cross the stream by Curosty. Several Juniors and Middlers were playing there and one of them asked me if I wanted to go to the restaurant. Not exactly sure what that meant, I of course said “yes.” They took my hand and led me just past the outer layer of rhododendron into a hidden clearing with two massive tree stumps. Apparently the name of the restaurant is either going to be “tween the trunks” or “the branches,” both of which I thought were excellent names. They sat me down on one stump and proceeded to bring me a “surprise drink, taco, salad, falafel, and a ‘Rockbrooky’ for dessert,” all made of objects from nature: flowers, leaves, grass, stones, and mud.
What I loved about each of these moments was how they were camper-driven. These girls were given the space and time to pursue things that interested them. Some were creative activities, some were sporty, and others were free play in nature, but they all had elements where the campers used their imaginations, curiosity, and enthusiasm to make their camp experience unique to them. With friends by their sides, they leaned in and took action themselves. It was a sweet reminder of how we should all move through the world in this way – pursuing our varied interests, inviting others in to share the moment. A wonderful lesson for all of us and a refreshing stroll around camp.