I LOVE Camp Stevens! The staff -- both program staff and support staff are wonderful! Kind to the campers, committed to the work of the camp, committed to ensuring the campers grow in this experience but also have a lot of FUN. You can't ask for more.
This morning I was introduced to the pigs. Four pigs are Black and Tan, one is just Tan (really pink). Although the camp choses not to name the pigs, I couldn't help naming the pink pig BABE. It was interesting -- after they came over to check us out and see if we had any food, they went back and laid down. The multicolored pigs slept together, and the pink pig (aka Babe) went over and slept by himself. It made me wonder if this is normal for this little group of pigs. I'll be checking that out later.
Kay Sylvester and I hiked to Cow Pond -- I've always wondered about Cow Pond. There really isn't much water in it, and I've never seen a cow there. I'll have to ask about that. Regardless, it was a very nice hike!
Hanging out with campers is always a joy for me, and today was no different. "I loved sleeping out under the stars" was the typical response from the campers I spoke with who were back from their overnights. Everyone is having a great time! My camper who was homesick yesterday is out playing and laughing, participating fully in her group today. That's the miracle of Camp Stevens!
Beading this afternoon during free time was courtesy of Kay. It was amazing to see the campers gather around Kay and start creating pieces of jewelry. Key rings, necklaces, bracelets -- you name it. They made them! Some of the boys made bracelets too and/or helped hold the end of the string for some of their friends who were making friendship bracelets. It was so much fun watching them make the bracelets. For over two hours we sat and talked with the campers. We heard about their schools, their teachers, their friends. We heard about their adventure groups. I decided finally to try my hand at friendship bracelets. Let's just say, it didn't work out too well.
Spark the Hark Lark campers last night showed me their "talking stick" last night at Community Gathering. They wanted to show me the "magic stone" in the sack hanging from the talking stick. Before they could open the pouch to show me, we started Community Gathering. I saw Emily, the girl's counselor for this group and noticed the talking stick poking out of the top of her back pack. Here it is -- I did get a chance to look in the pouch -- the magic stone is a tiger's eye agate!
After we cleaned up from our beading project Kay decided a trip to the bead store was in order. The three clergy (Kay, Mike from San Diego and myself) headed towards the parking lot and got into Kay's car. "God squad leaving the campus." Kay bought the beads she needed to add to the mix for tomorrow. We all then got either iced coffee drinks or soda. It is a bit hotter today, so we needed them.
Kay and I managed to get sun burned. It may have to do with the fact that we both forgot to put sunscreen on. Not, at least on my part, my smartest move of the week.
I forgot to mention that my time at camp has involved going and visiting the gardens here. The food that is grown is not only grown in a sustainable way, but it is healthy and delicious. I pulled a ripe peach off the tree, brushed the fuzz off on my shirt and bit in to one of the juiciest pieces of fruit I've had in a long time! In the kitchen there is a board that lists all the foods that are currently ready to be harvested. Here's the current list from today.
I have been meaning to take and post a picture of McKenzie, a member of Church of the Epiphany in Agoura. She is on support staff this week -- her brother John is a counsellor here this week as well. It is so nice to see young people from our congregations in Los Angeles here -- in addition to McKenzie and John from Epiphany in Agoura there are people from St. Mark's Los Olivos, St. Andrew's Ojai, Holy Faith Inglewood, St. Wilfrid's Huntington Beach, St. John's Rancho Santa Margarita, St. Michael and All Angeles Studio City and St. Mary's Mariposa. I think I have everyone -- I may have missed one or two. These are campers and staff members. So nice to see them here at camp enjoying the wonders of God's creation.
Community Gathering was wonderful again tonight -- I love singing all the songs! Kay offered the same reflection she did yesterday as the older groups was gone last night on overnights, and the younger groups are gone tonight.
We sang great songs! Trevor asked the campers how many slept outdoors for the first time last night -- there were a good number of hands. He also asked them what they saw or did for the first time -- among the answers he received were: saw shooting stars, cooked dinner over an open fire, hiked up Vulcan Mountain in the very early hours to see the sun rise. They were excited to share!
A Program Group meeting followed. I so enjoy listening to the reflections from senior staff on the day -- offering kudos and suggestions. This is a group of people who take their work -- this camp and the campers -- very seriously, and they work together so well.
I wonder what I will find tomorrow as I wander up to the Dining Hall -- more wild turkeys? More deer? Rabbits perhaps? We'll see.
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