Final Stretch Begins!

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Greetings from the Canaan Valley,

We kicked off the daily schedule today with an adorable Flag Raising from Whitecap village where they shared what they were grateful for with the community. They raised a water-bottle up on the flag-pole to encourage us to bring this gratitude with us throughout the day and continue to practice it like we hydrate to fight the heat. These campers have started off with great enthusiasm about what they are in for and how to make the most out of the quiet, reflective moments, the loud, boisterous times, and everything in between. After welcoming in our final session of campers, the excitement is in the air! With the action-packed weeks of session A and the one-week B behind us, these wide-eyed children have re-energized the space in a way only around 150 excited children can.

Something that this morning reminded me to be grateful for, is hearing snippets from our Four Trails campers when they return from their trips. The Shaw explorer group went hiking at Mahoosuc notch and were in awe of the rocky-top notch and how quickly their trip turned from a hike in the woods to climbing on a bald face mountain-top. Katahdin group went on a canoe trip and most of their stories included interactions with turtles! They also made time to swim and jump off rocks (avoiding the wildlife as much as possible). They also woke up at sunrise one morning and paddled through the morning fog. Flag village went on a bike trip where they were such efficient travelers that they managed to fit a swim in almost every day. They were also smart about their food budget and used their “savings” to buy an ear of corn for every group member (I don’t know why, but they were psyched about it). They also started learning how to juggle! All while completing their miles and enjoying the scenery of the NH lakes region. I love it when the kids are willing to give us a glimpse into their experience. While I may not fully understand the jokes, it brings joy to know how these campers are transforming these trips from itineraries to journeys! I’m very thankful for the bits they report back.

Odyssey groups are also underway! They’ve officially started their trek through the hundred-mile wilderness after being dropped off at the trailhead and the groups seemed thrilled to finally be at this point in their summer. Up in Nova Scotia, our Voyaguer groups are proving to be excellent bikers – leaving room in their days for experiencing the place together. The boys have made it to the “mudslides” and were able to get off their bikes and take their turn down the natural slip n’ slide. The girls have also been having a great time, with a night at the Pubnico house (an alumni driven spot our groups love to stop and camp at), and traveling with such efficiency that they can breeze through 71 mile days and still make time to get to camp early and enjoy their leisure time together. They have made it to Halifax already!

I can’t wait to hear more from these out-camping villages and to get this Pioneer/Trailblazer session going in full swing. If the beginning is any indication of the session in store, I can’t wait to see these kids create community, learn about themselves, and have so much fun doing it.

-Shelby