Some of the most remarkable moments in the camp day happen between the scheduled activities. I watch campers walking between interest group activities, telling stories or singing songs as they walk from their village to the a-field or waterfront. Sometimes they pause to check out a bug or return a lost basketball to the rack. Sometimes they run ahead to catch up with a friend. But whether they move quickly or meander, they always find their way to the place they are meant to be.
My favorite part of these unscheduled “between” moments is how relaxed and free the campers seem as they move from place to place. The bell has rung, they know where they need to go and they independently make their way there. Sometimes with untied shoes and a towel trailing behind, but also with a lightness that comes from a sense of belonging. Even when they walk alone, they know they are a part of a community that invites them to be their own, best self. This is their place and what a gift for a young person to have the space to wander a bit.
These “between” moments allow campers to practice skills that will help them in school and home. They are given the real responsibility of getting to their activities on time and with the right footwear! They ask and answer questions from their peers, they help one another, they grab an apple from the eating lodge when their stomach tells them they’re hungry, and a drink from the four fold fountain to quench their thirst. They gallop, they run, they pause – whatever they feel like in that moment. And then, at the next bell, they try to remember to gather their belongings as they move at their pace to their next activity.
This morning was a unique morning at MV, with the 2-weekers having gone home and the rest of the Pioneers and Trailblazers out on trips, the camp belonged to the four Explorer villages. Chocorua shared a thoughtful flag raising on “Togetherness.” Each member of the village shared their definition of this word and examples of how their connection to one another has helped them overcome challenges and enrich their happy times.
As the morning unfolded, Pioneer villages began returning from their trips. Campers were proud, a bit tired, and excited to share stories of their adventures with one another. After lunch, the Trailblazers returned. Our Trailblazer women enjoyed their trips, even with the rain! Although I would say it was a consensus that wet hiking boots are not their favorite. The vans and canoe trailers arrived in camp a bit later with happy Trailblazer men. The islands where they camp on Newfound Lake are “wicked cool!”
The late afternoon brought village time and an interest group for the Pioneers and Trailblazers, after unpacking and a shower. The Explorer villages prepared to leave on their next trips. Jefferson went on their bike shakedown and will be heading out tomorrow for their 3-day bike trip. Shaw and Madison prepped for their 4-day hikes, and Chocorua will depart on Monday for their canoe trip.
As the day closes, and I prepare to meander to my cabin, I am grateful for another day in community at MV. And I wonder, what unexpected “between” moment adventures will tomorrow bring? I can’t wait to find out.