beginning to plan for our big trips!
This morning we met in the Village for flag raising and sang and danced to some lively call and response games. Our resident Brazilian counselor brought the songs to us and they were fun!
After breakfast we dove into a hard skills rotation. This is where the campers shuffle from station to station. At each station they learn a new outdoor skill: how to work a backpacking stove, how to read the signs of a coming storm and what to do if one comes, what a good camp site should look like, how to minimize our impact on the forests and our natural environment. Before we head into the woods we want to make sure we know everything we can and get on the same page about safety.
After the skills rotation the campers broke out into smaller groups to choose the activity they wanted. We offered creative writing, archery, and overhang climbing challenge. Climbing overhangs are one of the toughest things to climb. Our YMCA climbing tower has a wonderfully difficult climb where the campers are slightly inverted for a fair bit of the pitch. It is awesome. I’d slot it as a 5.12 on climbing difficulty scales.
Once the campers took a break for lunch two of our counselors led a hike for the boys while the girls hung out with Lakota and created a nature fashion show.
Before dinner the whole village got together and jumped into the lake for the swim challenge. Today wasn’t extremely hot but it was just the right temperature to enjoy a dip in the lake!
Just a few minutes ago we got done playing Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo is a game where the campers are broken into two teams and their faces are painted with respective colors. Then they are given a bandanna to tuck into the back of their pants. The game is played on a field that has two small circles on either end representing “Banks” and a narrow bottleneck between the two circles. The point is to steel “Gold Bricks” from the other team’s bank and put them in your bank. The first team to get all 8 gold bricks into their bank wins. If your bandanna gets pulled by another team member you’re frozen with one pivot foot, until someone from your own team steels a bandanna and gives it to you. Essentially this game is a TON of fun and the campers get way into it! Before they even start they start chanting and whooping. It’s important for us to make sure that we’re also being respectful. Wells Fargo after all is and game about respect.
Tonight the campers are heading back to their village to wash up and do devo with their tents. A great day of learning and running around!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Zach couldn't keep himself out of the woods when growing up. He started working at a Northern Wisconsin YMCA Camp as a wilderness trip leader while in college and fell in love with getting kids into nature. The smiles on kids faces after returning from a once in a life time wilderness experience is why he is here today. Zach brought his talents to Frost Valley YMCA, in 2014, when he started as the Trips Coordinator and soon was promoted to Adventure Director. Zach loves all forms of Wilderness exploration, though some would say his heart lies most with canoeing.
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