Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding goes the bell for Week Six! The Wildwood campers found out who would be going on The Challenge Sunday night at Council Fire, which set them up for a week full of team-building, camping, and opportunities to step outside their comfort zones. The remainder of Camp was set to hold down the fort, partaking in your standard Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Activities.
The Challenge is a four-day, three-night competitive camping trip where the Sand and Pine teams individually make a home in the woods. Twelve of the oldest campers from each team and two counselors build this said home with found, fallen logs that are sawed, lashed with twine, or sunken into the ground to create structures. The structures they build include a fire table for cooking, a prep table to act as a kitchen counter, a baker to store food, a dining table, a backpack rack, a latrine, and a judge’s tower for Capture the Flag. In addition to building these key features of their woods home, the teams prepare three gourmet meals a day over a fire for the team and two judges.
The final element to this exciting trip is Capture the Flag, where both teams strategically raid each other’s sites to get flags and defend their own. The three games of Capture the Flag that the young women played were full of energy, good raids, and solid defense. Keeping in mind that this is a four-day trip, what is asked of these campers seems like a lot to accomplish; but both teams accomplished so much this summer with grace and success. The Challenge pushes campers outside of their comfort zones, resulting in so much growth and empowerment in personal capability. While this trip is named the Challenge for a reason, it is a source of many fun memories. It was so impressive to see all that was accomplished by both teams. As it is a competitive trip, a winner is determined by the judges who evaluate the structures, meals, and games. This year’s winner was the Pine team!
Monday morning the Chal girls did Initiatives (team-building exercises) in the Pine Forest while the rest of Camp received new Morning Activities. In the Afternoon, while the Chal girls packed food and practiced Camp Crafts skills, Camp partook in activities like washing the horses, fort building in one of the unused cabins, writing love notes for the Chal girls, and playing extreme mafia. Now, you might think Evening Activity was separated between Chal girls and the rest of the campers. Think again. Everyone hiked up into the woods to play an upgraded version of 8 Sticks. It was certainly something new, that’s for sure!
Tuesday rolled around and Morning Activities commenced once again. The Chal girls participated in more preparation with a metaphysical meeting hosted by our Camp practitioner. In the afternoon, Camp participated in activities like water aerobics and a petoskey stone hunt. The weather was absolutely GORGEOUS darling, so everyone wanted to be outside and/or by the water! The Chal girls finished their preparation by packing gear for their trip in the afternoon. In the evening, these young women practiced tackling for Capture the Flag, finished their team t-shirts, and braided their hair in preparation for the long week in the woods. The rest of Camp got to do a Counselor Fashion Show in the evening! Each cabin dressed up one of their counselors to match a certain theme, resulting in a big runway show to show off the looks they created.
HUMP DAAAYYYYY! Wednesday morning was fairly normal for Camp, except that after breakfast we said farewell to the Chal girls. We sent them off with love notes, warm hugs, and lots of words of encouragement. Afternoon Activity was Cabin Day (can I get a hoi yah?!?!) complete with cookie baking, tubing, ice sledding down the Great House lawn, and building houses for creatures called Dreggons made out of rubber bands. A wild afternoon concluded with Wednesday Night Church and a hymn sing with Leelanau, a favorite of many.
Thursday we had the pleasure of having a guest Quiet Time speaker, Christian Science practitioner Kathleen Moyer. She talked about the summer theme, “Love is the Liberator,” in addition to Mrs. Eddy’s interpretation of the 23rd Psalm. The afternoon was another beautiful one, so the girls did activities like water coloring outside, building sandcastles on the beach, and making flower crowns. For Evening Activity we went a hop, skip, and a jump down to Sleeping Bear Dunes, specifically to a private part of the dunes called Devil’s Hole. We had the bowl all to ourselves! The girls did lots of epic jumping, cartwheels, and front and back handsprings down the dunes, and there are some incredible action shots to prove it!
FriYAY came around the corner faster than a jackrabbit! The campers finished their week of Morning Activities and had their last opportunity to do various Afternoon Activities with few people in Camp. The Evening Activity was quite a “treat,” given that it was the 31st of July because it was Halloween! Campers rotated between various Halloween-themed stations, including cookie decorating, stories and hot chocolate in the woods with jump scares (courtesy of the cabin of Windward), and dress-up-a-counselor.
THE CHALLENGE GIRLS RETURNED SATURDAY MORNING! During our big Saturday Morning Clean Up, the Chal teams quietly slipped into Camp to unpack and clean their gear from the trip in the Trips Building. They joined us for lunch and were welcomed with tons of hugs, love, and questions about their time in the woods. As per the Camp tradition, the Chal girls then napped all afternoon. Meanwhile, the rest of Camp joined North Star to create tokens of appreciation for their counselors and spend time at the beach. Finally, to conclude the day, everybody watched “How To Train Your Dragon,” making all of us want our own pet dragons and speak in Scottish accents. Overall, it was a happy day!
Week six brought growth, opportunities to lead, hard work, and lots of laughs, culminating in an overflow of love once the Chal girls returned. We are grateful for the good we witnessed this week, and are excited to finish off the summer strong during our last week of Camp. Week seven, bring it on!