Day 4 (Vermont 2016 ~ by Valentina R.)

Valentina – First Year Camper

I woke up at about 8:20 this morning. That gave me about eight and a half hours of sleep, which is less than I’d like, but definitely not too bad. I headed downstairs to find a small group of people bundled up and sitting in the farmhouse. We talked and vedged for the hour until breakfast. During breakfast, all the tables were still set up in a ring from game night the night before, so that there were four benches in the middle that could only be reached by going over or under a table. I sat on the outside and watched Christian — who chose an inside seat — eat, finish eating, and start to want to get out. They finally got out when I went to get more food.

After breakfast I won the race to be first in the check-in line for the third time (which really is only because I spend five minutes hanging around in the corner before the bell rings), which also meant I could choose my favorite spot for morning meeting. I have this planned out perfectly.

We tried singing a round at the start of morning meeting, which sort of fell half flat. It wasn’t horrible, but it also wasn’t perfect. It was fun, though, which I think is most important. We had some announcements about the art show and film festival, read the schedule for the day, and enjoyed the all-important weather forecast, brought to us by our wonderful camp weatherman, Ferrill. Then, Evan informed us that swimming would indeed be happening today, which was met with lots of cheering. He said that it would be going on from 12-2pm, along with several other choices, including Hoopstik (a game invented by a staffer) and Spinal Fluid Donations (the last one is a joke that a few people put on the schedule using post-it notes). There was much deliberating over which one to do.

After the meeting was advisee time, which is possibly my favorite part of camp. My group met in the field, where we sat on milk crates (all hail the milk crate) and talked about how we were and then shared a story about something that made us laugh uncontrollably. I actually managed to come up with something that was not from camp, which feels very impressive to me. After that we played a few games, and by the time we finished the bell was ringing for the end of advisee. There were twenty minutes before the next big thing happening, so I kind of hung around and talked with people. At noon I went to Matt’s presentation on how to not get your heart broken at camp, which was both funny and informative. After that I debated whether to play Hoopstik or go swimming. I opted for swimming.

Understand now, it was about fifty degrees outside. Possibly fifty five. I shivered my way down to the dock and joined the other crazy people (of whom there were a lot) at the water. There was a lifeguard there, who was the reason we were allowed to swim in the first place, and also a bunch of campers and staff alike. The water felt icy when I first got in, but after a while it actually didn’t feel too bad. I got in and out of the water a couple times, since it was cold and deep. I did help convince a few skeptical swimmers to try it. Most immediately exited, a few stayed.

Just as I was getting out, shivering some, someone, I think Evan, suggested that we go to “the rope swing”. After an explanation, I discovered that it’s a rope swing out over the water, reachable by canoe or walking. We chose to take canoes. It took a while to get everyone out, since we needed a lot of canoes. I was a passenger, and it was quite fun to just ride, though one of the other people in the boat was fond of pretending to try to tip us over. None of us were wearing anything but bathing suits, but we were fine while we were in the sun. It was a bit chillier once we got to shaded water.

We docked across from the swing, and a few of our group decided to remain on the shore that we were on, rather than swim across the relatively narrow but deep and cold strip of water that divided us from the swing. Evan swam across while holding his phone out of the water with one hand! We were all kind of on edge the entire time, but the phone survived the travel. And he did get some neat pictures because of it, some of which are featured in this post (I bet you can tell which ones they are. Hint: nobody else had a camera at the rope swing).

It took me a while to decide, but I finally took the swim. It was very cold and I started regretting it about halfway across. At that point I was closer to the swing than not, so I finished. The swing was pretty fun. The only time I went off of it I slipped and kind of dragged into the water, but the feeling of camaraderie among the group was fantastic. We were all freezing and shivering, but we could complain TOGETHER!

After I went off the swing, I wanted to go back to the sunny side, so I borrowed a paddle board that someone had brought from the other side and went back that way. The last thing I wanted to do when I got back was get it up the two feet from the water, but I did it, with help. A minute or two later, the rest of the group came back over, and Evan announced that we had four minutes to get to lunch. We were easily five minutes by canoe from the home dock, not to mention time spent getting in and out of canoes. Some people had chosen to walk back rather than boating, so we all had to paddle to get all of the canoes back. At that point I was freezing and exhausted, so paddling was only fun for a little while. The currents kept trying to blow us back towards the swing, which was exhausting. Thankfully we made it safely, and I am writing this now.

By the time we got back to the farmhouse, the lunch line had diminished to nothing, so it didn’t take long for us brave adventurers to get food. I ate mine on the front steps in the sun, where I and a few others from the canoeing trip discussed how impressively hot the fifty five degree weather felt.

After lunch was siesta, during which I wrote the first part of this blog post and talked with some people. Around then we got the very happy news that Iris, a camper who has been sick, was allowed back upstairs with the rest of us! We weren’t allowed to hug them until the next morning, but they were coming back! The number of air hugs when they finally came upstairs was astronomical.

After that was gender groups. I went to the women’s group, where we talked about some very interesting things. I really enjoyed it.

By the time that was over, it was time for dinner, and when THAT was over, it was time for the art show! We were all kicked out onto the porch unless we wanted to help set up the show. I did not help, so I talked with people until we were allowed back in. The art was beautiful. There were pencil drawings, watercolor, photos, woodcarving, and pottery, among other things. I looked at everything. There was also beautiful music courtesy of a few very talented campers (and one junior staff!)

When it seemed like everyone had looked at all the art, we put that away and turned off all the lights for the film festival. There were five films, including funny, serious, and just simply enjoyable ones. Everybody wanted to sit on the couches, so I sprawled over the floor (there were a few other floor sitters, but there was plenty of space for all of us).

After the film festival was over, there were two more things happening. A lot of camp went outside to start a fire, some others went to bed, and some watched the presidential debate in the living room. I was a member of the last category. It was fun, interesting, and depressing all at once. I enjoyed the group of people I was watching with, so I definitely think that helped my enjoyment of the debate.

After the debate was over, we talked about it a little bit and the campers who had watched the whole thing (like me) decided to go out and see if the fire was still going. It was really dark outside, and only got darker as we went away from the farmhouse. At one point Gavin stepped in a minor ravine and exclaimed “Oh, I found a ditch!” After that I conveniently remembered my flashlight, and we reached the fire without further mishap.

I ended up going to bed around 11:45, which is way later than I would like, but I enjoyed what I did before it (rest assured I slept almost as long as I could the next morning, so I’m not that sleep deprived). It was a great day, just like all of my days at camp so far.

Hanging out by the lake
Swimming out to the “island”
Rope swing!
Canoeing back to camp