Kicking off the Spring 2015 Boys Explorers Club Season, the Gray Wolf Pups reunited for an exciting exploration of Clayton Beach. We gathered in the parking lot before cautiously crossing Chuckanut Drive and escaping off into the safety of the forest. The boys were eager to hit the trail and almost left the mentors in the dust! Nothing a little crow call couldn’t fix. Without missing a beat the boys gathered up and found a nice opening off trail to set up our opening circle.
In our first opening circle of the season we handed out the usual jobs that help us explore; front scout, back scout, tribal elder, medicine man, earth keeper, Totally Terrific Toilet Paper Person (aka TTTPP), Knowledge Keeper, and a few others. We also got a chance to check out the brand new knives that SOG Knives donated to us! The mentors took a moment to give some thanks for the generous donation from SOG Knives & Tools. Last week SOG donated a set of thirteen high quality fixed-blade carving knives to the EC. On behalf of the Explorers Club the mentoring team would like to thank Chris Cashbaugh and Nando Zucchi at SOG’s marketing team, and the rest of the staff at SOG Knives for reaching out to Lisa Meucci and making this donation a reality. Thank you for supporting our Explorers. Our cups truly overflow with gratitude! But before we could use the knives, it was clear that the Gray Wolf Pups had way too much pent up energy so it was time for some games.
We played a few rounds of Poison Dart Frog and Head Honcho sharpening our observational awareness before hitting the trail and heading down to the beach to catch the low tide. Quickly making our way down through the forest we soon encountered our second big hazard of the day: the train tracks. Once we were all together and ready to cross the boys made sure to be completely quiet for a few seconds (a rarity in Explores Club) and listen for a train. With the coast clear we crossed and were scampering around on the sandstone rock faces in no time.
At the beach the boys finally had space to let their energy out. Whether it was climbing on the sandstone, stealthily scurrying along the ridgeline, or poking around at the shells and sand dollars, the beach always has something for each boy to get lost in. We spent a good amount of time lost in free play, mixed in a few rounds of Otter Steals Fish, checked out a cool driftwood fort, and culminated with an epic session of pinecone tag that had mentor and explorer alike ducking and diving cones like they were in the Matrix. Finally we had gotten the wiggles out and were ready to trek back up into the woods and begin our journey with The Art of Carving.
About halfway up the trail we revisited a wonderful downed Western Red Cedar that had a perfect chunk of seasoned wood protruding for us to harvest and use for carving. As one of the mentors sawed away the boys gathered up and discussed the importance of tracking your energy while maintaining a calm yet focused demeanor for carving. These boys had already proven their ability to safely use sticks as tools and how to respect blood circles, but knives are so powerful that it takes a deeper, stronger focus than they have ever used in Explorers Club before. Next we covered some of the more basic safety logistics of working with knives; how to properly unsheathe/sheath a knife, how to check your blood circle and maintain awareness of others’, how to hold your knife and carve in a safe and controlled fashion away from your body, what posture and positioning you need to ensure personal safety and safety for others. The Gray Wolf Pups showed a tremendous focus and ability to comprehend the guidelines showing they were ready. Time to get our blades into the wood.
For over an hour the boys sat and carved away chatting amongst one another. Despite the occasional outburst of laughter or flurry of activity, the boys all maintained quality knife safety practices and reaffirmed their readiness for The Art of Carving. The mentors took time to travel around from boy to boy and offer helpful tips and pointers in regards to the greater intricacies of handling a knife and carving. Both were impressed at the explorer’s readiness to learn and eagerness to improve their skills. But alas, some of the boys managed to develop a waning interest in carving and quickly organized a session of Hungry, Hungry Martin. Not all of the boys wanted to play and some remained deeply focused on their carving projects, impressive mental fortitude for boys of their age after nearly an hour and a half of focused carving.
With our blades sheathed and tucked away for the day, carving projects in hand, it was time for our closing circle. The Gray Wolf Pups were reminded by the mentors of the importance of closing circle, and the level of respect and attention they must give to one another as they share their gratitude for the day. Not only is it important to reflect upon our outings and recall what stood out as particularly fun or exciting, but it is also important to express gratitude for those good times in addition to all that allowed for those good times to be had. Gratitude was given to the forest and the beach, the wood from the downed cedar that we carved, the knives that were donated by SOG Knives, the wonderful companions we shared the outing with, and even the apple slices that we were munching on during closing circle. What a wonderful way to kick off the Spring season and exciting journey through the Art of Carving for the Gray Wolf Pups.
Make sure to check out all the other photos that didn't make it in the blog in the Gray Wolf Pups photo gallery!