A full week of exploring is hard enough to remember let alone recount within the confines of a screenful of paragraphs. How could one possibly transmit the smell of the sun on the shore pines, the feel of a waterfall cascading on your head, the excitement of tasting your first trailing blackberry or thimbleberry, the suction of thick mud around your legs, the electricity pulsing through your being as you meet a three-day old seal pup on the shore? Where, amongst these 26 letters is the heat of the day, the breath of the trees, the moisture of the lakes, the gentle south wind, the sting of a mosquito, the thrill of sneaking and chasing, the music of a thrush?
In Explorers Club, we have a practice of reminding ourselves of the events of the entire week during our final meeting. We do this because there is so much goodness in Exploring, and each of these experiences is fully worthy of being reinforced so that they can become a part of us and guide us as we grow with the world.
When asked to remember the events of the week during our closing meeting, Explorers shared a wonderful collage of memories: many games of Hide!; introducing new Explorers to the 100 Aker Woods; learning about plantain; our first game of Spider’s Web amongst the cedars and sword ferns; Ripple through the Forest; Our many chances to have a good Sit Spot; seeing how to make a bow drill and a hand drill fire; being introduced to sticks as tools, and laying the foundations for our future journey with carving and knives; the seemingly endless run along the mud flats out to the water; digging in the sand; the challenge of being safe in full exposure to the sun; discovering our seal pup friend and learning how to take care of them; the Earthkeeper’s Den with the giant metal buoy; Where’s my Egg; mud mud mud!; bull kelp; an adventure to a new place at Lake Padden; meeting baneberry and oregon grape;Bees and the Hive; learning a lot about how to create fair play and good relationships in our group; swimming in Lake Padden; introducing foundations of map reading; Scrambled Eggs; doing so much good earth keeping; exploring the stream; meeting tons of frogs; learning about being lost and what to do; finding our way to the falls; Exploring the waterfall and the surrounding boulders; finding our way to a good Sit Spot place and some good rounds of Hide; recognizing one another, the land, and the magic of the whole week; enjoying one another's company and giving thanks.
This Explorer could add volumes. This camp was rich and rewarding for all involved. Each mentor expressed delight at working with this group of boys. Challenges were there, and they were skillfully transformed into powers as the days went on. Pictures are, indeed worth a thousand words. Experiences are worth ten thousand pictures. So, if you really want to know what this Explorers Camp was like, get out there with your Explorer and have him teach you what he has learned. Not just the information, but the games too. Go out and get dirty! Be a kid and play a few rounds of Hide! Actually rub your hands in mud and touch that frog. This Explorer could (and will upon request) give you all kinds of very compelling physiological and psychological research data that will convince you of the benefit… but do you really need it? This earth is our medicine and we are the sum and the quality of our relationships. Relationships are built by showing up and paying attention. Have your son and the landscape be your guide. Get out there and Explore the magical and vast wilderness of your own back yard.
Enjoy Pictures of our outing by visiting our Photo Gallery.