By Jo-El Wadsworth
The past Weekend Adventure Program was so empowering! Four children, who all share a longstanding friendship with the camp, came for a healthy dose of fun, food and adventure. Because the children have been here often, they are already familiar with the expectations and opportunities of the camp. They already know and trust the staff, love the animals, the wilderness. They come to Scottie’s Place knowing that anything is possible as long as they have respect, a good attitude and a wild streak.
After an afternoon hike and hot chocolate at “The Swing” – a porch swing hung deep in the woods, halfway down the mountainside, overlooking the river – everyone cooperated in the evening chores. One group helped to prepare the bedding. Another assisted in the preparation of a giant taco salad dinner, while yet another packed the lunch for our next day’s hike, including 10 BLTs, fruit, banana chocolate chip bread and water (no soda here!). Then it was games and crafts till bedtime, and a slumber party in the cabin. The next morning we readied ourselves and drove the endless curves and hills to the entrance point of the climb. Everyone was surprised by the presence of deep snow at the higher elevation, but undaunted we hit the slippery trail. This kind of hiking in the mountainous terrain requires strength and stamina, and an adventurous spirit helps! All the children were filled with that spirit. Once we gained the peak, the view astounded us with its depth and clarity – like a giant quilt unfurled before us. We saw hawks and eagles in flight and the children were breathless with the excitement and the sunlight.
The group spent several hours on the peak, enjoying the scenery, exploring the surrounding ridges, clambering on slippery rocks in the wind. It was an invigorating and healing experience for everyone, but especially for the children who so needed a respite from their stressful, anxious lives. For a few hours they let go of their histories and families and their particular troubles in school and at home. For a few hours that day, they were just children, laughing in the sunshine on a cold November day.