Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A 'Tween Day at Survival Camp

Dina Bennett (right) shows the girls (Maddie, left) evidence of a squirrel's recent visit.
Maddie: Flag bearer of the day.
My grandgirl Madeline is at Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival camp this week and I thought I'd run out to Craig County this morning for a brief visit.

I pretty much know what the middle school girls are doing because Maddie and I did a day of it last summer. This, of course, is more intensive and is specifically for young girls. The camp was my friend Dina Bennett's idea. She and her husband Reggie run the camp and are experts in the outdoors (Reggie has long been considered one of the nation's premier outdoorsmen).

It is a skill, confidence, assertiveness and self-esteem builder for these girls. It is also a lot of work and, one would hope, a great deal of fun.

Here is a bit of what they were doing today.

Dina fills a small pool in order to do a water test. There was no standing water.
Dina explains the kind of wood to look for when starting a fire.
Hiking up a steep hill to the camp atop the mountain.
A good piece of firewood has been found.
Don't eat the mushrooms. Just enjoy their pretty colors.
Hiking around a big puddle. The camp is at the top.
This is the outdoor classroom, beneath a parachute.
This is a shelter the girls built Tuesday.
An introduction to fire, Dina at the blackboard.
The girls find a leaf bug on one of their pup tents.
Pup tents do a lot, including catching rainwater if all the knots are tied properly.
Inside is a leaf-filled sleeping bag, home-made.
Gathered around the fireplace to learn how to build a good one. Dina's cutting wood.
Split the wood.
'Tweens in class.
A guarded class.
Dina's fire-starter kit.
Maddie's super-hero cape: Animal Whisperer. Each of the kids made one and ID'd herself as a super hero.

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