As I sit here writing, there is a slight breeze off Lake Martin, although the humidity is pretty high today. This is the best office in the world. I spent 30 years in higher education in a basement office with no windows, so you have no idea how much I have enjoyed my summer offices in the woods.
As I write this, I see girls standing on stand up paddleboards, kayaking in the slough, now with skills they did not possess when they arrived. Some didn't want to try the stand up paddleboards, but summoned the courage to give it a try. Now they can paddle around without ending up in the water, but seem to enjoy falling in, too.
There's another group in the Sawyer-Weil Pavilion, singing songs with different hand motions, while some are working on making lanyards. The song floats across the water and through the woods.
There's the whirrrrrrr of the zip line running. Girls are donning their helmet, putting on the harness, getting connected to the lanyard and experiencing a thrilling rides down the line. Some are concerned about taking that step off the platform, but these girls have courage, so they will try it.
Away from where I sit, there are girls learning to swim. Many come to camp and can't swim. I learned to swim in a murky lake. It is hard to put your face in a body of water where you cannot see your feet, but they do it. They learn how to swim, how to get out to the floating dock, and how to have confidence in the water.
These girls have slept with spiders in their tents, hiked around camp in the dark, lived with mosquitos and other bugs, and heard noises by sleeping in the outdoors they have never heard before. They have cooked their own food in the outdoors, sat at a campfire, and learned songs to hike by. They have become more independent. They have done what a very small percentage of the population does, learned outdoor skills and how to live in the woods. What a wonderful gift. I'm fortunate to meet many older women who talk about how learning to camp and these experiences changed them. They still value this experience at the end of their lives, so what seems to just be "a week at camp," will be a memory that will last a lifetime.