As promised, more activity updates from some of our activity heads!
Field Sports by Evan Feinberg
It’s been a great kickoff to Field Sports this summer down on the Lower Field. Despite extreme weather of either torrential downpours or unbearable heat we’ve found new and exciting ways of having fun. During each block we’ve had more of a focus on individualized skills clinics to improve batting, frisbee flicks, and dribbling in game play. By drawing from counselor’s background in Divisional and Varsity teams we have been able to provide top-notch instruction to our campers. From flag football in the mud to home run derby we’ve found new heights in Field Sports.Pottery by Karen BlakelockThis session in pottery campers have been working on a number of different projects. Gargoyles remain a classic Chewonki pottery activity and campers love to shape and mold the clay into the most terrifying creations they can think of. It is always great to see a camper who comes to pottery for the first time, skeptical about their abilities in ceramics, leave with a handmade sculpture crafted from his imagination. We’ve also been working on creating old-fashioned coin banks as well as miniature totem poles. Wheel throwing is a popular activity among older campers and while most people have trouble when using a pottery wheel for the first time, many campers have finished their activity period with a project fresh off the wheel— something they should be (and are) incredibly proud of! One of my favorite aspects of working in the pottery room are the discussions that take place when campers and counselors are gathered around the table working on their individual projects. Superheroes, zombies, and Lord of the Rings are typical conversation topics at a boy’s camp but the thoughtfulness and articulation that campers put into their responses constantly amazes me. Overall, pottery has been a great place for imagination, conversation, and creation and I look forward to the rest of the session.Wood Shop by Forest TaberThis summer in the Chewonki wood shop, campers have been working on a wide range of different projects. The formal lessons so far have been in model boat building, mini wannigans, compost sifters and canoe paddles. Campers have also been able to enjoy the shop while pursuing their own self-designed projects. With a little help from our talented wood shop crew, campers have completed tables, plaques, benches, stools, shelves and more.Each formal lesson starts with a safety overview and then focuses on familiarizing and mastering the use of a new tool. During the first block (three days of an hour and change long class), campers learned to shape their boats using the spoke shave and the block plane. An understanding of wood and its grain was learned as campers began to work with the nature of the wood and not against it. Following model boats, campers were guided through the steps needed to accurately measure stock wood that they would later cut, drill, glue and nail into a mini wannigan. While the campers may have learned the use of the square and combination square, the highlight of this project was watching the wood shop crew brand the Chewonki logo into the sides of their box. Compost sifters gave not only a lesson in the use and varied applications for the coping saw and staple gun, it was also another opportunity to encourage campers to think about where their food comes from and what happens to the waste. Probably the most looked forward to project was the crafting of a canoe paddle. The paddle project taught campers the value of patience and attention to detail. The spoke shave and block plane were used heavily in the creation of the paddle but just as important were the use of the campers own eyes and their patience. Many campers became engrossed in the rhythm of carving, pausing to examine their work and then continuing to carve.As our first session draws to a close, the wood shop will be offering an open shop block were campers may design their own project or choose a previously offered project they may not have been able to try due to a trip or attendance in another activity. We’ve had a great, safe and fun time at the wood shop this first session and we’re looking forward to more of the same during our second session this summer!Katahdin Summit by Asher Brown (Guides Trip)
The day began before sunrise. At four o’clock in the morning nine boys camp guides and our leaders, Charlie Fear and James Overton, awoke to darkness in Baxter State Park. After a sleepy drive to the Roaring Brook parking lot all 11 of us tumbled out of the van and wolfed down a hearty granola breakfast in anticipation to the long day ahead of us. Shortly after we were on the trail by 5:30 with only a few avid hikers ahead of us. A short 3 mile hike brought us to Chimney Pond, the glacial lake at the base of Katahdin. There we were greeted by a ranger, who gave praise to past Chewonki groups and gave us insight to the trail conditions. Following her advice, we took the turn to follow the Cathedral trail to the summit. It only took a couple hundred feet for us to realize why Cathedral is named the most difficult trail on Katahdin. With lots of sweat and water breaks our group made it slowly up the scrambly trail, practically rock climbing at times. Throughout the climb we caught glimpses of the quintessential “Knife’s Edge” trail but the summit remained shielded by thick clouds, leaving us in mystery as to the location of the Baxter Peak. Almost unexpectedly our steep ascent leveled out as we found ourselves encompassed in thick cloud with the peak within our grasp. A quick mile and we were on top of Katahdin. We were welcomed by a strong summit community as we exchanged stories with other day hikers and thru hikers. The weather was foreboding and the our plan to follow the Knife’s edge trail seemed unlikely as we were socked in by clouds and the trail was slippery. Slightly disappointed but respecting our leaders decision we made our descent by way of the table lands and down the saddle trail. Finishing up the day with the hike back to the van from chimney pond. With tired legs and a great feeling of accomplishment we made our way back to our campsite, preparing for the new challenges the trip would bring.