Blog Sachems: Astha (India) & Ida (Poland)
Photos: Mallika (Journalism & World Affairs Counselor)
Video: Sonia Wargacka, LAJF Videographer Fellow
Letter from the editors:
Week 3 has been one of the most intense weeks at Camp. During the start of the camp, we were all holding thoughts and feelings. The night before the second hiking trip we were given an opportunity to voice our thoughts and feelings. We started functioning better as a community and spoke to each other more freely. We have also almost completed the benches and the lean to projects. The See Saw project is almost ready as well. We have completed more work on the trails and the drama cabin mirrors have made considerable progress. The Wilhemina Shelves are complete and are much appreciated by the campers. Campers who did not go on the hiking trip had a movie marathon in gymnasium along with a sleepover. They had a lovely and refreshing self-care day as well. The non-hikers also had a microaggressions evening program and a fancy formal dinner. The hikers had a lovely time on their trip to Red Hook. We picked up many new skills including building a fire, setting up tents, defecating outdoors and composting. We were also given ice cream on the way back and thoroughly enjoyed it. The weekly variety program entertained all the campers extremely well. We also had our last formal Council fire. It was very inspiring. We enjoyed late wake up on Friday and are looking forward to the adventures of the last week.
THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS
- Emily (USA): Writing For Yourself, Not The Others
- Christine (USA): Hip-hop Dance
- Freda (UK) + Andrya (USA) + Sofia (USA): Swing Dance
- Justin (USA): Astronomy
- Daniela (Ecuador) + Una (Iceland): Astrology
- Alex (USA): Vision of Heaven
- Caro (Argentina): Moon Cycles
- Karim (Egypt): Special Relativity
- Karim (Egypt): Programming C++
- Miriam (Denmark): Health Research In Society
- Julissa (USA): Art + Painting
- Manashree (USA): Garbi Dance
- Anto (Ecuador) + Merel (The Netherlands): Women in Science
- Camay (visiting alumna): Untangling the Roots
- Bonolo (South Africa): Indigenous South African Games
- Ade (USA): Immigration
- Jana (Palestine) + Karim (Egypt): Arabic
- Daniela (Ecuador) + Milena (Ecuador): Spanish
- Alessia (USA): Improv Dance
- Alexis (USA): Cultural Appropriation
- Rest Day, no instructions
- Jenny (Finland): Improv Theater
- Alisha (Japan): Hip-hop Dance
- Andrya (USA): Beginning Ballroom 101
Ida (Poland) reflects on the second camping trip
Groups of campers visiting the old Red Hook camp for their Wilderness Experience ended up with mixed feelings. Some focused on the pleasure from singing and eating marshmallows by the bonfire, the others were expressing despair from the never-ending dirt and rain all around. But almost everybody added some unexpected emotion to this mixture: nostalgia. Red Hook has not been used since 2014. A sense of melancholy filled everybody when we were walking among the deserted objects of the camp, listening to the stories of one of the counselors who attended the camp in Red Hook. Grass had already started covering the basketball pitch, others signs of time were very visible, but all the colorful buildings, campers’ photos inside them and sports gear left somewhere among the bushes made the atmosphere very unique. One of the campers described it in such words: “The camp looks like the boys left everything and went to their tents for rest hour, but never came back.”
Nostalgia was certainly not the only feeling of the campers visiting Red Hook. Many funny and surprising moments occurred. In the beginning of the camp, one of the two camping groups found some animal bones lying on the ground near their location. Girls were not sure of the identity of this creature, so they called it DeerDuck, because it had traits of both these animals. But soon the second group surprisingly stole the bones and brought them to their location. On the second day, the second group used these bones as an object in a geo-catching game.
There were also some scary points of the trip. One of the tents of the first group was set up on the nest of bees. Unfortunately, girls realized it when they were going out of the tent and came across a group of annoyed bees. Tent location was changed and fortunately, only one bee stung occurred.
Rain is usually a big misfortune during camping trips, but this one time it brought the campers closer together. The rain started just after an evening marshmallow and chocolate eating session, so campers were already full of sugar and positive attitude in their minds. Running away from the rain, everybody had to hide below one waterproof tarp that the campers had next to the bonfire, so it ended up with 18 people densely packed in a small area, hugging each other, singing loudly and cheerfully.
Astha’s reflection on the camp
I honestly applied to camp on a whim. I enjoyed the idea of spending a whole summer away from home in another country. I also wanted to make friends around the world. I was also still stinging from the United World College burn, in which I was accepted to attend the Mahindra College campus, but was not given enough of a scholarship. I was extremely happy when I got accepted to CRS. I was looking forward to it and despite not knowing much I believed in the power of camp.
I found my flaws and strengths here and embraced them. Human relationships are like making a fire. You need to be supportive but not smothering. I learned that here. I also learned how to make my ideas “happen”, that is also like making a fire, I guess. Too much kindling or enthusiasm in the beginning, can kill the fire or the idea. I thought of these deep philosophical things while sitting at Red Hook at the camping site. It was beautiful. The dark of the trees and green of the tall grass contrasted remarkably with the brilliant orange of the setting sun. It was in that moment that I felt like I was truly happy. I also learned how to appreciate my surroundings. As much as I hate being separated from the Internet, I do feel rather cleansed.
I am also very happy to find myself in a deep abyss of the purpose of religion instead of my classmate’s cousin’s brother’s best friend’s Instagram at 12 am. Camp is not about the instructions you give or attend or the projects you do or the cultural meals you make. I think it is about the people. Almost like a democracy, everything here is about the people. It is about the conversations we have and the things we do. All kinds of love need work. You have to put in work to reap benefits. But loving yourself super important too. I realized that spending time with myself and my thoughts matter too. I really wish camp was seven weeks long like it used to be before.
There are so many people I want to have deeper conversations with and want to know better and I truly believe I can make it happen, even though time does fly. And even if it doesn’t happen I will always know that all 60 of us are connected in this odd inexplicable way.
I am African by Bonolo Mashego (South Africa)
I am African
A soldier of my land
A defender of the Earth
The heavens be as the shower
Quench the soil, but then it has be
Temped the fish eagle flies in the sky
My spirit runs free here
Cause I am an African born
Home to many people, home to many lands
The sweet scent of fresh grass in the air
The tang of red soul on my tongue
The Majesty of the stink wood as it barks
In the African Sun
Call me home
I am an African
Ida’s (Poland) Interview with Bogi (Hungary)
Ida: What is your favorite place at camp?
Bogi: It depends. If I want to be with a lot of campers, then it’s campers’ lounge because there’s always music there, it’s always full of people and there is a lot of comfortable coaches of course. But if I want to think and be alone then it’s the lake. It’s beautiful. I love the big swing too.
I: What are your dreams for the future?
B: My dreamy dream is to make people happy. I think everybody is unique in their ways and I want to show people that they are awesome and unique, they are capable of something and they mean something. There are many teenagers that believe they are not worth anything. They struggle with depression and I want to show them that there are things in them that are really awesome.
I: Imagine you can make one decision about the world that will be implemented. What would you like to do?
B: I think it is really important and I’m not saying this because it is a common thing to say, I think peace in the world is really important. I’d absolutely end the wars between people. They are completely unnecessary.
Interview with Gaby (USA, second-year camper)
I: As a second-year camper you’re familiar with most of the things here. We were very surprised at everything coming here, but you already know this place very well. Was there anything that still surprised you when you came here?
G: I like coming back and seeing everything that the boys from the last session did, the tree house and other projects people did. I was very surprised seeing the drama cabin, how it changed too, how the floor there is so much nicer, everything felt better. And besides this, I really love the trails. Every time I go there, I feel peace. I really like it.
I: What was the funniest part of the camp so far?
G: The dance parties are much fun. Honestly, the dance party we had on the second day was the best party I’ve ever experienced at camp, even from the last camp. The vibe, the whole atmosphere that we created was just amazing. For me, that was the funniest.
I: Imagine you could travel to any place in the whole universe, where would you like to find yourself?
G: If I didn’t have any limits like time or people, honestly, I’d like to find myself somewhere in the space. I’d like to see other dimensions, other universes, and I’d like to see if there is any life on other planets. I’d like to travel like that. But these are crazy dreams. Besides, I want to just travel to different places with nature, waterfalls, and magical places with fairies.
Interview with Mingxi (China)
I: What is your favorite part of the camp so far?
M: I have two favorite things. First one – the beautiful views here. Another interesting thing is conversations with my friends here, talking in tents, it’s really nice.
I: How do you see yourself in the future, do you have any specific dreams?
M: I’d love to travel. It would be also perfect if I could do something about protecting the environment. Besides, I think I’ll study physics or other science in college.
I: Imagine you can visit one place on the Earth for a week and you have no limits like money or means of transport. What place would you choose and why?
M: I want to go to Denmark because it’s a very safe place, the society is developed and social welfare is great. I’d like to experience such special things.
Books we have been reading:
- Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Emma by Jane Austen
- Harry Potter by JK Rowling
- Mossad – Nissim Ezekiel and Micheal Bar-Zohar
- Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam
- Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
Songs we have been listening to:
- Attention – Charlie Puth
- Shape of You – Ed Sheeran
- 24K Magic – Bruno Mars
- Lean On – Major Lazer
- Despacito – Luis Fonsi
- Galway Girl – Ed Sheeran
- Lush Life – Zara Larrson
- Rock-bye Baby – Clean Bandit
- Girls – The 1975
- Psychic Reader – The Bad Bad Hats
- To the Hills – Laurel
- What’s Wrong – PVRIS
- Pyramids – Frank Ocean
- This Day is Not Today – The Little Flames
THE PETS OF CRS
Garbanzo is a lovely little bearded dragon. Our medical director, Raina (USA), is his parent and has had him since December 2016. He enjoys a diet of kale and berries. He eats healthier than most of us. He sleeps in a large tank and loves warm comfy spaces. If you let him, he will crawl into your hood to stay warm. He enjoys listening to Mumford and Sons and enjoys watching the Walking Dead on Netflix. His favorite place in Clinton is the Peace Garden. He also enjoys short walks in the woods on his blue leash. He loves his cousin Lentil the Cat and shares his space with him. Lizards make lovely pets and Garbanzo has been able to change a lot of minds here at camp. You will often see him surrounded by adoring fans as he suns himself in the afternoon.
Ah! Luna. She is one of my first memories of camp. She is a lovely, playful and extremely friendly dog. She never barks at anyone. She is Cameron’s second child. She also recently injured herself very severely in a golf cart accident. She had multiple lacerations all over her body and needed over 50 stitches. Her left hip was also severely dislocated. She is doing much better now and is expected to make a full recovery. Her presence was truly missed. She has a grain free diet and relishes wild boar feed. We all love Luna.