Explorers Session I closed on July 21. In just a week they managed to explore the outdoors, have fun, and grow to better understand themselves and the world, after spending the week "seeing the world through new eyes."
Abigail Whorley, Explorers Camp chaplain, guided campers in daily meditations to allow God to enter into their lives. Every morning, she led yoga and shared stories and poetry, like “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver.
During chaplain’s time, campers had the opportunity to connect with each other and God through different activities, like making the altar cloth for their closing service.
A Glimpse into Camp
In the afternoons, Explorers spent their time learning about the nature around Shrine Mont and, most importantly, having fun. Campers piled onto a hayride where they sang camp favorites on their way to Tomahawk Pond in the George Washington National Forest.
They also set out on a mission to find the perfect marshmallow sticks to make some s’mores. Despite rain all day, counselors were able to start a fire and kept it going long enough for all campers to get a s’more or two.
Explorers Camp twisted up the game of Twister with a little bit of paint.
Hiking North Mountain
Hiking up North Mountain, campers passed backpacks around to share the weight of the hiking supplies. During the hike, they were challenged by the steep hills and rocks on the path. The next day, many of the campers talked about how hiking North Mountain was their favorite moment of camp and where they found peace during camp.
At the top, campers cheered, sat down and enjoyed packed sandwiches and carrots. One camper exclaimed, “Holy moly! I am never going to forget this day! This is more beautiful than the ride to Shrine Mont!”
Campers faced their fears as they climbed the rock to see the view. Philip Queen, camping director, led a meditation and a songfest before Explorers headed back down the mountain.
After a week of new adventures and friendships, camp closed with one last worship service at the Shrine. The altar cloth was decorated with campers’ hand prints as a reminder of the community they formed at camp.
By Katie Franzel
Photo credit: Katie Franzel except for the Twister series taken by Explorers camper Will
Katie Franzel first worked for Shrine Mont Camps as a MAD Camp counselor in 2012, when she says her life was powerfully changed by the campers, counselors, and experiences. She knew then that camp was going to be a lifetime commitment. After spending the first half of her summer studying public health in Ecuador, she found a way back to the mountain this year to work as the Vienna House communications intern.
She is a rising senior at the University of Minnesota, where she studies sociology, Spanish, and youth studies.
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.