By living in nature, accepting new challenges and meeting new friends, campers are constantly learning and strengthening who they are as people. Not even the summer “polar vortex” could stop our camps from accomplishing new things.
St. George's Session I
On the morning the vortex hit, St. George’s I experienced a classic tradition, many for the first time. Campers kicked it off by singing their own announcement song, followed by counselors singing - loud and proud - every announcement song since 1987.
During the closing worship service led by Bishop Ted Gulick, also the St. George's I chaplain, the campers learned another important tradition—the passing of the body string. These strings serve as a symbol of their membership in the Body of Christ and community that formed at camp.
Explorers Session I
While St. George’s was heading back to the Valley of the World, Explorers I loaded up the canoes and headed down to Lake Laura. Some campers took off racing to the other side of the lake while others who had never canoed before learned paddling techniques from Penelope Davenport, the camp director. Giggles could be heard from the shore as canoes bumped into each other and campers enjoyed the beautiful day.
Mad Session III
Meanwhile, MAD Camp was learning stage combat technique from Matt, a stage combat choreographer and a friend of Jim Short, the director. Matt offered himself to the MAD III campers by teaching them a new skill to use in their performance. While the campers dueled with wooden dowels, Matt was busy falling in love with all things camp. Disclaimer: the pictures may be misleading; Matt and Jim are not actually fighting.
After a successful day of trying new things at camp, the mountain was quiet as everyone snuggled into their blankets and sleeping bags to fight off the winter cold (low 50s). This mountain creates space for all to learn from each other and their surroundings in a magical way. No polar vortex can stop that magic from happening on this mountain!
Katie Franzel first worked for Shrine Mont 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.