Last week was the first of our two Bill Koch League summer day camps and we had 24 kids from all over northern Vermont who joined us for a busy week of ski training and other outdoor fun. It was a great group of kids who were certainly not lacking in enthusiasm or energy! The coaching was split between all the GRP athletes and Craftsbury coach Jeremy Nellis and we were all pretty exhausted at the end of the busy but fun week.
Monday morning the campers arrived and after some introductory games, half the group went rollerskiing while the rest played some soccer, capture the flag, and other games. On Thursday morning the other half of the group rollerskied. We had a wide range of rollerski experience levels from our CNSC BKL skiers who rollerski at least once a week to kids who were trying it for their first time. Dividing the group allowed us to cater to the different skill levels. The other half of the group skied later in the week. Craftsbury Common is the perfect place to learn with nice pavement and basically zero traffic. We went through quite a few bandaids with some minor spills but by the end of the morning everyone was skiing the slalom course and racing around on the skis.
Everyone reconvened before lunch for some much needed swimming at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center waterfront. Monday was the hottest day so having access to the lake was appreciated by all!
Monday afternoon’s activity was canoeing. Some boats made it to Hosmer Point or even the other end of the lake but most stopped around the Narrows. With the afternoon sun glaring down and the heat continuing to rise, most kids spent more time floating in the water next to their boats rather than in the canoes.
Tuesday was the rainy day of the week and the morning orienteering got off to a wet start. The center has an orienteering course set for the summer and the campers were challenged to get as many of its 30 points as possible. A few groups came really close to finding them all which meant they covered a lot of ground quickly across the ski trails, mountain bike trails, and even a little bushwacking. All the groups made it back to the touring center just before a big thunderstorm hit. Swimming was cancelled for the morning but the timing was perfect to wait out the storm inside while eating lunch.
Luckily the skies cleared in time for mountain biking in the afternoon. The kids warmed up riding around the new pump track on the upper field and by the end of the session everyone was tackling the Center’s singletrack trails. The morning’s rain and storm made it a muddy adventure!
Wednesday morning was a more ski specific session with ski walking, bounding, agility, and strength exercises on the new outdoor gym. Reid won the monkey bar contest and only stopped crossing the bars once his hands were too blistered to continue. Impressive strength! The morning culminated in a relay race and snacks in the shade of the solar panels.
The afternoon sessions on Wednesday and Thursday included sculling and biathlon. Each day half the group went to the lake where the Craftsbury GRP and SBTC scullers taught all the kids how to scull. Both days were quite breezy but everybody stayed upright in their boats! The other half of the group hiked to the biathlon range at Elinor’s house where Jeremy and Mike Gibson taught them how to shoot and staged some quick biathlon races combining running and shooting with penalty pushups.
Friday was the culminating day of camp with lots of excitement. The day started with an adventure race. Dylan left watermelons floating in the middle of the lake which the campers had to rescue in canoes. The water leg was followed by mountain biking and running around the Outdoor Center, following a race course along the ski trails and single track. The watermelons were waiting for the teams to enjoy at the finish line.
After a quick swim, everyone jumped on their bikes and rode a couple miles north along Lost Nation Rd. to the Dreissigacker’s cabin for the final afternoon party. Some of the campers who still weren’t tired added an extra loop to the ride and checked out the new pump track at Hosmer Point. When we arrived at the cabin, the pizza oven was hot and everyone made pizza, jumped off the ropeswing, and made quick work of lots of s’mores.
A big thanks to Judy Geer for hosting the Friday afternoon party, the COC kitchen for making pizza dough, PowerBar for some great energy snacks, SBTC athletes for teaching sculling, Jeremy, Pepa, and all the GRP athletes for their coaching. It was a fun week and we’re looking forward to the next week of camp in August.