On Thursday, June 30, ICO Leader Allison and Dan from Zumix rallied some first-time campers (along with some veterans!) as they fought rush hour traffic and made their way south to Ponkapoag Camp in the Blue Hills Reservation. The group arrived much later than planned so the 2 adults and 7 youth, quickly set to work setting up tents and making a delicious spaghetti dinner (complete with a green salad and cheese and crackers too). Once camp was set up, and dinner was ready, the group enjoyed a beautiful sunset down by the pond. Kitchen clean up in the woods really made the kids realize just how luxurious running water is. Although still a chore, many hands made for light(er) work.
As mentioned this was the first camping trip for many and we had the need for a sweet campfire treat. An experienced camper built a beautiful fire as the group cheered him on. S'mores were enjoyed with some kids going back for seconds and thirds!! After returning all scented items back to our vehicles, the group paused in the dark to share a highlight from their day with the group (making dinner for their friends, setting up tents as a team, and s'mores all made the cut) and then, as our eyes had adjusted, we each experimented with the sparks produced by wint-o-green lifesavers.
This entire trip really emphasized many elements of Leave No Trace (LNT) as we even learned how to brush our teeth having little impact on the environment (including wildlife!).
The next morning, while many kids slept in, many others were up early to start boiling water for hot chocolate and oatmeal. Kids enjoyed bagels for breakfast too! After breaking down camp, packing up gear and packing a bagged lunch, it was time to check out of our campsite and head back to East Boston.
While this trip was short in duration, we sure did pack a lot in! Kids who had never camped out learned all kinds of new skills! From the first night in a tent, to first outdoor cooking experience, to first s'more(!!), the overnight was a great success and we hope to see them all outdoors again later this summer and we'll make time for a good hike or canoe!
Special thanks to AMC for the picturesque facilities and YOP for the camping gear!