Camp Report 2004

 


2002 South Coast Cooperative Indian Education Summer Camp Report by Esther Stutzman, 2002 Summer Camp Director

What a great summer camp!! Despite the short notice and last minute details, it was one of the best camps ever. We all pulled together to help find counselors, tents, craft materials and a suitable site. Even though it was only a five day camp, the kids enjoyed being in the new location at Powers Park.

We owe a big thanks to the Foggy Creek Council in Powers. They and the Powers community did everything possible to help make the camp happen. Nancy Dupaquier and the people of Foggy Creek arranged for the park and helped to get enough tents for everyone. Training for the adult and youth counselors took place on Sunday the 23rd. Since it was only one day of training instead of the usual two-and-a-half, we had some pretty lengthy and intense sessions.

Powers Park has a large upper meadow with a fairly flat area on the lower side for tents and games. There is a small slope up to the gravel access road. It has a small camping cabin with a bunk bed and a futon, electricity, lights and a fan. It would have made a nice, comfy Director's cabin! But . . . we needed to store food and other items, so the cabin became the pantry. (Darn!) All the adult counselors brought their own tents, and we were set up in the lower area with a view of the entire campground. Restroom facilities are limited to one composting outhouse. Showers are located in the main park area, just down the gravel road. The showers cost 25 cents each for eight-minutes. Jim supplied us with rolls of quarters.

Thirty-one campers, grades 4-8 attended the session. Four youth counselors had younger groups and four had older groups. At first, we thought that we would have to separate the activities according to age, but it became apparent that it wasn't necessary. Everyone worked together and despite the wide range of ages, there were no problems. Campers slept in large dormitory-style tent . . . two from the National Guard, one from the Boy Scouts and one 'elk hunting' tent loaned from a family in Powers. They were quite spacious and the campers seemed to enjoy roughing it a little. Karen Howlingwolf returned as the arts person. She showed everyone how to make Memory Pouches and talked about the importance putting keepsakes in the pouches. She also worked with the campers to make beaded 'lizards' and 'snakes' which was a really popular activity. Because there was only three full days for arts, only two activities were completed, but the kids loved it. Jon Warren and Shannin Williams, both previous adult counselors at our camp, had drumming and dancing every day. By the third day, the campers and youth counselors were drumming by themselves during the sessions. It seemed they couldn't get enough of it. On Wednesday afternoon, a group of Powers preschool kids (future Title VII kids) came to visit during drumming and dancing. It was amazing that without prompting from anyone, our campers showed them dance steps and helped them to drum.

Angela Bowen was also an adult counselor. She was a youth counselor many, many years ago and was anxious to be with summer camp again. She helped with the drumming and games and taught the campers to use the Lummi Sticks and sing a Lummi song. Angela was a real asset to camp, pitching in where she was needed and taking the lead when it was necessary. Jeanne Hunt served as an adult counselor/health care person. She is also a drummer and dancer. She has a background in long-term health care and is a CNA working on her nursing degree. She is also First Aid/CPR certified. She had the experience to evaluate any injuries and since the town of Powers has a full time staff of EMTs only minutes away, it was a good arrangement. Surprisingly, this was the first camp ever to have no injuries (other than an occasional band-aid) and no one was sick.
We worked with the campers on some Native language skills. Everyone at camp could say, "My name is . . ." in the Cherokee language. We also talked a lot about the Chinook trade jargon and the eight groups named themselves using a Chinook name. The scavenger hunt used several Chinook and Cherokee words and the campers had to know those words to keep up with the clues.

On Thursday afternoon, all the campers worked with the ITEACH team from Powers and Eliza Buck, a folklorist. The two hour project involved the eight groups of campers interviewing each other about camp. They learned interview techniques and all of them got to use tape recorders for interviews. The focus of the project was a cultural resource collection from the Powers area. The camp was a perfect place for this since culture is a main component of camp. As a result of the project, the interviews will be transcribed and made into a memory booklet with photos for each camper to have a little later in the year. One of the youth counselors, Joh Morgan, will help with putting together the booklet and perhaps can use the work as credit for one of her classes. The booklets will be sent to each Indian Ed program to distribute to kids who went to camp. The booklets (and some video that will available) will be a good 'evaluation' of this year's summer camp. The campers loved doing this activity and were reluctant to quit even after two hours.

As usual, Cook Judy did a fantastic job. Her mom, Mary, and son, Brandon helped out too. Using a three-burner propane stove and really roughing it, the cooks fed us all well. On Wednesday, they even treated the adult staff to grilled salmon and chicken pasta salad. They really spoiled us.

Our youth counselors were: Shana Duffy, Joh Morgan, Sarina Schnur, Lupe Torres, Kent Bushnell, James Cederstrom, James Thornton, and Richard Akins. They all did very well and were extremely well liked by the campers. All the youth counselors said they would come back next year. I'd sure hire them all again . . .

So, would I do it there again next year??? Absolutely! Only a few suggestions for next camp: 1. The one composting outhouse came standard with the rental of the campground. Maybe next year, we could rent a couple of Porta-Potties as a supplement. 2. We could use a large carport-type canopy for the outside cook area. Luckily, we didn't have rainy weather this year, but it could happen next year. 3. Perhaps another canopy for a craft, activity area. It would be good protection from rain OR sun. (We had nearly 95 degrees on Wednesday and all huddled under trees during activities).

A big thanks to everyone for helping to make it


 

Jim Thornton, Indian Education Coordinator, Coos County Indian Education Coordination Program,
90633 Cape Arago Highway, Coos Bay OR 97420-7635