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Beacon Archive

August 2004
PDF Version

News from the Townships

AmVets Fishing Tournament Scheduled for September 11th-12th

Staff Changeover at Beaver Island Community School

Fourth of July Golf Tournament a Big Hit

Marching in the Rain: A Forth of July few will forget

Dedicating the Town Clock

On This Date

Shipping out the Logs

Concert on the Harbor

Sunset Picnic August 15th

Inland Seas Kayaking Inland Seas Eco-Tours

Art Show Success highlights Museum Week

A Wedding on the Beach

Volleyball Camp

Boyne Thunder Poker Race to Beaver

Recreation Resource Project Special Summary Report

One Hundred Years Ago

Sky Divers Return

Livingstone Studio's Meet the Artist

BIRHC Fashion Tea at Deerwood

B.I. Christian Church celebrates 41 years, honors Greggs

Camp Quality on Beaver

Trouble with the Bridge

BIRHC Benefit Dinner September 17th at Nina's

Go Wendy!

 

Camp Quality on Beaver
by Nancy Ferguson

On June 11th, 2004 thirteen excited teen campers and six staff happily boarded the Emerald Isle for a four-day adventure on Beaver Island. After waving good-bye to kin, the campers settled in. Games, decks of cards, and snacks appeared on the tables. Since there were several new campers, they went up to meet Captain Mike and help make sure the boat stayed on course. An hour out the waves swelled higher, giving a rolling motion to the boat. The kids did fine, some even enjoying the spray over the decks, but a few adults became a tad bilious. They were glad to enter the calm of Paradise Bay.

As the kids came out onto the sunny deck, I heard talk about Big Blue and the Brown Bomber. Those are the two “burbs” Gordie and Chris Heiikka have been kind enough to let us to use. They are becoming a camp legend, and once we got our gear all collected, we laded it and ourselves into them and Eleanor's van, and took the short ride to Dalwhinnie.

There, Dawn and Gail greeted us with smiles, pizza hot from the oven, soft drinks, and chips, followed by cookies and ice cream. For those who could eat, it was all wonderful. For those still recovering from the crossing, there were plenty of leftovers for breakfast the next day. Sooooo, we piled back into the vehicles and headed for the Lighthouse School.

Since it was a beautiful evening, after settling into our quarters we strolled up to the lighthouse. In three groups we ascended the winding stairs to the top. The view was magnificent: North and South Fox Islands, as well as the mainland. Cards, games, puzzles and conversation filled the evening. Since the 3-D puzzle of the Empire State Building would need to be completed in only three days, three master puzzle-workers set to work. Lights were out at 10:30 so we would be rested for a full day of fun.

Saturday morning, after pancakes and sausage, we headed for Island Airways. Pilot Neal Boyle got the first group loaded and strapped in and off they went into the blue to see beaver dams, deer, the Lighthouse School, schools of carp laying off shore, and a shipwreck. To the delight of the campers Neal maneuvered the plane sharply so they could see well. While half were up in the plane, John and Keith let the others roam through the Brothers’ Place. The campers loved the long porch with its swings and … the dogs. I explained that we would be hiking from there later in the day.

Having a half hour until lunch, we stopped by the Transfer Station for an impromptu tour given by John. They liked the noise of the new glass crusher. Most had never seen the colorful shredded plastic in bins. They were surprised to learn that some of their favorite fleece clothing comes from recycled plastic. Lunch at Stoney Acres came next. Pitchers of pop and iced tea graced the tables, along with tasty soups, salads, and sandwiches. Desserts were the order of the day. It was a close vote between the hot fudge brownie delight and strawberry shortcake, but the shortcake won.

Then, it was time to report in at the Beaver Island School to meet “Compass Ken” and his able assistant, Patty. He handed out rulers, maps, markers, and most importantly, compasses. Since most of us had never even held a compass, much patient explanation was required. Ken had us drawing lines and plotting courses in no time.

Soon it was time to put our new knowledge to the test. We tried it outside the school first. Eventually, we all turned like lemmings in the same direction. So we headed for the forest behind the Brothers' Place. Each group of two or three had a chance to lead, with those walking behind suspiciously checking their compasses. Stepping over fallen trees, through ferns, and nearly ON a fawn, we slapped at mosquitoes and stayed the course … which brought us to Font Lake! We were delighted to have completed the journey thus far, and some even cooled their feet with a bit of wading in the lake.

We refreshed ourselves with bug spray and charted a course that would, hopefully, take us between two hills. Even though some of us fell, we all made it to the appointed passage. Ken gathered us around and pointed up the hill. “Now, you don't have to go up there if you don't want to, but the rumor is there’s a treasure up there. All you have to do is find the clue, set a course, and find the treasure.”

Before he had even finished speaking they were tearing up the steep hill. It wasn't long until we poky adults heard a teen voice crowing, “I've found it!” The bag was quickly opened and spread on the ground for all to share. This was a difficult trek for some of our campers and companions, and all were justifiably proud of their accomplishment. Thank you, Ken, for a wonderful afternoon adventure.

By now, we were all hungry and glad to return to camp for steaming hot lasagna and cheese bread, followed by birthday cake. Then it was time to get a dance ready to go for the August camp. The theme this year is “New York, New York,” so we are dancing to Frank Sinatra. Listening over and over again, counting, trying this step and that, slowly it began to take form. Then, too soon, it was time for lights out!

Bacon and eggs by Chef Louie were the order for Sunday before we left to meet Jim Gillingham from the CMUBS at Miller's Marsh. Once again he educated and entertained us with information about the Island's reptiles. Two little painted turtles were the stars of the show. He showed how they had been marked to identify them at a later time. As we walked along the edge of the Marsh, he pointed out varieties of trees, where beaver had gnawed them, and the secret world of newts and salamanders under fallen trees and in soft ground cover. Mike proved adept at locating the little rascals and even found a toad that Jim carefully placed in one of his specimen bags for further study.

Then, we arrived at the habitat field. Under carefully “seeded” cover the campers found three varieties of snakes, both male and female, and a tiny delicate red spotted something or other, a little beauty. The girls often start by saying they aren't going to touch a snake, but Jim's enthusiastic presentation soon has them holding a reptile of some sort … and smiling.

Jim left us to catch a plane, and we drove the short distance to Big Rock and Big Birch for some group photos. Then, on to Larry, Laraine, and Sweetie Dawson's place. After washing our hands, and with Sweetie carefully kept inside (and grumbling about it), we could safely sit on the porch and enjoy the sandwiches Dalwhinnie provided, chips, Kool-aid, and three varieties of Laraine's homemade cookies. Yum.
After we had eaten all the cookies we could manage, Sweetie was loosed for all to pet and adore. The kids were amazed at how big she has gotten. We sunned ourselves for a bit and then headed for town.

Once there we were efficiently fitted for bikes and helmets, broke into groups, and headed our various ways. Everyone made a stop at the Toy Museum for some keepsake to take home. Thank you, Mary, for the cloisonné rings. They had a grand time selecting exactly the right one as they sat around the table later that night.
As we continued our ride around town, the sky grew dark and thunder began to rumble. We turned in our bikes and scrambled into Blue and Brown none too soon, for it began to pour. This made us worry about the cookout planned for the night. Michelle LaFreniere flagged us down as we were on our way back to camp. “I'm still coming!” she said.

We arrived back at camp, the skies cleared, and we were ready for a cookout. At 6:00 Michelle, Emily, Aubreanne, Mike, and Cory arrived with the supplies needed for a delicious repast. After commandeering firewood, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and fruit pudgy pies were the order of the evening. But the coup de grace was the baked banana with marshmallow and chocolate. S'mores are in danger of losing their 'campfire favorite' status.
Cory played a few songs for us, and the girls reciprocated with the Blue Bottle Song. We chatted, there were a few ghost stories, and we bid our gracious cooks farewell for the evening.
Back inside, there was stuff to be completed. The Empire State Building was nearly done. But, the dance, no.

We had to decide what to wear and practice. Since we would be wearing top hats, we needed some to practice with. “Hats” were quickly constructed from paper plates with the center cut out. Step-brush, step-brush (16 counts) was imprinted into our brains. We practiced until it was time for lights out. “Ooooh! Aaaah!” we all exclaimed when the Empire State Building glowed in the dark.
Monday morning found us busy trying to stuff our belongings back into our bags. Sleeping bags squirmed loose as we tried to roll them for travel. Then, it was time to go.

Upon arrival in St. James, there was time for ice cream and to quickly explore stores that were missed the day before. Thank you to all the merchants who were so generous to our kids and to all who helped make this camp such a success. Beaver Island is a wonderful place for us to visit. You make us feel at home.

The kids are already thinking of things to do next year. A visit to the museums (many of them who visited before have graduated”), a round of golf, climbing Mt. Pisgah (we got rained out this year), and on and on.

Thank you, thank you, thank you from Camp Quality.


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