Camp Quality does Beaver Island
Thanks to donations from Island merchants, the B. I. Boat Company,
the Lions Club, and others, once again the Camp Quality kids spent
an extended weekend on Beaver Island, which they enjoyed very
muchand how appropriate, a special place for special people.
Everyone they met felt honored to have them come.
After getting a tour of the Acacia in Charlevoix, the 12 campers,
age 13 to 18, and a staff of 6 boarded the Emerald Isle on June
12th to start their 4-day Island adventure.
Upon arriving they hopped in Big Blue and the Brown
Bomber provided by Gordy Heika, and drove to Dalwhinnie
for a pizza party, donated by the Ironton Congregational Church.
Then they headed for the Lighthouse School, their base camp. After
a hike on the beach to Iron Ore Bay, they were ready to hit the
The next day they met Jim Gillingham at Miller's Marsh, where
he took them on the Nature Trail and pointed out newts, dragon
flies, frogs, snakes, and turtles. When Jim found a pregnant garter
snake, he showed them how to count the twelve babies inside. Another
snake was molting, and he helped it slither out of its skin, which
the kids loved.
After a climb on the Big Rock they went to the Dawsons' home
for a picnic lunch on their porch and an introduction to Sweety,
a 55-pound Pyrenees puppy. Eventually they made their way back
to Beaver Head, where Michelle Gray and her Youth Consortium co-horts
put on a campfire-cooked dinner of hamburgers, pizza, and pudgie
pies. They kept the campfire going to cook desert: hollowed-out
oranges filled with gingerbread mix, with the top put back on
for cooking and then served with whipped cream. Some of the YC
kids organized a volleyball game, and Corey Sowa and his guitar
led a joyful sing-along around the dwindling fire.
On Sunday Don Meister met them at the stone circle, dressed in
Indian garb for a discussion of the meaning and ceremonial use
of the site. He talked about Native American culture, and explained
what was in his tobacco pouch, and why. He told them about Keewaydinoquay
and how much she had taught himonly a fraction, he said,
of her storehouse of knowledge.
After a trip to Protar's Home, they climbed down and back up
the steps at Zembla and then went to town for lunch at the Shamrock,
which was all set. Then they rented bikes and broke up into different
groups. Some took the Gull Harbor Nature Trail; some visited Skip
Duhamel at his new fish store and watched him process the day's
catch as he talked about the art of carving; others stopped in
at one of the Museums to try their hand at the Treasure Hunts.
Late in the warm afternoon they headed for Deerwood, where John
and Sally gave them a special tour.
They had time for a little shopping the next day, before boarding
the Emerald Isle for the trip back. The sea was calm both ways,
and they had a wonderful trip across. They were in the Pilot House
when the Beaver Islander passed, and were thrilled when the mighty
ships honked back and forth. As they approached the Pine River
channel in Charlevoix they discovered all their parents were out
on the jetty, waving to welcome them home.
They had only one question: when can we go back to Beaver
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