Last week we shared with you what some of our staff have been up to since camp was in session. We have some more awesome travels, studies, and work to share with you directly from the staff leaders of Girls Camp. Jenn Goldstein (Woodsorrel, S1 and Woodsorrel S2): After my summer at Girls Camp I stayed on with Chewonki’s Outdoor Classroom program. I had an amazing fall camping out, facilitating team-building actives, saltwater canoeing and teaching ecology with 5th-10th graders from all over the northeast. I also got to work on the farm this fall and learned a lot from milking our dairy cow to plowing the fields with our draft horse sal! It was an amazing season and I am excited to return to Chewonki in the spring! This winter I am enjoying reconnecting with my west coast roots, spending time with family and traveling in the Pacific Northwest. Nicole Borrasso (Wintergreen, S2): I have been busy this fall fixing up my “new” old farmhouse that I bought this past August. I have been planting bulbs, designing my yard, painting, chopping wood, and learning how to fix things I didn’t even know could break. It has been hard to find time to fit it all in. I have continued to teach 3rd and 4th grade at the Friends School of Portland. I have also enjoyed leading and organizing the school Outing Club and the Ski Club. I look forward to more snow so I can ski-jour with my pup Juneau! Rebecca Segal (Trillium, S1 and Wintergreen, S2): I spent the fall at Hampshire College. At school I studied geology. I also worked at the Hampshire farm, feeding the llama, harvesting vegetables, and milking cows. Right now I’m cross-country skiing in Vermont! Jane Cullina (Trillium, S1 and Trillium, S2): After the blueberry- and song-filled summer, Jane returned to Chewonki’s Wiscasset campus to work for the Outdoor Classroom program. Leading groups of students for a week a time, Jane taught camping skills, ecology lessons and more to 5th-9th graders. Since the season ended, she has been spending time with her family in Philadelphia and traveling to Jamaica. In January, she heads back to Chewonki, where she will begin a split position with the Traveling Natural History Program and the Outdoor Classroom. Maya Lemon (Clintonia, S1 and Trillium, S2): I’ve spent the fall falling in love with school in an all-consuming way. It has been incredibly rewarding to feel affirmed in my decision to study anthropology and sociology. I’ve managed to get a few camping trips, a fall backpacking trip in the Ouachitas, and a birthday camping trip to watch the lunar eclipse in Big Bend National Park. I think of Girls Camp and all the folks I love there every time I head out into wilderness of any kind. This spring I’ve got an internship putting in a community garden and doing urban gardening programming with preschool and elementary school kids, I got a grant through my school to travel to Portugal, and am going on a trip to New Mexico to learn about the culture and environment of the region. I received the letters that I wrote myself last summer of my birthday and they were a wonderful way to reconnect with myself and the things that I love so much about Girls Camp and the folks there. I am eager for the next time I get to polar bear in 4th and eat breakfast the Main Lodge. Vanessa Jones (Clintonia, S1): I have been living in a little yellow farmhouse on wolfs neck road in Freeport while working for Coastal Studies for Girls. I’ve been tromping through the woods, rivers and coast of Maine with sophomore girls teaching leadership and outdoor travel and living skills. It’s been awesome! Christina Roach (Allagash, S1 and Clintonia S2): After camp ended, I got to spend the Fall months with a wonderful crew, working for Chewonki as an Outdoor Classroom Instructor. One of my highlights of the season was getting to go on an amazing salt water canoe trip off the coast of the Chewonki Neck with my Co-Leader from the summer, Rae. We had a stellar group of eighth graders from Raleigh, North Carolina. One of the students, in his free time on the trip, between paddling and working on crews, wrote a ten page epic story about our adventures. On our last night he read it aloud to all of us as we watched the sun go down over the ocean. It was simply magical. Since the end of the Outdoor Classroom season, which was over at the end of October, I have been traveling about, down the east coast, visiting friends along the way, to land in Sunrise, Florida, my hometown. Soon after getting home, I was a bridesmaid for one of my best friend’s weddings which was on a beautiful Florida west coast beach. I have also enjoyed spending time with my family and seeing old friends and taking on lots of fun creative projects, like making a quilt out of old t-shirts. After Christmas I am going on a personal outdoor adventure in the Everglades, paddling through the mangroves and swamp and bays! I hope to do some volunteer work on a farm after that, and then I will be back at Chewonki for the next Outdoor Classroom season! Rae Jones (Trout Lily, S1 and Clintonia, S2): When camp ended, I came back to Chewonki’s main campus and dove into two and a half months with Chewonki’s Outdoor Classroom. I led an inspiring Salt Water Canoe Trip with the ninth grade class from the Montessori School of Raleigh and led OC Encampments for many other schools that visit Chewonki. It was an exciting and fun-packed fall with Barn Climbs, Ecology lessons and lots of camping! As the OC season ended, I accepted a position with Chewonki’s Salt Marsh Farm for the winter. Working on the farm is tiring, extremely fun, and rewarding. Twice a day, we feed and take care of the animals at the farm, which right now include 11 sheep, 3 cows, about 30 chickens, and 1 work horse. Most of farming involves moving awkward/heavy things from one place to another and doing this with the Chewonki Semester School students has been our own real-life group challenge many times. Probably my favorite example is when we moved a truckload of pine needles (collected from the side of the road) on a tarp that six of us dragged across the cow pasture. It was a haul! The farm crew is also in charge of processing and delivering wood for all of the buildings on Chewonki’s campus that are wood-heated. So, I’ve learned to use a chain saw and have spent a lot of time bucking up, splitting and delivering wood. The satisfaction of hard, useful and productive work can not be overrated! Can’t wait to see everyone next summer! Rachel Edelman (Corydalis, S1 and Support, S2): I left Chewonki at the end of October, after finishing up the fall OC season. I headed straight to western Colorado, where I worked on a farm right next to the beautiful sandstone cliffs of the Colorado National Monument. I worked there for about a month, mostly getting the farm prepared for winter. Now, I’m visiting my family Memphis for the holidays before I go into the wilderness in January! I’ll be doing a NOLS outdoor educator course in Arizona, going backpacking and climbing in the Kofa Wilderness. I hope everyone bundles up and enjoys their winter outside! Holly Whitney (Corydalis, S1 and Corydalis, S2): I spent the fall in Nepal and India on a School for International Training (SIT) program. The focus of our program was studying Tibetan culture and language and it was definitely an eye-opening semester. I spent September in Kathmandu, Nepal, mostly learning Tibetan language, which is very difficult! In October, my program traveled to Ladakh, India (way up north, near the Tibet border). Nestled between the Karakoram and Himalayan Ranges, Ladakh is completely surrounded by huge mountains and, at the end of two weeks of traveling, I was convinced it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. At 12,000 + feet, my early morning day hikes were quite the lung workout and got me all ready for hiking to the cliffs this summer. The highlight from Ladakh was waking up in the dark one morning when we were camping at Pangong Lake (two thirds of which is in Tibet) and climbing up a snow covered mountain to see the sun rise over Tibet. After Ladakh, we traveled to Dharamsala, India, which is the home of the Tibetan Government in exile as well as many Tibetan refugees. Although His Holiness the Dalai Lama was ironically visiting the US when we were there, we did meet His Holiness the Karmapa, who is basically the second highest person in Tibetan Buddhism, and is only 26 years old (his reincarnation line however is older than the Dalai Lamas’). The father of my homestay family is Dharamsala is the bodyguard of the Dalai Lama- needless to say I felt very safe! In November, we returned to Nepal and began our Independent Study Projects- I chose to study the Khumjung School, in the Everest Region of Nepal. Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to summit Everest, built the school in the early 1960s to give Sherpas a modern education. I had the wonderful opportunity to interview many of the graduates of the school and learned a lot about the school and Sherpa culture. I did most of my research in the Everest Region (officially known as Sagarmatha National Park) and so trekked for two weeks amongst the beautiful Himalayas, hiking to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar, a mountain near Base Camp which I climbed early in the morning to see the sun rise over Everest- pretty magical. So, those are my adventures: despite how incredible that part of the world is, I am just as excited to spend time at the foot of the Katahdin this summer! Lilly Betke-Brunswick (Trout Lily, S1 and Corydalis, S2): I spent my winter break hiking in New Mexico and tromping around Maine with Becca. Last week Holly and I took a gorgeous run along Merrymeeting Bay. I am about to depart the positive temperatures of the Northeast and spend my winter playing hockey and broomball in the -20 F temperatures of Minnesota. I will also be indoors occasionally, writing my senior thesis for my math major. Hannah Plekon (Allagash, S1 and Sarsaprilla, S2): With the latest several inches of snow fallen on Mount Desert Island, winter is well underway for me. This fall I began a two year graduate studies program at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. I will be receiving a Masters of Philosophy for research into the role of belief and spirituality in field of marine science. My work will take me into an unfamiliar wilderness: the vast Atlantic Ocean, where I hope to work closely with whale scientists and see as many humpback, finback, right, and minke whales as possible! When I’m not reading or writing for school, I find plenty of time to play in beautiful Acadia National Park. I’m thrilled that cross country ski season has just begun, and our daylight hours are finally getting longer! An ideal day includes an adventure outdoors in our wintry wonderland, and then gathering with friends for a potluck supper and a hot cup of tea by the roaring woodstove. I hope many of you are enjoying the best of this amazing season, and already dreaming up new stories and songs for next summer back at Fourth Debsconeag Lake. It’s not as far away as it seems! Debsconeag lake awake awake! With warmth and joy, Hannah Becca Abuza (Support, S1 and Sarsparilla, S2): I am finishing my last year of school at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor Maine. This fall I focused on heirloom apples, apple orchard management, and the history of grafting. I look forward to leading winter camping trips, working on her senior project focusing on Maine rivers, and the return of amphibians come snow melt. Kit Hamley (WW Kayak, S1): I just got back from two months in South America. The first month I was in Ecuador working on an organic farm and teaching English at an elementary school. It was truly a magnificent experience as I made some really wonderful connections to kids and their families. The second month was spent traveling around Peru. I traveled all around the country, stopping off at as many archaeological sites as I could. My favorite part of visiting Peru was the 5 day trek I did that ended at Machu Picchu. It was truly stunning! I returned to the States in mid-December and drove 36 hours home to Montana which is where I am now. I spent a few days in Yellowstone National Park x-country skiing with buffalo, elk and coyotes, taking in the scenery and bathing in hot springs. I will return east around New Year’s Eve. I will be working at Sugarloaf (Maine) this winter as a ski instructor! Katie (WW Kayak, S1): I spent the fall teaching at Ferry Beach Ecology School in Saco, Maine and went home to Aspen, CO in November. I just returned to Maine recently and am taking the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) recertification course at Chewonki. This winter I will land at Sugarloaf to work and will be roommates with Kit! We both are excited to have many adventures in the winter wonder land! Dot Lamson (Assistant Director): Hi all you Camp Chewonki Girls!! Greetings from Wiscasset. I’ve missed hearing all your voices, seeing your smiles and enjoying your laughter. I have looked through all my summer camp photos many times and it always brings me back to our wonderful camp on 4th Debsconeag. My life since last summer has been truly wonderful. I am a very lucky new grandmother who gets to be with little Olivia full time, baby-sitting 4 days/week while her mom is at work. Being a Grammy-Nanny is the best job on earth. I get to play with this amazing, little 5-month-old baby all day. Yes, I even dress her up in adorable little baby outfits and take cute pictures for her mom and dad. I’m loving it! I’ve also done a ton of hiking, swimming and now cross-country skiing. I even made it back to 4th Debsconeag this fall to hike up the cliffs one more time. Mt. Katahdin was blanketed in early snow. Gorgeous! I’m looking forward to getting back their next summer with girls camp fun and adventures. See you then. Courtney Vashro (Program Director): After Girls Camp ended, I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at 4th Debsconeag and be the site manager for the fall. While your smiles and laughter were greatly missed, your energy and spirit carried throughout the fall. As the cold air moved in and the leaves changed color and disappeared, it was time to close up camp and head back to Mount Desert Island (MDI), Maine. While I miss 4th Debsconeag greatly, the mountains and lakes of MDI are beautiful and full of adventures to be had during the winter months. My massage practice is back into full swing, which is a passion I feel fortunate to share with others. Winters on MDI bring lots of amazing dinners, evenings of laughter in front of the wood-stove, and many stories about Girls Camp! Kate Braemer (Waterfront Director): I spent most of my fall working for the Outdoor Classroom and the Traveling Natural History Program at Chewonki. In September and October, I participated in the Woodsmen competitions at Unity College and in New Brunswick, Canada! During my vacation in December, I left Chewonki to spend time with my family in Philadelphia and New Brunswick. In addition, I attended a 10-day intensive meditation course north of Toronto. I hopefully will get some skiing in before I head back to start working for the Traveling Natural History Program in early January.