Friday, August 26, 2011

Donkey Time

What do you think of when you think Camp Magruder? Most people think of the beach or making friends and the community built here. What I think of is a bit more hairy, walks on four legs, and brays for treats. Thats right... donkeys.

Camp Magruder has been home to donkeys since 1957. Washington Sate School for the Blind donated Mr. Finnegan and thus began our tradition of riding and caring for our large friends. As our donkeys have aged they have developed arthritis and are no longer working animals. They currently enjoy getting brushed and fed treats by guests of Camp Magruder.

Over the many years donkeys have come and gone. I remember riding Betsy around the ball field as a kid. There was Jet, who was with us for a very short amount of time before got hit by a car. Who can forget Jonah. He sure had sass and would give a crazy ride. The donkeys that have remained constant for the last 30 years have been Abraham, Caleb, and Jenny. Abraham has gotten sassier, Caleb more docile, and Jenny just as jealous and rude as ever.

The donkeys have played a vital role in Camp Magruder. They have been used as ride givers, therapy animals, and their poop is a major ingredient in our compost here at camp. They constantly serve as a reminder of how awesome God's creation can be.

They have taught myself and many others many different things.
1. Donkey poop is just hay and stomach juice. It's ok to step in it.
2. When a donkey pins their ears back watch out because they are angry.
3. Donkeys bodies are not designed to let them throw up.
4. Donkeys are pack animals. If one eats, drinks, poops, or is loved... they all must.
5. Never look a donkey in the face as they are sneezing.
6. Lice are species specific.
7. Donkey life spans are about 30 years.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What goes better with camp than tie-dye?

In recent years it seems that we facilitate more and more tie-dye here at Camp Magruder. Its a classic arts and crafts project done by most camps and people who consider themselves hippies. I think its a perfect way to breath new life into clothes with pit stains or other unsightly spots and blemishes. We generally run tie-dye once a week for various program camps that we have on site. This week is the exception to that. It's Tuesday and we've already lead this particular activity 4 times.

I remember being a kid in the early 90's coming to Camp Magruder and getting to participate in tie-dye. Back then we used a bucket of water and a box of Rit dye. You dunked it in the bucket and had a shirt that was all the same color, let it sit overnight and washed it out with vinegar. The color usually washed out after a few washings and you were left with a dingy looking shirt to remember the awesome time you had at camp. Oh how things have changed.

Now there are all sorts of fancy chemicals to tear the fibers of shirts up, make the powder dyes more potent, and special washing soap to seal the cotton fibers back up. We have had a long time camp supporter named "Crazy Tie-Dye Betsy" who is about a billion years old and still donates most of our tie-dye supplies. Some of us have even been so lucky as to have been taught a thing or two about making "real" tie-dye. She's got an opinion about every project, but the thing about her is that she won't let any one's project turn out bad. In recent years she's let me know where she gets the dye. It's a company called Dharma and Company. You can find them on the Internet and they have everything you'd need to make everything you could ever want.

The secret to Camp Magruder's tie-dye success all these many years are a few tricks learned from "Crazy Tie-Dye Betsy," You never want to see any white parts left on your project, always wear a plastic bag as an evening gown and gloves to protect your clothing and hands, and always have fun.