Camp Magruder has been home to several different types of outdoor education programs over the years. We have partnered with OMSI, hosted self-directed environmental programs with schools, and had various groups contract our staff to facilitate educational opportunities for youth and adults. Since our founding in 1945, we have helped to provide outdoor education experiences to thousands of people throughout Oregon.
This week the Northwest Regional Education Service District Outdoor Science School program has returned to Camp Magruder. We are proud to celebrate the completion of one full year of partnering with them to provide quality educational experiences to sixth grade students and high school counselors.
During this, the first week of their program, we've hosted 223 sixth grade students, 23 counselors, and 10 Outdoor Science School staff on-site. The Outdoor Science School staff consists of a Site Supervisor, Nurse, Field Instructors, and Program staff; each person playing a vital role in this program's success. This program keeps the Camp Magruder and Outdoor Science School staffs very busy throughout the season.
Each week several schools converge on-site to create a larger community. Students from all different schools and classes are mixed as cabin groups for their stay here. By living, working, and learning together students discover how to get along and problem solve with a variety of people.
Students participate in Earth, Forest, Water, and Animal field studies as well as the taking part in the Metro curriculum involving waste reduction and sustainability. Through hands-on interactive activities, students develop a better understanding of the natural world and how everything is tied together.
We look forward to working with the Northwest Regional Education Service district for years to come. Their mission to create environmental literacy and responsible citizenship aligns with Camp Magruder's mission of developing lifestyles of loving interdependence with each other and all of creation.
Tell us about your Outdoor Science School experience and how it impacted you. We'd love to hear some of your stories.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
So, have you ever lost something? You search and re-trace your steps, but can't find it. You get angry, frustrated, lose hope, and feel like it's gone forever. That one thing you lost somehow feels like it is the most important thing you own and you can't imagine life without it. Finally, you are forced to make the choice to keep looking for the missing thing until it's found or to give up on it, life never feeling quite complete.
This summer I experienced this first hand. We had these wagons that the summer staff constantly used to haul compost, craft and game supplies, as well as snacks around camp. In July the only real working wagon went missing. We searched high and low for several days looking for this valuable tool with no luck. We gave up looking and were forced to adapt our way of working here without it. Let me tell you, it made things much more challenging (and me much sweatier) this summer.
I find that you can look and look for something, but if you aren't challenged and really ready for it, you won't fully appreciate it or find it. Well, today as I walked to lunch I just happened to look at Sherlock Lodge. What did I see sitting next to it... our beloved wagon.
This is why I work at Camp Magruder. I see people enter the camp gate searching for something. It may be faith that was lost, spiritual renewal, family togetherness, peace, nature, quiet, strength, calm, direction, community, or a number of other things. Just by being here, being present and challenged in this place, open to discovering things you may not have known you were looking for, people are transformed. They leave here with hope and a new sense of renewal that is inspiring. Being in service here allows me to help care for the earth and transform the world.
This is the first of several installments of meet the permanent Magruder staff. Join me as I introduce you to the people who work at camp year round and find out why they do it.
Friday, September 16, 2011
We've been working for the last two years to create a functioning garden to help support our ministry here at Camp Magruder. While it is still a work in progress to figure out what grows here and when, we give our garden our best and continually learn from it.
In June 2010, John Pitney (volunteer who is responsible for a lot of our earth care projects here on site), designed a plan to create a working greenhouse for Magruder. We worked with a local food bank called "Food Roots" to find materials and get advice on the soil and weather here. When it came time to build the new structure, our high school MADD (Music, Art, Dance, and Drama) Camp and some volunteers from Food Roots spent several hours throughout one week to help build the greenhouse. This was built with lumber from our old swim dock as well as recycled materials. We found that we only really needed to purchase a few things including the plastic covering. Some day there are plans to put doors on the greenhouse to make it more successful in the fall, winter, and spring around here.
After hearing all the positive comments on the greenhouse over the year and being able to use it as a teaching tool, we dreamed bigger. A map was drawn of how we wanted the new space to flow and measurements were taken of this new space. In May 2011, volunteers removed the existing outdoor garden that was just too small to do anything like we wanted. The ground was tilled and the soil we found was surprisingly rich. In June, John Pitney and MADD camp worked to make our dream garden a reality. New raised beds were constructed and wheelbarrows of compost (made here at camp) were added to them.
It was a much later start to the garden than we wanted to get, but in early July the beds were planted. We didn't exactly know what to grow so we decided to try broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, carrots, green onions, lettuces of all sorts, snap peas, beans, potatoes, and even corn. We've been diligently watering and using an organic slug bait all summer and have enjoyed watching as things have begun to grow.
We get comments all the time from people about how impressive the garden is now. It is so green and there are so many different things growing. Things people don't expect to grow here, have been doing quite well. It's nice to supplement our food service with fresh garden vegetables and I've noticed kids eating more greens because they saw them outside or they helped pick them. We've been lucky that there is a lot of support for our garden. People always ask how they can help, and I'm always happy to say by watering, weeding, or picking produce. I even visited with a guest from 4th of July Family Camp who later went on to send me an entire manilla envelope full of seeds to plant for next year.
In the future, we hope to build more seating space in the garden as well as an informational board listing how people can help, why we have a garden, gardening tips, and how they can take these ideas back home with them to a local garden. We'd like to continue to use the garden as a teaching tool talking about soil, compost, pollination, pesticides, and organic gardening. We'd also like to continue to improve our garden space and growing techniques as well as support our dining hall with fresh options for a healthy life.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Camp Magruder was recently the site of a fashion shoot. Several pieces of apparel from the camp store collection were proudly featured by highly sought after fashion models. For this weeks post, I thought I'd share with you some of the photos from that shoot. Make sure to visit the camp store the next time you are here to pick up your Magruder gear while supplies last.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Here are some things we know about Abraham:
1. He was the most gentle donkey of our current Magruder pack.
2. He really liked treats.
3. He was a loyal supporter of fellow donkeys in times of distress and with plans of escape.
4. He enjoyed having his hair braided with dandelions.
5. As soon as he could see the donkey pen on ride giving days he would walk quickly to the bar, rest his chin on it, and sigh.
Born: July 1, 1980
Died: Sept. 2, 2011
Here are a couple of poems written about Abe:
There was an old donkey from camp
Who was the kindness champ
And one September day
He slipped right away
And all of our eyes were damp
He was the sweetest donk you ever met
He even looked dapper when his fur got wet
'Cause he was patient with a brush
Always ready for a pet
Such an upstanding gent we won't forget
Some say he was the leader of the pack
Others just the old one with white hair on his back
But all who say
with pant and neigh
Call today the most unfortunate, for we lack
We lack a family member
His name was Abe
I remember the way
He said good day
With heavy eyes and chewing of hay
Only snapped when he had to
If his companion began to chew
On food that was his, then he would lay
Lay in the sand
And roll in it like he had no clue
That he was near his end
So we remember the old man
Who sniffed unfamiliar hands
And nuzzled the familiar shirts and sweaters
That got to spend time in his pen
But never again
Will we have a Donkey quite like Abe to call a friend.