This past weekend we had our fist joint camp with our Canadian brothers and sisters at Camp Turner in New York’s Allegany State Park (south of Buffalo). The Timberwolves from both dens had a blast, not daunted in the least by uncooperative weather. It was a historic meeting and huge success. The wolves from both countries met and got along great, often working together in mixed sixes and playing during free time. For us leaders it was great to see these kids who had never met before, running around like old friends. Many of the girls plan to write letters to each other! It was also a pleasure to meet and learn from the Canadian leaders.
Friday started out a bit rough as the North Star group arrived during a soaking rain. The leaders were a bit concerned about the weather, but of course the wolves barely took notice of it. Happy to be out of their vans, they unloaded their gear and ran around the camp ground, set amidst the mountains of Allegany State Park with wisps of misty clouds rolling along the tree tops.
As the arrival time for the 1rst Four Arrows group came and went, we finally got the bad news that they were stuck at customs. It became clear that they would not arrive until well after Midnight, so we had to get our wolves to bed and delay our first meeting until the morning.
In the morning the rain continued as we met in the camp hall. Akela Paul gave a brief history of our movement in North America and emphasized the importance of the first meeting between US and Canadian groups. The leaders from both groups introduced themselves and Akela Chris gave words of welcome and thanks to our Canadian brothers and explained the symbolism behind our North Star name. Then we broke for Holy Mass at nearby Our Lady of Peace. The pastor, Fr. Melfi went out of his way to say Mass for us and held Eucharistic Adoration despite having many other obligations that day.
We returned to camp for breakfast and our formal opening ceremonies. The Timberwolves from both countries gathered together in the circle and all sang the National Anthems of both Countries, followed by the Hail Holy Queen. All the leaders were proud of how well the wolves sang each other’s Anthems. All together the wolves did a great howl and a exciting day of activities, games, and crafts were underway.
The day culminated with our camp fire (held indoors and without the fire thanks to evening showers) featuring songs, stories, and skits. A hearty thanks to Kaa from the Four Arrows group for showing us new guys how its done! We heard a jungle book story from Akela Paul and then prayed the rosary all together before bed time.
Sunday started with Holy Mass of course, and after another excellent meal from the camp staff we cleanup our camp site and cabins like Timberwolves should. Wolves and leaders alike were sad that the weekend had to end, but had our best circle yet then said our good byes. Thus ended a tremendously successful camp, not letting any adversities stand in our way, in true FNE style!
A sepcial thanks to all the camp staff who were so helpful and prepared such excellent meals (including making our hamburger buns from scratch!). And also a special thanks to Fr. Melfi and all of Our Lady of Peace parish for being so generous and welcoming!