Last weekend, thirty-six excited, adventurous girls from across PA and NJ packed up their bikes, helmets and sleeping bags to attend PICL’s very first GRiT Camp!
Friday afternoon, campers arrived in small groups at the lovely Camp Lackawanna in Wyoming County. The camp is settled at the tip of the Vosburg Neck, a long narrow strip of land surrounded by high mountains with sheer cliffs that the Susquehanna River carved out as the mountain waters make their journey seaward. The location is remote, gorgeous and ideal for mountain biking and Bald Eagle sightings!
Once girls were settled into their cabins, the group participated in a fun ice-breaker activity and then took a brief, but chatty hike to spy a peek at some bald eagles. We returned for our first meal of the weekend served by Chef Patty in the rustic camp lodge. After dinner, girls eagerly got busy making some bicycle themed crafts with Heather and Lisa in the craft cabin. We closed the night with a camp fire, s’mores and learning our camp song! Lights went out in the cabins at 10:00! After sometime, and one giant, scary moth, the excited campers finally settled in for some good shut eye to rest up for a full day of fun on Saturday.
Ding, ding, ding! It’s 7:30 AM and the wake-up bell is ringing! The girls were up and ready for breakfast in a jiffy. Each cabin took a turn at setting the tables before and cleaning up after each meal. Girls gobbled up their pancakes, bacon, fruit and cereal, and the camp staff briefed them on the day’s schedule. Each cabin was assigned one of NICA’s Core Values and developed a short, all-inclusive skit throughout the day to demonstrate that value. At 10:00, Corinne Farrell, led the campers in a fun and stretchy hour of yoga on the lawn. Girls learned to work together, holding each other up and gently bending each other into their stretches as Corrinne reminded them that we are stronger when we support each other, and keeping our thoughts positive can make all the difference in any situation. Next, Cindy led the girls in a pre-ride bike check. Skills sessions were after lunch. Girls reviewed body position, learned about effective breaking technique, practiced cornering, and worked on progressive log overs. Then off we went for our first trail ride! Thirty-six girls’ and 14 women counselors hit the trails in a few skill level groups, and spent the afternoon doing what we love!
After a well-earned dinner, girls had time to choose between a swim, crafts, or games. Swimming was the hands-down winner and the entire camp was in thepool! Just after the pool closed, the skies opened up to rain, and the camp assembled in the lodge for our camp skits. Each skit was fabulous, from the Strong Minds skit about getting grades up so a certain camper could participate in the Burnt Toast Race, to the Lit Blue Polka dot Bunnies show of Strong Character on a race course. Girls were a little more tired Saturday, and fell asleep quickly, which made the camp directors Jill and Alaina, happy campers, too!
Sunday, started with a quick stretch and strength session and then bike games! We played Bike Soccer, Foot Down and had cardboard skidding contests! All fun ways to sneak in skills practice. Next, any girl who was up for the challenge set off to ride up the hillside to
the top of Vista Trail and the scenic overlook. Then 23 girls shredded, swooped, pedaled and twisted their way down Howlin’ Down, a fun stretch of singletrack on the
neighboring Howland Preserve lands. Other girls stayed back at main camp for tire changing practice and a shorter ride. After the ride, and a lunch full of smiles and ride talk out on the lawn, it was time to pack up and head home. But, not before one final group performance of the GRiT Camp Song! As the girls filed out with their parents, we asked them to stop and make a few comments in a notebook about camp. What was the single most popular request for next year? MORE CAMP!!! You got it, girls! Next summer will be longer and stronger and funner for sure! Until then, happy trails, GRiT campers! Your counselors are as excited about next years’ camp as you are!
Learn about our Teen Trail Corps Camp coming up on August 10-13 HERE.