By Sharon McQueen There was so much to do and see during Rendezvous; it’s hard to know where to start. Having so much adult help was extremely beneficial and helped everything run so much smoother. There were also special teen programs set up through the Rendezvous instructors to teach survival skills and woods lore. Much of the time I stayed busy preparing lunches for our group, but there were times when I was able to get away and participate in some of the survival skill classes for the teens or visit a few other afternoon classes. There was always an adult at camp so if any students found themselves back at our camp area early there was someone there who could supervise.
The weather was beautiful. There was only a brief rain during the day and it rained one night—but we were well prepared with tarps staked down over our tents. The rain helped cleanse the air and bring a feeling of freshness to our environment. The students visited with many of the instructors, sometimes just to talk even when they were not taking a class. On Friday night, several of the older teens were ceremonially sung out of the large camp circle as the teens took off into the woods with their supervisors in order to spend 24 hours up in the woods away from camp, putting into practice many of the skills they had learned. When they returned to camp the next morning during the Saturday large group circle everyone standing in the circle once again sang to them—this time a song acknowledging their bravery and welcoming them back to camp. It was a beautiful acknowledgement and several people had tears of happiness running down their cheeks. Artemis recorded one of our teens singing the song to her later in a voice so pure and lovely I almost started crying again!
We had so many positive interactions with other people: with each other (babies to elders), with instructors, with other kids in camp, with other participants and the staff. Many of the instructors and staff members had great things to say about our Magnolia students. I want to end this long commentary, which really doesn’t say near enough about our experience (which is why the middle school students are publishing a Rendezvous Reflection book of all of our memories and thoughts) with a quote from one of our first-time Rendezvous campers. “As I walked from place to place at Rendezvous I saw that the leaves were turning orange. It seems as I touch each fragile leaf the color changes at my fingertips. It’s raining tonight but we’re staying warm, thanks to our new blankets.”
Rendezvous is a rite of passage for many of our teens, whether they camped up on the mountain or stayed in our own camp. I can never get tired of seeing the growth and changes that our students experience during their Rendezvous adventure.