The big story for week #2 of FLOW was the weather, and more specifically the wind. It was blowing a gale for most of the time the kids were on the trip, so traveling out to the islands was out of the question. Itineraries were shifted, and contingency plans were made. Each of the groups was relocated to one of the campsites on Chewonki Neck, which, while less remote, offer some distinct creature comforts.
For starters, there are lovely, clean outhouses at each of the sites. After enduring hours of pep talks from adults on how they would have to use the WAG Bag system for going to the bathroom, the kids now had the use of state-of-the-art privies. Then there is the fact that the views at these sites are spectacular. And obviously, the paddle to the sites on the neck is a fraction of the distance to even the closest island site. They all have sturdy tent platforms and an established fire ring complete with a supply of firewood at each site. Basically, thanks to the inclement weather, this week's groups got to go "glamping" instead of camping.
Art lessons shifted from Beal Island to the Eden Farm peninsula, a short paddle from Chewonki Neck. Thankfully, there were enough breaks in the weather at just the right times to allow Ms. Johnson to instruct the students without having to seek shelter.
Being close to the mainland also meant there were ample opportunities to swim and practice rescuing swamped canoes.
When I met up with the chaperones for our quick debrief on day 4, one of them had painted her face with the mud that is in such ample supply in the Sheepscot watershed. One of my favorite aspects of FLOW is the equalizing aspect of the mud. At school, teenagers tend to be focused on every minute detail of their appearance. Likewise, on day #1 of FLOW, they can be seen tiptoeing lightly from rock rock while moving canoes and gear by the shore, trying to keep themselves clean.Usually by day #2 they submit, trudging through the mud like it's no big deal because, really, there is work to be done! By day #3, the kids aren't enduring the mud as much as they are celebrating it.
Woolwich students are out on FLOW as I write this, culminating our 5th year of trips. Look for a write up about their experiences coming soon.