This past week we had the most amazing, snowy, sunny Village Day yet! It snowed almost 2 FEET at the land and the day would not even have been possible without some extra coordination and planning. Before the day even began, we were scrambling. There was so much snow in the driveway at the land that cars could not pull in for drop-off! So we had to meet down the street at the Green Briar Inn. The fine folks there agreed to let us use their plowed upper parking lot as a staging area to shuttle groups of kids up to the land! Then some of us had to go up to the land and shovel out some parking spots to have a safe drop-off area.
Thanks to all the parents for their patience and for those who helped shuttle the kids (including Christina who brought her big 12 passenger van to help!) and for all of our crew for rolling with the punches!
After clearing some parking spaces, we took a small crew to the fire pit to shovel it out and start to get a fire going. At this point the kids had starting coming in and it was really amazing how ready and willing to help everyone was! Some kids helped prep wood, make a fire structure, shovel out benches, and what ever else needed to be done. One of our older students Kailien, who has been working on friction fire, busted out his cottonwood root bow drill kit he made from the land and cranked out not one but two coals! It was truly a magic moment to be a part of and showed the culture of community is strong in this crew. I witnessed a lot of empowered children and adults working together despite the elements to get a roaring fire going!
We had our regular morning circle around that fire, sharing gratitude, entering the mind and body of a wild animal through some animal for movements and then settled in for an amazing story from Raccoon Clan Mentor, Cat! Cat told a personal tale about a short hike that turned into a survival situation after getting lost in the dark. It was inspiring and held a lot of lessons for us all!
After that we broke into slightly smaller groups. Bobcat, Bear, and Coyote clans all had similar plans for the special snow day so we teamed up into a BearCatYote Super Clan! The kids helped carry a coal from the Cottonwood Fire over to Juniper Camp where we had to shovel out yet another fire pit! Juniper is a better central fire to warm up at after sledding in the upper meadow!
The Super Clan had there main activities: Building a Quinzee (Sleepable snow cave), Sledding in the Upper Meadow, and Crafting/Telling Stories around the fire. The kids and instructors cycled between these according to need and desire.
The sledding in the Upper Meadow took a lot of effort to get up to, post-holing through knee high snow up to hill to the clear sledding hill. It was worth it and then some though! I personally had the most fun sledding run of my entire life and the kids all had a blast as well! You can see the smiles in some of the pics and I hope they came home excited!
The making of the Quinzee was a major highlight of the day as well. I missed the beginning of it but the was work for many people as we needed to build a pile of snow over 6 feet tall and almost 10 feet wide! Then the inside needed to be hollowed out to make a cave. Keeping the walls at least 12″ thick ensures that the temperature inside stays toasty in the 30’s, even when outside temps are much, much lower! By the end of the day, the structure was able to hold up to 5 Village Day kids at once and would probably sleep 3 comfortably!
For more info on this type of structure check out this great article by another 8 shields school, Alderleaf Wilderness College in WA State. http://www.wildernesscollege.com/quinzee.html
The day sure flew by and we all had a blast! Glad we were able to make it happen and we should have a sunny, gorgeous day this week! I wonder what effect the sun will have had on our Qunizee?