Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friends that will last a lifetime

Today we went to the King Farm and stayed from about 8 to 3:30. Needless to say, everyone was exhausted and especially relieved once it began raining. We broke into groups for the project and surveyed different plots of land. After we got into the vans, all of the boys and about three girls went to the last res trip. Finally we got to see Blanton and Rhett dougie in the commons. It was good.

At the end of the day we realized how hard it would be to leave all of our people(copyright Rhett Lundy). Over the past two weeks we have created friends that will last a lifetime. I have learned so many things about amazing people as well as been guided to find out things about myself. From Devonte’s drumming in the middle of the night to Jed’s Starship singing… from Connor’s healthy obsession with snakes to Rhett’s hatred of clothing… from Helena’s elegance to Mary’s royalty… from Clark’s stanky farts to Ben’s POOP DOLLA… from Ryan’s laugh to Martin’s sass… we will cherish these moments for the rest of our lives. I don’t think we’ve ever met so many people just like ourselves from so many different places. We’ve had so many life-changing trips, conversations, and experiences. It’s currently about 2 AM and Rhett and I(Rachel) refuse to sleep. We don’t want to miss a minute of hanging with our people! Many amazing things have happened including making friends with people from other camps. Hah. We’re even going to miss the hoards of daddy long legs in the common room. We will never forget everyone we have met along the way.

Rachel and Rhett

Day twelve.. the last day

Day twelve…the last day…the grand finale…expectations were low, but emotions were high. A later start allowed everyone to be at the top of their game. We spent the morning converting the research we gathered the day before into a power point to be presented in front of all of the other SEI campers. About three people from each of the five groups worked hard to get the work done while everyone else enjoyed themselves on the computers. After lunch, we had some free time and most people took a much needed break from the grueling work. About an hour later, we reconvened in a large lecture hall to show off our hard work. Every presentation was a success, as for the first time, all five groups solved the mystery of the King Farm. Afterwards, it was time for celebration. We had our final family dinner, which was very bittersweet. Many different emotions were mixed as we enjoyed yet another fine meal in the McClurg dining hall. Following dinner, we displayed our many talents such as dancing, singing, playing the harmonica, and violin. Our wonderful counselors, Ellie, Margaret, and J Mickey presented each camper with an individual award highlighting a unique aspect of their character. Afterwards, we all went on our final hike as a group. Our night hike was very somber. Even the sight of the elusive manders could not lift the spirits of the group, for we all knew this may be our last activity together. Our hike concluded at Lake Cheston where we all gathered around a campfire and roasted marshmallows. As the embers in the fire died, the weight of the next day’s departures fell upon the campers. The night was spent reminiscing and many stories were shared as everyone knew the past twelve days had changed them.

Connor Maguire and Nazik Elmekki

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Joe's Recap of the week

          Instead of writing about only one of my days here at Sewanee, I wanted to point out the highlights of my last week and a half. We have done several hikes, some more challenging than others, and learned a lot in our field studies about trees, rocks, and the history of Sewanee. We were also given the opportunity to uncover several ancient artifacts, many of which were over 100 years old. We discovered artifacts such as nails, buttons, and even bones. And although we learned a lot, and had some fun, the unforgettable experiences we will never forget were created in free time as we bonded together to make lifelong friends.
          Our SEI camp has the best counselors. We have Mama Ellie who’s always fun to mess with but keeps things in line. Marge in charge, who is not really in charge, but is always fun to talk to. And John Michael, a cool mountain man with a good sense of humor and for some reason is obsessed with red legos. Another crowd favorite is Blanton. Blanton is hard to describe in words but he will always make you laugh with one of his famous raps. I’m glad I have had a chance to get to know him better through these couple of weeks. Everyone has also had a great time making smores, playing catch phrase, and just hanging out, getting to know each other during free time. I’ll never forget the fun jam sessions Devonte, Ryan, and I had, or the classic tale of Clark. Or the fun times I had hanging out with Giv, Olivia, and Kristel along with my other friends. I also got to know Rhett; a good swimmer/ rock climber, who always seemed to be short on shirts, but was a really cool guy. Also a shout out to Iain, the chilliest roommate ever and the rest of the bros that have made this camp so much fun: Wes, Jed, Connor, Martin, Ben, and Zack.
I also just wanted to thank Rachael for planning this whole camp and making it such a memorable experience. I am so happy I decided to come. I want to thank everyone, and let them know that they really have had an impact on my life and I hope that we can all keep in touch.


Fourth of July

Today was by far my favorite day we've had so far at SEI. The Fourth of July is
always a big deal here in Sewanee, and I am so glad I got the chance to take part in

The first event of the celebration was the dog show this morning, and although I
slept in and missed it, I heard that it was adorable. The show mainly consisted of
dogs from the surrounding neighborhoods, dressed up by their families and competing
to win a giant trophy. The show also sponsored the local animal shelter, which had
its own booth there selling t-shirts ands other merchandise.

Once I was up, I went with my friends to the crafts fair, which lined University
Avenue near our dorm, and we had a great time browsing the wares of local merchants.
Their products ranged from jewelry and clothing to pottery and art, and a few booths
even sold items as obscure as Native American styled bows and matching quivers.

After we shopped for a while at the fair, the time came for the parade to begin.
Various cars and floats began to pass by while those riding within threw candy and
small souvenirs to the crowd.

Finally, after the parade was long over, we made our way to Lake Cheston to hear
local musicians perform and watch the firework show. The show was the perfect way to
end the day, and as the fireworks lit the sky, I couldn't help thinking how much I
would miss this place when it was time to leave.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another busy day at SEI

Today started out with an early breakfast, then everyone headed out into raging heat with their field gear on. Group A headed out to the archeological site to dig up old forks, bits of bone metal and glass, survey the land, and sift for treasures (and by treasures I mean rusty nails). Somehow in the midst of all these exciting adventures, a group of us got a bit lost and ended up hiking the perimeter trail for quite a good bit. I would know… After a lovely lunch we headed back out along the fire trail, this time to measure trees! We divided up into groups and measured and counted a variety of trees in a forest plot recently restored by the Sewanee forestry department. After a wonderful meeting with the cross country coach, dinner, a free concert downtown, the games began! A hilarious time was had by all, followed by hand-churned ice cream. In short, it was a splendid day!


Digging up some history

Today we observed trees and we dug in the archeology site. Some things we looked for in the archaeology site included nails, pieces of pottery, and glass. During the tree observation we observed white oaks, black oaks, poplar trees, and maple. It was very boring, but interesting in some ways. Archaeology is way better than it seems to those who look down upon the fascinating subject. The thrill of finding rare objects can really excite you and possibly turn your other interests to archaeology. During free time today there was a fun concert! We all walked around town and hung out while enjoying the music. This camp is fun!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Big day for a Monday

Big day for a Monday. We discovered this morning before breakfast that our groups had changed...sad face. So to be quite honest today has been kinda weird because the group dynamic isn't the same as it's been the days. But so far it's been very good!

We started this morning on our kinda mystery project of finding out what the story behind the King's Farm. We used a GIS (don't ask me what it stands for, I don't remember) system to mess with all the picture maps to see that over time that place was used for farming and then pine tree harvesting it looks far. Strange. Anyways, after a yummy lunch we had a talk with the director of Environmental Science and he basically tried to recruit us for Sewanee (and let me tell you it was verrryyy tempting!)

Group A (the one I'm in) :D got to go canoeing this afternoon!!! It was SOOOO much fun!!! The guys were tipping everyone left and right, but my group luckily got away...for a while. Eventually we got tipped about 4 times. It was super fun though :D.

After dinner tonight we shall go on a night hike, basically a nightmare of invisible snakes and writhing poison ivy for me and a relaxing moonlit stroll for the rest of the group. YIKES! If anyone is actually reading this, we are amassing more bruises and scrapes every day, though no poison ivy or tick bites yet thank heavens. Emma and Clark are doing better with there cuts from the bike crash a few days ago, and are healing more and more every day. I can't speak for EVERYONE...but for the most part we all are having SO much fun and already becoming a bit sad about this whole thing coming to an end. Sniff sniff :'(


Taking a dip, sharing a laugh

Monday started bright, early and anticipated as we suited up for canoeing at the GORGEOUS lake Dimmick.  We paired up and set out paddling although we only canoed for about twenty minutes, because it didn’t take long at all for the tipping to start. I was this first one to be thrown into the cold lake water and was followed immediately by our two girl counselors, Ellie and Margaret.  This resulted in a tipping war that ended with soaked clothes, missing sunglasses and abandoned paddles.  IT WAS SO FUN!

Our final session of the day took place in the computer lab in Spencer Hall where Dr. Van de Ven taught us how create maps using a GIS. This was especially interesting, because the maps we constructed were of the King farm (a farm we will have to analyze, determine why it survived during the Great Depression, and then later present our hypotheses to the group).

Today at dinner a couple of us decided to eat outside and it was so nice and refreshing due to the (finally back to normal) cool weather. We finished dinner quickly and spent the rest of our time joking and talking.  It’s so crazy how you can force different people from different places to live together and those people (who would have never interacted with otherwise) become your best friends that laugh together, play together and somehow find a sweet harmony together. Here, during this unique experience, everyone not only gets along, but can’t wait for any chance to hang out and just chat with their new found friends. I can’t wait to see what this new week brings!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Guest blogger - Dr. David Haskell

And now to share some of Dr.David Haskell's ramblings.

New experiences on this Sunday

Today I took advantage of the well-known and revered chapel on campus. I went to my first Episcopal Church service and witnessed different traditions unlike the ones I practice at my Methodist church. It was an enlightening experience that showed me a new perspective on faith! I was surrounded by beautiful architecture that only heightened my experience. Afterwards my friends and I were greeted by Rachel P. who was kindly handing out lemonade. It was a refreshing surprise! 

The rest of the day consisted of free time and relaxation. Around midafternoon the entire group left for a swim at the res that kept us sane in the insane heat. By the time we returned back to Hoffman dorm it was almost time for dinner! 

Today was also a pivotal moment in the cafeteria because of the transition to a self-op program which allows Chef Rick to take control of all the food options (many of them organic/local). So basically, everyone is now nutritionally satisfied and pleased with the food. To round off the day’s ventures we had a discussion with Dr. Evans about our impact on the world and the constant change that is occurring simultaneously. It really opened my eyes to the issues that face my generation (and generations to come) in the near future.  All in all, it was a great day filled with new experiences, play time, great food, and learning!