You might not remember what a teacher taught you, but you always remember how a teacher made you feel. It’s those special instructors and coaches who inspire and turn you on to their subject or sport who you never forget. You know, the ones who take tremendous interest in each individual, who make the subject really fun, and always help each kid feel good about him or herself.
There are lots of those exceptional role models here at Skylemar. Two of our finest are named Paige and Brett, who lead our Sky Pines and Tripping program. This dynamic duo just has what it takes.
Our goal this summer was to improve the already great Sky Pines experience, by doubling the staff so there were more opportunities for overnights and hiking trips. Thanks to Paige from Maryland and Brett from Florida, we’ve exceeded our expectations. That’s because they’re not just special teachers to remember, but they’re also two of the kindest, wisest and most patient people you’ll ever come across.
A Sky Pines Overnight is magical and exciting. Just about every evening, a different cabin gets to go on this adventure that seals the deal on friendship or heals what might be a little not right. There’s something about being in this unique setting at Sky II which builds a connection among all who are there.
Whether you travel by canoe or by foot, you land at a little lakeside oasis, where the tents stand ready to welcome. All are taught the different ways to make a fire, and dinner is on. It might be a chicken stir fry over the open flame, grilled hot dogs or “Thanksgiving One Pot”. That’s a popular Brett creation, which includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy all in one Dutch oven. There’s Chili Cornbread too. It’s a cast iron skillet with vegetarian chili on the bottom and corn bread on top.
Maybe you’re thinking ... "but he’s a picky eater"... "my son would never eat a vegetable"... or "mine would eat this part but never that part". Interestingly, at Sky Pines the boys are surprisingly content, and many eat what they wouldn’t normally. If someone, for example, says they don’t like the squash, Paige gently says, “no pressure, but how about giving it a try?”. If they try but no go, Paige says patiently, “OK. Thanks for having an open mind.”
Early evening is the “golden hour”, and everything’s beautiful no matter where you look. It’s fine to snorkel, lay in an inner tube or go fishing. Before long there’s a scavenger hunt to find the ingredients needed for s’mores.
Whether it’s Paige or Brett leading the overnight, the quiet activities around the fire are always fun. Hustle’s Smile Game breaks the ice, and then we talk about the day. Stick Dedication is when you grab a stick, dedicate it to someone you love, and throw it into the fire. We go “around the horn” discussing strengths and challenges, or maybe play the “add onto the story game.”
Some retire to the tent, but others go Cowboy Camping, which means that you sleep outside under the stars. Early risers can play cards, read and collect firewood. Before long it’s breakfast, and we can’t wait. Everyone learns to make hobo omelets made in a pie iron, breakfast burritos, scrambled egg skillets and yummy cinnamon rolls. All on the open fire!
From sunset to sunrise, Sky Pines is just what you need to solidify bonds or maybe see each other in a different light. Thanks to Paige and Brett for giving each of us a night to remember the rest of our lives.
Read this today…
“I’m my best self when I’m here and I need to carry that into the real world. I wish summer camp lasted forever.” (Written by a super-great staff member on his daily log sheet)
Only at Skylemar