RENOVO – A group of youth, led by Michelle Schwartzman, Bob Pickering and Gretchen Lukas completed a 72.5 mile canoe trip on Friday.
The group traveled on the West Branch Susquehanna River from Shawville to Hyner as part of Wesley Forest’s off site Canoe Camp. Wesley Forest is one of the four camps owned by the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church.
The group paddles together, searches for and cuts fire wood, sets up and tears down camp and prepares their own delicious meals over the campfire or camp stove. Like all of our church camping events, we play silly camp games and have meaningful worship and discussions. We enjoy down time in hammocks, skip rocks, swim and fish.
This year our camping theme is Power Up! Living in the Spirit. We talked about how the Holy Spirit walks along side us and empowers us with courage and love. We began our journey at the Shawville United Methodist Church Schoolhouse.
In our excitement for the week, the staff led trainings on canoeing techniques and safety, as well as camping safety. We had throw rope relays and played our own version of Hedbanz. Our 72.5 mile trip took us through memorable Moshannon and Buttermilk Falls, Indian Steps and Wood Rock, up close to deer crossing the river and under many species of birds. In the past our camp has also seen snakes, bear, otters and even an Elk.
This year, the Renovo STEP Senior Center hosted our group for a pizza party. It was exciting as we approached the Renovo Bridge to see members waving and greeting us. We left with our bellies full of pizza, salad, and ice cream sundaes! The seniors were wonderful hosts who were eager to hear stories of our week’s adventure. The last 6 miles to our Hyner take-out were filled with talking, joking, laughing and soaking in the beautiful sunshine.
Greeted by family and friends in Hyner, the group’s work wasn’t quite finished. We loaded our canoes and gear onto the trailer and closed our week with an overview of the theme and prayer. The campers were presented tokens for being first time campers, bringing a friend and taking on the challenge of steering the canoe.
Next year’s dates for Canoe Camp will be June 11-16, 2017. Campers from 6 through 12th grades can register for a week of rustic camping with days packed with paddling the Class I and II waters. Campers must know how to swim but are not required to have any canoe experience.
There’s still time to register for 2016 camps: to find out more about Canoe Camp or any of our camps log on to our website at www.susumcamps.org or contact Emily Sliski, Wesley Forest Site Director, 570-922-1348, firstname.lastname@example.org.