|A classic NW waterfall|
Exploring in the rain is a challenge and an opportunity that no Wild Whatcom Explorer misses out on. On their last outing together, the Sculpins got to feel what its like to be in a deluge for five hours straight. These experiences, although certainly not easy, can be character building and allow us to practice stretching our edge.
We started off by having our opening circle and figuring our a plan for the day. The Sculpins were seriously distracted by themselves and all of the rain. This circle took us far longer than most of our opening circles and was frustrating for some. Rather than participating productively, some Sculpins sought the attention of others instead and that derailed our conversation. The mentors let those unfocused Sculpins know how their actions were affecting the group, and we eventually were able to come to a loose plan of heading up into the woods and finding a spot to play Spiders Web.
Leaving our circle and moving our bodies was necessary, as some of our frustrated or wild energy needed a route to escape. The steep trails of this park provided just the calorie burning terrain that we needed!
|Moving after our opening circle|
Heavy rains provide us opportunities to see our Northwest forests in their most iconic state. Water drips from every leaf and frond as rain filters down through the canopy and understory. Formerly dry stream beds roar to life as water finds the quickest and most direct path downhill. Sometimes, because of its compacted nature, the trail we are hiking up becomes an impromptu creek! While all of this is happening, you can even watch the forest breathe as mist and clouds drift slowly through the forest. We got to experience a combination of all of these during our time at N. Lake Samish.
Once we found our basecamp, the Sculpins helped the mentors set up a tarp shelter. This would become a welcome dry space in a forest of wetness. At this point, the Sculpins were excited about having some time to freely explore. Jumping, climbing and crawling through these woods in search of natural history mysteries was just what these boys needed and the mentors were happy to provide them time and space to do so.
|Huddling and having a snack|
We found interesting fungi, played Hide! and honed our hydrological engineering skills at a small but gushing stream. This kind of applied science is fun for the Explorers and the mentors appreciated witnessing them experiment and learn together in play.
|Typical Explorer habitat|
|Careful on those slippery logs!|
|"Send it through!"|
|Small trickles can swell to full-blown creeks!|
We wanted to play Spiders Web, but the mentors were unconvinced that the Sculpins had the focus to listen to and respect the safety boundaries that the mentors had set up. The mentors let the Sculpins know this, and after some motivation from their own group members, the they were able to find focus and listen to the safety boundaries that the mentors had established.
Spiders Web was a hit, as it so often is, and the Sculpins had an opportunity to practice their Art of Camouflage skills. During our post-game debrief, the spider let the flies know when he was most easily able to spot them. As it turns out, when you run quickly, not only are you highly visible, but you also make lots of noise! Because of this, the Sculpins agreed that low and slow was the way for sneaking in the forest, and they were excited to get to put it into practice during our next outing together.
At closing circle, the mentors gave the Sculpins and honest analysis of their behavior and attitudes during this outing. The mentors highlighted their lack of intention, lack of focus, and lack of respect, both between themselves and for the mentors. We let them know that our expectations of them have shifted from our first year (we are now in the second half of our second year together). We reminded them of other outings when they have demonstrated how capable they truly are. For some reason, the Sculpins struggled at N. Lake Samish on this day. The mentors communicated that these kinds of outings happen, even for groups older than them, and that it is a normal part of developing as a group. We made clear that, when mistakes are made, the next task is to reflect on what happened. We asked each of the Sculpins to reflect on why it was difficult for them to bring their best selves today.
After this talk, the Sculpins exhibited strong focus during our sharing of gratitude with each other. It was encouraging to the mentors to witness them reach deep and bring intention into that special practice that we share.