Enjoy this summary from a Marin Girls Summer Trip to Jug Handle Creek Farm!
We had a super fun car ride with singing, updates about school, talks about new crushes and friends and some of their recent body changes. Many of them were feeling the weight of all the homework that comes with being in 8th grade and while excited for the weekend were navigating that stress.
We made it to our site in 3.5 hrs with a fun pause in a vineyard for photos and to finish dinner. Elder M had graciously offered to come to the campsite early to help set it up since we would arrive in the dark. We arrived to a warm camp fire that she had made for us! This year we let the girls do more of their tent set up. They had it done in less than 30 minutes and for the most part worked beautifully as a team. Last year it took an hour so this is a huge improvement. We also set up some hammocks which are super popular in this group. In fact, we called our campsite "hammock city" since by the end of the weekend we had set up 7 hammocks!
Before getting to bed, we circled up and each shared their intentions for the weekend. We also talked about the theme for the weekend: Growing into Womanhood / Feminine Power. As we said goodnight to them we asked them to sleep on the following question: How do we co-exist with our inner critics? (those that tell us who we should be, how we should act, that we are too much, not enough, etc...)
Since there had been some tension with sleeping arrangements in the past we picked names out of a hat for who would end up in what tent. It naturally worked out that one group in one tent wanted to stay up later playing games and talking, while the other group wanted to sleep. We heard them giggling pretty late into the night! :)
We were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day on Saturday. After a delicious breakfast of oatmeal, nut butter, granola, and tea we made our way to the beach which is a 10 minute walk. The beach was splendid, with only 1 or 2 other families. The girls didn't hesitate for a second before jumping in the water - playing and laughing despite the cold temperature. After drying off by climbing some rocks, we circled up on the beach for a check in. It's usually the thing they want to do the most and that we spend a lot of time on but this time it naturally stayed short - probably since they had already gotten so much time together to catch up.
We came back to camp for lunch (yummy sandwiches) and to figure out the next steps. We knew we wanted to do some solo time but needed to figure out where. There was talk of sand dunes nearby from a couple of girls who had stayed at Jug Handle before. After some back and forth and sending a team to scope it out, we realized that the "dunes" there were talking about is actually a long beach. Ha! :) We decided to stick close to home and explore the pigmy forest near our campsite.
In the past we had done close to 30 minutes of solo time and since many wanted more we decided to go for 1 hr. We asked them to use this time and nature to contemplate more deeply the question from the night before (How do we co-exist with our inner critics?) and to come back with either some insight or a story of what happened on their solo time. A classic prompt for vision quest is "Go with a question and come back with a story". Rather then share right away, we decided to wait until evening so that we could have a council around a fire, which would give everyone more time to marinate on what they had learned.
Back at camp, we made an easy dinner which consisted of Annie's mac and cheese and salad. As the sun started to set we made our way back to the beach to take in the beauty. We brought some of the wood that some had gathered for our beach bonfire. We danced, played and took photos as the beach turned into shades of red and orange. It was such a gorgeous sight as you can see by the photos. No one else was on the beach so it was all ours for the night. We built a fire together - a number of the girls were excited to show off their fire building skills - and circled up for our council. They shared powerful insights of ways they navigate their inner critics and things they learned from being in nature. As we have come to learn over the last 2 years this group loves to go deep and has so much wisdom already. We closed out the night by making s'mores and just to add more magic to an already amazing day, we discovered bioluminescence when we washed our hands in the ocean.
Many of the girls wanted to sleep in the hammocks but after a skunk came to visit right underneath the hammocks and rummaged through our trash only 2 girls decided to try out the whole night. Maybe next year?
We slowly cleaned up camp on Sunday morning. Definitely had to ask multiple times for help with clean up (which also happened on Sat). That's one of our growing challenges in this group, although it's much better than last year. We created some cleaning shifts which helped for meals but will think of other ways for the future. On the ride home some started to feel a little car sick, sleepy and stressed about homework. Nothing too concerning, but still worth noting.
Overall, it was a wonderful and joyous trip with many memories created. We balanced ease and fun with pushing against our comfort zones - both individually and as a group. I hope you are all hearing stories about our adventures from your daughters since this summary can only capture so much.
Thank you for all your care and support in helping us make this trip and growing such curious, wise, and funny teens.
Q + C