Saturday, November 2, 2013

WOW! Already Fall. Here's the News...

A lot has been going on since my last post in JUNE. Let me catch you up...

A group of campers learn how to use their magic wands!
We finished summer camp with a FULL camp of 70-80 campers per session, happy campers, and a very safe summer. We spiced up the last sessions (after a camper mentioned how much they liked them) with two theme weeks--pirates and super hero/villians.

We had a lot of resource people coming in to do special activities--Sara Rose and others from Adventure Stage Chicago to do theater, Brian, Gordy and others for fishing, and Tom and Simba from Urban Initiatives for soccer.

Fishing with our volunteers
 We ended the summer with a week for Summer Adventure (Northwestern Settlement's summer day camp) and a weekend Family Camp. Our family camp had the usual giant Drumming Circle for all 60 people on site, an evening campfire program with s'mores and we ended with a variety show facilitated by Adventure Stage Chicago staff.

In September our new full time year around staff started.
Kali Prouty our new Program Director runs all programs at House In The Wood. This includes Summer Camp, Outdoor Education/Recreation Programs and  Settlement Fall/Winter weekend groups.
Nathan Puckett, our new community relations coordinator, will take over ongoing communications with summer camp and Rowe OEC parents, summer camp registration and general communications like the website.
Angelo Valentin, our new cook/maintenance will be cooking for all groups year around and keeping up with maintenance at House In The Wood.
Existing staff Val Wright, Executive Director and Terry Fowler, Operations Director round out our full time year around staff.

A Rowe trail group clears the area of Buckthorn
This year 5th/6th grade from Rowe attended House In The Wood for their one week Outdoor Education experience in Fall rather than Spring. So, of course, the theme of the lessons was "getting ready for winter". How do plants, animals and people get ready for the winter? Our conservation lesson was "Buckthorn--the Evil Tree". We cleared areas of Buckthorn so that we can plant new native trees in two years after the poison that Buckthorn trees put in the soil is gone. We also went on two field trips--to an organic farm and to a cave.

OMG! There was a huge windy storm and a LARGE red oak fell on White Pines. It crushed the last two
Tree falls on White Pines
single rooms. Luckily NO ONE was living in White Pines when it happened. It happened over Labor Day Weekend when there was a group of 80 people at camp. The power was out for 10 hours! But Val said the hardest part of the whole emergency was having to deal with all of this with NO coffee (power was out for 20 hours at her house)!

Kathy and Mike Elliott generously donated the entire amount needed to complete the Dining Hall expansion project! Here are the drawings of the new ELLIOTT LODGE to be completed by Spring. Upstairs will have a large dining area easily seating 120, two new restrooms, kitchen storage, a kitchen office, and a janitor closet. Downstairs will have a new year around shower house with convertible boys/girls side or just one gender. The entire building will be climate controlled with heating and air conditioning.
Front view of the new Elliott Lodge Dining Hall.
We are demolishing the existing Shower House and we have to move Brown Bats to accommodate the new addition. Watch for updates here and on our Facebook page at

For more information on House In The Wood please go to our website at
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