I first arrived at Coppercreek well after dark on a long day of travel. After my new friend and fellow counselor, Kathy, gave me her best possible camp tour in complete darkness, we headed to the girls’ shower house to wash our faces and brush our teeth before bed. As a novice Coppercreeker, I forgot to bring my flashlight to the shower house with me. While groping around in the dark, in an effort to find my way back to F.B.I., something terrifying happened. While walking down the hill, a large and terrifying beast ran past. In my haste to reach the relative safety of my bunk, I stubbed my toes no less than three times and then nearly fell flat on my face when I forgot the F.B.I. deck was raised a few inches off the ground. At this point, I am sure Kathy, who was already waiting in the cabin, was giggling at my antics. Let’s be honest, I was a disaster. It wasn’t until I was safely tucked in my bunk, I realized the terrifying beast I ran from was not a ginormous mountain lion, or, the more fantastical theory in my head, Fluffy, the three headed dog from Harry Potter; it was in fact a deer, likely the same one that would continue to lounge in the meadow for the rest of the summer.
This story seems silly, but in many ways, it really sums up my first summer at Coppercreek. My first several days in camp, I was nervous, I was confused, and I was simply out of my element. I mean not only were we climbing up unreasonably high trees, but there were two different kinds of TAPS (Thin Air Patrol and the song we sing at the end of campfire), and people commonly sang (or in the case of Eric Barger I, screamed) songs before meals. If any experience truly showed me I was in for something new, it was my first shower at camp. Halfway through shampooing, I realized I was not alone; about eye level, directly in front of me, was a frog. I may have freaked out a little and after he fell in my shower caddy, due in large part to my failed attempt to scoot him out of the shower with my flip flop, I wondered what other creatures I would meet during the course of the summer. And, I certainly did meet many a furry creature, and several that lacked fur, in my time in The Galaxy.
During the third session, I had another run in with a water loving amphibian. While walking past the shower house, I heard the loud screeching tones of teenage girls in panic mode. When I went in to check on them, I saw that a frog in the shower was the source of the commotion. It was this moment that first made me look back on my time at camp. I simply scooped up the little guy and took him outside; no harm no foul. I think this is a visible example of the change camp can make in the lives of all the campers and staff. If we really throw ourselves into the Coppercreek experience, we are bound to be changed by the scenery, activities, and people. By the end of the summer, I was not only catching frogs, but I was singing along with everyone during dinner. I cannot wait to return for my second summer. I know, not only will I have an incredible time, camp will create a change in me that will certainly be for the better. And this summer, I will definitely remember my flashlight!
We have some really awesome ponies at Coppercreek Camp but PHINNEY won this award (again) this summer for her work ethic, willingness to adjust to her rider, and the many hours she trotted from “H” to “M” without complaint.
Phinney is the quintessential “fairy tale” pony, with her delicate face, beautiful mane and tail and, of course, her luscious, white coat. (Her tongue is pretty cute, too! See above picture.)
This little pony has taught many, many girls and boys how to ride, from their first introduction to…
… two point trotting….
…to the beginning of jumping.
She only goes as fast as her rider asks and HAPPILY walks if her rider gets distracted.
She has put a smile on many campers over the years.
Phinney is fine if her rider wears faux fur, pink tights and cowboy boots.
And, she will stand for endless braiding.
Phinney is what every riding instructor calls “gold” and wants in their lessons. Older campers will remember Phinney as a wild, energetic pony but as she has grown older and wiser, she has settled into (almost) the perfect lesson pony. She may get a little grouchy about her girth and sometimes wants to go right when her rider asks her to go left, but other than that, every camper who has been assigned Phinney ends up loving her. She is just about as perfect as a pony can be. We love her and hope she is with us for many, many more years.