February 2014: Winter Storm PAX!!

After nearly a week of daily updates, warnings, bread loaf ratings of this wintry storm it actually happened. It is not unlike the Charlotte area to talk it up big and not have anything to show for it. This storm came in on Wednesday midday, dropped 6-8 inches on Fort Mill and then stuck around on Thursday to drop another 3-4 inches. A full winter walloping! A storm like this is pretty welcome so long as it only happens once. We sledded, had snowball fights, rolled snowmen, ran in it, drove in it and shoveled it. For 2 days we were northerners. On day 3 it was melted which gives us a leg up on the north.

Fun times for all. Even more fun to drive out on icy roads on Friday morning to fly to sunny south Florida for a Valentines/Birthday celebration with Cindy. We are pretty fortunate folks.

Click here for a sled show of the fun!

 

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Great start to the 2012-2013 Season!

Pre-Parade Lineup

The Fort Mill YMCA Adventure Guides have had another great start to another great year.  Membership is up by roughly 20%, camping participation saw record highs on both of the fall camping trips, we had a blast at the Fort Mill Christmas Parade and our adopted stream in the ASC Greenway is cleaner thanks to the efforts of these great kids.  With a little luck we will find one more service project before closing out this successful first half.

In the 2nd half of this season we have 5 camping trips planned starting in early February, 3 of which are heading to new locations!  There is talk of a mid-January overnight ski trip and always room to keep to our mission of getting our kids active in service to the community.  We typically don’t do a formal registration campaign prior to the spring, but if you know of interested Dads please send them my way.  A-How-How!

Jason

 

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May 2012 – Fort Mill Adventure Guides: ASC Greenway and River Cleanup

Big weekend of cleaning up our adopted river and camping at the ASC Greenway. There’s roughly 5 less bags of trash in the river and 2 less tires thanks to the good work of the Adventure Guides. Reward: Meats and cheeses over fire with marshmallows, chocolate, gummies, etc. to follow.  Breakfast of “pancake tacos” – this is what you call pancakes without a plate.  We also had some nicely griddle-grilled bacon brought on by the “bacon dance” – something I’m truly sad that Mark VS couldn’t be there to witness.  Good times – slideshow of pictures can be found here.  Drew’s wheelbarrow was a back-saver and the Saturday afternoon pavilion picnic provided great dance music for us to unload to.  And now we await any poison ivy reactions…hopefully we got out clean and free.

We go on camping hiatus until next October but are actively seeking 2 chiefs to take over duties for Jason and Patrick respectively.  Apply within.

Dad’s meeting in the works as is a season-ending Knight’s home game (our season, not theirs) – keep your eyes out for an upcoming email requesting your presence.  Until then – thank you to each dad who helped participate and make this our 2nd successful year in Fort Mill!  I hope to see you all again in the 2012-2013 season!

  
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Camp Cherokee Longhouse – A look back

 

It is Thursday after the longhouse at Camp Cherokee and I think only today my kids are caught up on their sleep.  Aside from them getting one nights worth of sleep over two nights the trip was a wild success in my eyes.  Archery, canoeing, swimming, hiking, flashlight tagging, s’mores, frog-collecting, no hail, chess, good home-cooking, talent show watching were just some of the activities the kids enjoyed over the weekend.  There was even a history lesson about a turning point in the Revolutionary War from the good people at King’s Mountain National Military Park.  Who knew this turning point took place in our backyard?  Who knew there was a National Park in our backyard?

The meals at our campouts continue to impress me.  This trip we had multiple egg casseroles, pancakes, fresh fruit, bacon and eggs for breakfasts and three different kinds of chilis for our dinner on Saturday night.  For the first time ever we also ran out of marshmallows!  Fortunately we had enough chocolate and cookies to avoid a kid mutiny.

Next Trip – Saturday, May 19 (one-nighter):  ASC Greenway (aka “The Ditch”) here in Fort Mill.  This trip will also include a community service project where we clean-up our adopted river.

A slideshow of the trip to Camp Cherokee can be found here.

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April 20-22 Camp Cherokee Longhouse

Welcome campers!  The 2012 Fort Mill Adventure Guides Longhouse has arrived and we have a fun weekend planned at Camp Cherokee in King’s Mountain State Park.

People can arrive anytime Friday afternoon and stay through 2:30 on Sunday.  There are 2 gates that are locked at sunset:  the first gate is just beyond the turn for the Living History Farm and the second gate is the actual gate to Camp Cherokee (directions can be found below).  All after dark arrivals will need 2 codes for entry.  Gate codes have been sent via the corresponding email – please call my cell (in email) if you need access and don’t have the codes or if you have trouble with the gate lock upon arrival.

The Camp Cherokee coordinator is still trying to find available staff to man the rock wall.  If he is able to find the staff the wall will be available from 1-5pm ET.  More to come here.

All food supplies should be stored in the kitchen.  Bunks are selected on a first come, first served basis.  Some cabins are close to the mess hall/cars others are closer to the lake.  An old cloth/towel is recommended to de-dust your cabin/bunks – we will be the first to use these cabins since last summer.  Showers are also available.

Directions to Camp Cherokee can be found at this link.

Our rough schedule of events:

FRIDAY:

  • Arrival anytime after 4pm.  BYOD – Bring your own dinner.
  • Cabin/Bunk Selection – pick any cabin you like.
  • 7:30pm-ish:  S’mores.

SATURDAY

  • 7:30am-ish:  Breakfast
  • 8:30-12:30:  Free play, morning rec activities, etc.
  • 12:30pm:  Lunch (bring your own lunch)
  • 1:30pm-5:30pm:  Continued Activities/Free Play
  • 5:30pm:  Dinner Prep
  • 6:30pm:  Dinner and patch distributions
  • 7:30pm:  S’mores

SUNDAY:

  • Breakfast:  7:30am
  • Departure: by 2pm ET

Of course, as always there is lots of flex that can be built into the schedule.  Bring your own sleeping bags, pads, bikes, games, fishing poles, utensils for S’mores, cups, snacks and beverages.  Tents are optional as bunk houses are provided.  A fully outfitted kitchen is available to us as well.  The rest will be provided for you.  We do have cleanup duties prior to leaving – pretty simple, sweep the mess hall, bunk rooms, latrine areas and shower house, cleanup trash in all used areas and return kitchen to pre-arrival state.

This event will take place rain or shine.  We estimate $30-50 per family for the weekend.  Please let me know if you plan to attend and whether you will be there for Friday, Saturday or both nights.  For anyone that has seen their schedules free up for this weekend it is not too late to join us for any part of the weekend so join us!

 

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March 2012 Camping Trip: Copperhead Island

Our next camping trip is on Saturday, March 24th at Copperhead Island.  We have the entire island from Noon on Saturday the 24th until 2pm on Sunday the 25th.  Some details:

  • Directions can be found here – essentially the island is affiliated and adjacent to the McDowell Nature Preserve on Lake Wylie but directions do not route you through the Nature Preserve to get to the island.  Once at the boat launch parking you can drive onto the “island” to drop off your stuff.  The Charlotte Parks Department requested that we return cars to the main parking area after drop-off.
  • Fishing, volleyball, hiking and most other outdoor recreation is encouraged.  Fishing does require a license.We will camp rain or shine – let’s hope the current weather holds!
  • Firewood will be provided a la the Honorable Chad M – everyone owes him a big thank you in advance for the warmth and diversion his wood delivery will enable.  Thanks Chad!
  • The Potawatomi Tribe (Tribe 1) will plan, shop and cook the Saturday night dinner for all.  Sunday breakfast is being handled by the Wylie Warriors (Masek Tribe).  The remaining tribe gets cleanup detail and then we’ll swap for the next trip in April (sorry Patrick’s tribe – dinner will be low to no cleanup if that makes you feel any better).
  • The island rental cost was $190 we will add food and wood costs to this and divide by the number of dads per tribe at the event.

    Each family is responsible for their own snacks, drinks and lunches.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend – looks like we will have a strong turnout.

     

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You win some and…you win some?

So, for those of you who couldn’t make it this weekend, we shifted to Plan B (Bowling at Striker’s and Pizza at Fuel).  The event was very well attended and everyone seemed to have fun so it was a success, right?  DEFINITELY!  And the bowling skills displayed were nothing short of impressive.

I was having a slight bit of remorse around 9pm on Saturday night when looked outside and saw no rain falling.   I briefly wondered whether we had been too hasty.  Maybe stolen a camping opportunity from our kids.  Then I woke up the next morning to see perfectly soaked trees, grass, streets and a steady AND very cold rain falling and felt we made the best decision ever.  Way to be Adventure Guiders.  Way to be.

Although I cherish adventure with my kids, I also cherish health and wellness.  Most of all, I want the kids to WANT to go camping, not to endure it just to say they did.  Lastly, I learned that Plan Bs are good (after 2 tubing trips gone bad feel free to refer to this as slow learning) and I thank all of you and your kids for the flexibility.

Our next outing is March 24th at Copperhead Island, a part of McDowell Nature Preserve near Lake Wylie and the Buster Boyd Bridge.  We have the entire island from noon Saturday through 2pm on Sunday.  Meetings to be schedule for the week prior.  Start thinking of good weather thoughts now.

All 3 pictures of the event can be seen by clicking here (we really should take more pictures).

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February 2012 Camping Trip – Westminster Park on 2/18

After a date change due to park availability and all the snow tubing attempts and cancellations I am ready to get back into the rhythm of camping.  Our first of four trips this spring is scheduled for this Saturday night at Westminster Park in Rock Hill.  This park is an incredible spot, right on the Catawba River just downriver from Camp Canaan. Westminster offers tons of hiking, sports fields, fishing (w/ permit) and a huge campfire pit (just ask Mark VS how big this pit is…).

 

The plan is to show up mid-afternoon and hang out until we feel like leaving on Sunday.  In a utopic world we’d have 60 degrees and sunny in the forecast.  Not so much this Saturday though.  It looks like low 50s and the potential for rain.  With this in mind we will plan to hold a cookout at the pavilion for sure and if the weather holds/clears camping is on.  If the weather stays true we may opt for the warmer drier environs of a bowling alley, movie theatre or other indoor activity as a backup.  Rain alone might be do-able, but rain and cold…not so much fun.

Directions here – see you Saturday!

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2011 Fort Mill Holiday Parade

Thanks to all of the dads and kids who made for a great turnout last Saturday at the 2011 Fort Mill Holiday Parade! Special thanks to Philip for use of his truck and trailer to get us from the start to finish. Check back after the holidays for details on the Snow Tubing event targeted for Saturday, January 7th. Until then – Enjoy the pics and Happy Holidays to all!

Click here to see the slideshow

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Camp Canaan – A Success!

 

Camp Canaan for 2 nights and it did not disappoint!  The place received a resounding thumbs up from those who camped as a spot to keep in the rotation.  We had great fires, solid attendance and some great weather as well!  Add several hikes, soccer, capture the flag, some great camping food, chess and the “Yurt of Terror” to it and you get good memories and some worn out kids and dads.

Aside from a slight table melting incident at Saturday morning’s breakfast, the food prep and cookware seems to be improving with each trip.  Only change for our next trip would be to assign meals to tribes which may help get us away from the hamburger/hot dog dinners (at least for the dads).  The Potawatomi Tribe has volunteered to take dinner at the next camping trip.

For tracking purposes we had 20 people camp on Friday night and 50 on Saturday night with 22 dads across both nights.  Food costs per tribe ranged from $12 to $20, 2 scoops of firewood was the perfect amount for 2 nights and the campsite cost was $18 per dad.

The next camping trip you ask?  In all likelihood it will be to Westminister Park in Rock Hill in February which is adjacent to Camp Canaan and also on the Catawba River.

The next event you ask?  The Fort Mill Holiday Parade preceded by a late November (post Turkey Day) meeting to prep for the parade.  Still looking for a trailer for the parade – if anyone has one we can use or knows of one we can borrow please let me know.

Click here to see a slideshow of the camping trip.

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