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Jedi Training, Quad-Pod Building, and an Unexpected Challenge


The day was filled with many good times, much progress on our "Super Shelter," and the joyful honing of our skills at the Jedi Training Center.

After departing from our Opening Circle with the Woolly Bears, we played a fun game and were captivated by a story about Rainbow Crow bringing fire to people long ago.

Theresa took a group on a hike to one of our favorite spots upon the top of the mountain where much black birch is to be found. This was to become our tea for the day. Along the way, they laughed and challenged their bodies to carry them up the steep mountain slope in record time. They discovered a huge load of puffballs and they even found a millipede graveyard.

Meanwhile, back at camp, Will and I, along with the remainder of our cheerful survivalists, created a giant "Quad-pod" out of 4-inch diameter ironwood saplings (like a tripod but with an extra leg). This monstrosity was the foundational support of our roof to the shelter, an insulated roundhouse. After a challenging time hauling logs, tying up the Quad-pod, and transporting the completed structure to sit upon the walls of our shelter, we leaned dozens of other rafters onto our new home. The Woolly Bears also snuck up successfully on us and we welcomed them into the hut.

As our two groups reconvened, they were given a thematic challenge: to create a fire in the wake of a (fictional) pine pitch glue explosion! Many of the group had to work with eyes glued shut, mouths glued shut, or glued together at the ankles and wrists. Everyone pitched in and successfully kindled a rip-roaring fire with flint-and-steel kits.

After lunch, there was ample time to roam and explore. We strive to provide some free time in our days for the students to interact naturally with each other and the land. After free time, we all descended upon the Jedi Training Center. This is a game played upon two logs placed in an "X" shaped above the ground. A swinging ball is suspended in the middle of the log, and players are tasked with the job of staying balanced, dodging the swinging ball, and batting it back and forth with their "light sabers" (1-inch-diameter sticks, about 12–15 inches long). It's a lot harder than it sounds! To even play, one must pass the initiation (a challenge where the player must cross a log blindfolded).

Finally, we shared tea along with our “Roses and Thorns” of the day.

—Josh and the FOREST staff