Thursday, July 26, 2012

Younger Writing Group by Ann Webb (Tutor)

A person might wonder why we don't do much actual pen-to-paper writing in the Younger Writing Group. The oral language activities practice the organization and decision making which are integral parts of writing--or even conversing. Throughout the summer we are building toward writing a letter, which the children are doing now, as a present to their tutors. Letter writing is a perfect opportunity for creating a short paragraph with a purpose, although it is becoming a lost art. Written expression is the highest neurological function our brains do because it draws from so many parts of the brain. Written expression needs to be done gradually to allow children to learn the parts of speech and the parts of a sentence. I am always gratified to hear our students using the "language about language" as they edit their work on their own or with me. Written expression is one of the fine arts for a reason: it takes planning, it takes revision, and it brings to light feelings and ideas that are important.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Art pictures with Katy Hoskins

Here's a link to art pictures last week with Katy Hoskins. Enjoy!

Final week of DMC

  Hi Parents and Friends of DMC,   We are busy with our last week of camp.  Along with our normal academics and outdoor pursuits, testing starts on Wednesday, we have our Talent Show on Thursday evening, the Luau on Friday afternoon, and Closing Ceremonies on Saturday!   Before moving forward, last weekend was fantastic.  To coordinate with our “Extreme” theme, we had a group of campers camp ou on Saturday then hike to the summit of 14,000 ft. Handies Peak on Sunday – the biking group camped out high in the mountains then rode @ 20 miles along the Colorado Trail back down towards Durango on Sat/Sun – and the other campers enjoyed a Zip Line and Lake Adventure.  Although the campers got blasted by Saturday night thunderstorms, everyone had a great time.  I’ll make sure that we get some blogs and photos posted on the website for you.   Here are some scheduling items:   All parents are invited to the Talent Show on Thursday night at @ 7 PM.  Sometimes the talents are good, often goofy, and sometimes weird – but this is always a fun night.   After wrapping up academics on Friday morning, the campers will join at Zane and MJ’s house for our annual Luau.  This is a special time for the campers and staff to say “aloha” and enjoy each other’s company, so parents are not invited  However, if any parents are in the area, just let us know and you are welcome to join us for other lunches or dinners on campus.   Saturday is the last day of camp.  Campus will open to parents at 9 AM so that you can collect your camper’s belongings.  Brunch will be served at 10, then Closing Ceremonies will be from @ 11-1.  If you will be here on Saturday, but need to leave prior to the end of Closing Ceremonies, let us know so that we can schedule your camper’s recognition earlier.   You will probably have time to briefly speak with Counselors and Tutors after the closing ceremonies.  We will prepare academic, cabin, and outdoor pursuits reports that will be emailed to you a week after camp is over.  These reports will give you details on how the summer went for your camper, test score results, and recommendations for future academics.   If you haven’t done so already, let us know if you need bikes or luggage shipped, your camper taken to the airport, etc.   We’ve had a wonderful summer and I’m sure your anxious to see your camper in just a few days!     Zane Bilgrav Durango Mountain Camp 970-749-5640 (cell)  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Xtreme 14er Weekend by Pete Kornoff

Saturday morning, we (myself, Rachael (girls' counselor),Spencer, Zane J, Grant R, Connor R, Alex L, and Steven B) packed up camping/hiking gear and headed up the mountains through Silverton, the old ghost town of Animas Forks. We had mostly sunshine. Once we drove over Treeline, the weather rolled in, and the lightening started. Fortunately, we were able to pull the suburbans over in a low spot with no chance of getting washed off the road, where we sat back and watched about 300 lightening strikes all around us in the high country (around 12,000 feet) just below Cinnamon Pass. The storm dropped about 2 inches of hail mixed with snow, and after a little over an hour we were able to continue.
We ended up setting our tents up on the snow and enjoyed a brisk, Alpine night. The next morning we woke up at 6, made some breakfast, and started our climb before 8am. It was a beautiful day to climb. Everybody summited the 14,048 foot Handies Peak. We enjoyed eating our lunch at the top and headed back with lots of stories to tell and an experience everyone enjoyed!

Favorites about DMC by Andrew Costigan's Students

Three of Andrew's tutoring students produced the following paragraphs Friday morning. Each paragraph is a reflection on one particular aspect of camp which excites and/or interests them. Enjoy reading!

The drumming in art is really fun. First, you get to use your body. It really feels good to stretch out and play what you want to. Second, the teacher is very creative. He can make up a fantastic drum rhythm. Also, he lets the campers make up their own beats. Third, it is helpful being by the river. The river is helpful because it clears your mind and lets you think. All in all, drumming is really exciting, and I can’t wait to do it today.
-Chris A.

Lunch is a good time at DMC. There is a lot of good food. I like the BLTs because they are made of bacon and toast. During lunch there are announcements. People get buddy beads, and Pete tells the campers where they need to go during outdoor activities. After lunch, if you are an overnight camper, you can go and rest. If you are a day camper, you have to read. Overall, I like to go to the lunchroom.
-Will L.

Today after lunch I am going SCUBA diving with the other SCUBA divers. The people getting their first level of certification are going down to 30 feet. The people getting their open water certification are going down to 60 feet. While everyone is diving, they will have to take off their mask, breathe without the mask with the only the regulator for thirty seconds, and put the mask back on. Finally, each diver will have to swim thirty feet up to the surface on only one breath. Overall, today’s adventure SCUBA diving will be fun but cold.
-Connor R.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rafting by Bobby Haynes (Counselor)

I have been leading the CAT group and Riverunners afternoon groups these past few weeks.
In the CAT group, we recently did a little river surfing, hiked to potato lake, and went caving. For the Riverrunners group, we've been on paddle boats and have now switched to duckies and hope to switch to hard shells by the end of this week. We've also done a little paddle boarding, which everyone has enjoyed.
 In these groups, Max and Hunter are very experienced, so they've been powering through the rapids with ease and skill. Spencer told me he was really enjoying the mini ducky. Mary and Taylor did an excellent job of guiding the raft down the river, and Grant Reavis' skills at navigating the river have really improved from the second week.
Leading these groups has been a great experience. I've had a very mature group of campers this year rafting!

Afternoon Horse Group by Allie Archer

This weekend our regular horse group is doing an extreme trail ride for a whole day! We'll be camping out with the horses the night before. The horses have been preparing for this by going on trail rides around the Bilgravs' property, jumping over fallen logs, and crossing water. Today CATS (day campers) are coming out to help keep the horses fresh by taking them on a short trail ride and helping give the horses baths to cool them off before the long trail ride this weekend. Yesterday was a jumpoff  where the boys kept raising the bar to see if my horse could jump over it at various heights, and we did jump over the 5th or 6th level of raising the bar (the height of a barrel). This is my first year leading horses by myself, so it's a learning curve for me. It's a lot of fun!

Tutoring Gus and Elle with Juliet Zick

While practicing alphabet chips with Gus, he was having a very difficult time staying interested. He started pronouncing a few letters as if we was a dying animal or something. So, I had him start pronouncing all of the letters with this dramatic dislike, and we started calling them "Dying alpha-chips" to add some humor to the situation. It worked! He had a little more fun with it :)

Today I learned that Elle very much dislikes Word Searches because they are  hard for her. She is very used to memorizing things, and now she's learning some things are more difficult and can't be memorized. I really encouraged her in starting to learn to persevere...a great vocabulary word to challenge her as well (she enjoys vocabulary words). I also was able to teach her to type the "y" sound (the reading rules for the sound) on the computer, and this was very motivating to her!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Academic Olympics-round 1-MJ Bilgrav

Academic Olympics round 1 was really great this year! It is so moving to see kids who struggle academically get so excited and involved in this competition. They dress the part according to their cabin themes. They encouraged and supported each other in coming up with answers to the various questions. The KANE Imua won the first round, and the second round will be on Monday, July 23. Stay tuned for more results!

Students' Thoughts on DMC by Andrew Costigan (Tutor)

The following are quickly composed paragraphs by each of my tutoring students. They each discuss something the camper enjoyed at DMC. 

The boat race was a lot of fun. One fun part of the event was the launching of the water balloons. Our boat was not hit because they ran out of water balloons by the time we went into the water. Also, it was fun making the boats. We got to use our creative minds and art skills. Overall, the race was the most fun event in DMC history.
 -Chris A.
I love kayaking this summer. It is fun. I can go through the calm water and rapids. Sometimes we get to try different boats such as a hard shell kayak, paddle board, or ducky. Kayaking also works my arms. I have to paddle through rapids and sometimes upstream. Also, I get to surf. This happens at a rapid. The group gets to ride down a rapid on a ducky and repeat it over and over again. All in all, kayaking is a fun outdoor pursuit.
-Will L.
Scuba diving is fun, but you have to be careful. It is fun because you see more animals and living things in the ocean then you see in ten hours in the forest. That is a fact. Being able to see all those things is fantastic. Also, going down farther than ever before is also amazing. A scuba diver also needs to be safe. For example, it is important to equalize every two feet. If you don’t do this you might hurt your ears. All in all, scuba diving is a fun sport and one that I would like to do more often.  
 -Connor R.
In the past week at Durango Mountain Camp I have gone rock climbing. I have gone to the Fume Wall. It is located right near camp. It is made limestone and sandstone, and it is rated as 5.7. Soon we will be going repelling. Repelling is descending down wall or into a ravine or crevice with ropes and a harness. We are going to Cascade Creek to do this. Climbing is very safe when done right and with the correct equipment. Also, we have good instructors. In conclusion, rock climbing is one of my favorite things to do.
 -Grant R.

Haviland Boat Races-Pete Kornoff

The clouds cleared just in time. The lake was a smooth as glass. It was a less-than-typical start to the boat race but a good one. The competitors patched up their boats from the 45 mph drive from the camp and took their jockey positions at the starting line for the race! The vessels for this competition were well built this year, and they did not fail to impress on the water!

Our winners for fastest around the buoy with three minutes, one second were the Earthquakes: Danny, Alex, Malcolm.

The longest afloat boat with over 23 minutes were team JMX: Jake, Max, and Joe.

The most creative boat winners were Puff: Sam, Jesse, and Adaley.

Team KA won most collaborative group with Taylor, Mitchell Chalker, and Katya.

Pics soon to follow tonight or tomorrow!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Skipping Kane imua

Tutoring with Jess

This is an exciting week in tutoring! Hunter is decoding and encoding words more fluently. Steven has increased his accuracy and fluency in reading. He is now reading the Hunger Games with minimal support. Adaley is reading closed and opened one syllable words with ease. She is starting to decode and encode " Rabbit" words with accuracy. It has been a great week so far!       Jess

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tutoring with Gus by Juliet Zick

Gus learned when to floss. Although that would make mom proud that's NOT that kind of floss we're talk'n about.

We're referring to The spelling floss rule. Gus learned that in a one syllable word with one short vowel ending in f, l, or s you double the f, l, or s as in the word cliff.

Example: The horse climbed the grass hill and almost fell off the cliff.

It's quite a thrill to see that Gus's teeth are not a mess. They still shine like glass or polished brass.

Still having fun in tutoring at DMC with Juliet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday evening update

Hi Parents and Friend of DMC,   I hope that you have had several chances to check out DMC’s blog, photos, and have had a chance to talk to your youngster.   This past week has continued to go exceedingly well at DMC.  All the staff are enjoying the campers since, as a group, they have a great attitude.  For example – during our first “Mountain Madness” (mountain madness are activities where the staff things up oddball activities for the youngsters – which can get pretty creative), groups of campers would launch water balloons high in the sky which would then plummet to groups of campers making targets with their bodies.  Points were awarded for balloons that would hit the “targets”.  In the past, we have found that some campers take on a “bored” attitude and that “trivial” pursuits are not worthy of their interest.  However, all of our campers get excited and are fully engaged in “Mountain Madness” and all of our activities.  We appreciate and foster this attitude of “let’s do it!”.  The camp has good energy and the campers are embracing all aspects of the program.   On the first weekend of camp, we drove over three 10,000 foot mountain passes along one of the most spectacular drives in the country to the small mining town of Ouray.  While there, we enjoyed the natural hot springs, had lunch along a rushing brook in a high alpine valley, and the kids were able to explore Ouray and enjoy dinner out with their peers.    This past week, the campers are well settled into their routines and I hear from the academic staff that solid progress is being made.  Each week, the campers switch their Outdoor Pursuits, so this past week, we had campers involved with River Runners, Horses, Mountain Biking, Scuba Diving, and Climbing.    Fortunately, and unfortunately, the weather has changed.  The hot dry pattern of this past 2 months has given way to our “monsoon” pattern where moist air gets sucked up to Colorado from the Sea of Cortez.  As this moist air collides with our high mountain peaks, the clouds gather, darken, then coalesce into exciting afternoon thunder storms. This cools the temperatures and gives much needed moisture to our area.  But, it makes our outdoor pursuits challenging.  This past weekend, we camped out in the National Forest and went boating at Vallecito Lake.  It rained and stormed part of each day, but the kids didn’t seem to mind much as they kept on enjoying all of the activities and experiences.   I’m in Hawaii this week teaching a scuba instructor program, and will be back a week from Wednesday.    Your children enjoy your emails, mails, calls, and packages – so keep those coming.   It’s a great summer!   Zane Bilgrav  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend Camping Trip by MJ Bilgrav

Hi everyone,
As you can see from the pictures and Pete's post, we had a BIT of inclement weather this weekend for our camping trip and day on the lake. I was impressed with how resilient the kids were in handling the cold and wet conditions. We went to Vallecito for boating Saturday and EVERY camper participated in tubing even though the water was super cold.
The favorite activity at the campsite turned out to be a fun game called Catch Phrase. This is a game where you hold a small device and have to describe the word that appears on the screen without saying the actual word or parts of it. It's a great game for kids to practice word retrieval. It might be even be a great Christmas or birthday present for your child, if you don't have one already.
After a busy weekend,  this morning's late start was VERY welcomed by all!

Saturday at Lake Vallecito by Pete Kornoff

Saturday we woke up to rain, but we decided to go to Lake Vallecito anyway. When we arrived, the lake was dark and cloudy, but the rain hadn't come yet. I thought the kids wouldn't want to swim on a cold day, but their enthusiasm couldn't be contained! Everytime we stopped the boat, we had swimmers in the water. Towards the second half of the day, we would aim the boat towards sunny parts of the lake to try to stay warmer. Campers scrambled to get a ride on tubes all day long , while others enjoyed chillin' on the pontune boat. It was a cold yet enjoyable day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Week Two

Week two of Durango Mountain Camp has been incredible. In outdoor pursuits, scuba training started and the kids learned various techniques like buddy breathing, how to flood their mask, and diving methods. Connor is in his second year of scuba training and is working on his open water certification. He says about the training, “It’s been difficult, we’ve only had one easy day and it keeps getting harder, but I will keep going so I can get that certification”.

Also during outdoor pursuits, the kids have continued to both ride horses and mountain climb. Grant rode last year, but this summer he is working towards a trail ride around Haviland Lake. This year he is riding Flag and says, “Horse back riding is great, we play games like capture the flag.”

Unfortunately, because of the fire-works ban in Silverton the students did not get to see the spectacle, but they did fill their Fourth-of-July night with games, like egg toss, balloon battle, and a water balloon launch. They ate burgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, and topped it all off with apple pie and ice cream.

Academics are in full swing.  Camper Max M. writes, “In tutoring we play games and learn many interesting things. In study hall we do the work that our tutor gives us. If we get stuck, then there are adults that help us if we have questions. After study hall we have snack and free time to play Ping-Pong, pool, and foosball . After break, we go to writing. We are currently working on peer-editing essays and just started a creative story. The writing teacher Andrew is a phenomenal teacher. He likes to be funny and makes writing fun. Art is awesome as well; we made papier-mâché and created ping pong ball sculptures.”

This weekend students are going camping and to the lake for some boating and tubing.

Creative Story (using spelling words) by Jake Magruder

Special patients get to go in front of others. So those patients have to have patience, but not everyone has the financial stability to pay. Therefore, in Presidential elections people promise to give free medical care to everyone, but people only hear it from commercial stations. So every residential person has the potential to get artificial health care. A portion of the partial health care is not artificial. The hospitals that do not help are provincial to a resort town.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

DMC Update-Tuesday

Hi Day Campers and Parents,

Here’s a quick update on the upcoming events at DMC.

Tomorrow is July 4 and our camp day will run as normal with academics in the morning and outdoor pursuits in the afternoon. We will be giving out camp t-shirts tomorrow and will take our entire camp photo tomorrow after breakfast.

Please keep in mind that the day campers involved with afternoon outdoor pursuits should have the clothing, etc. that they may need for the afternoons. It’s best to have a bathing suit, rain jacket, water bottle, change of clothes, and some closed toed shoes in their daypacks or their cubby hole. For example if a camper will be involved with the horses they can’t wear slippers or sandals, as they could be quite injured if a horse stepped on their foot.

We have a busy weekend planned. On Friday at 6 PM, we’ll take the entire camp to Chris Park, just below Haviland Lake, to camp for Friday and Saturday nights. On Saturday, we’ll leave Haviland at @ 9:15 AM and drive to Vallecito for a boating day. We’ll rent a few pontoon boats and have some speed boats available for tubing. All of the day campers are invited to spend one or both nights with us at Haviland, or to go boating with us on Saturday. As always, the day campers need to be supervised by a parent or other designated adult. I’ll have Stephanie put up an interest list on the bulletin board, so let us know if you are coming.

I’ll be leaving for Hawaii tomorrow morning to teach a 2 week scuba instructor class, and will be back on July 18. It’s best to check in with MJ or Peter if you have any specific questions.

All goes well at camp!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mocking Jay Update

Hello everyone! The end of the first full week of camp is here - The Mocking Jays wanted to give a quick update of our fun weekend before we head to bed for some much needed rest. Our biggest news for the weekend happened today when our barrel racing Mocking Jay Taylor won 4th place, beating out the 40 other youth competitors at todays NBHA (National Barrel Horse Association) Show!! The other members of the Mocking Jay cabin spent a full day jumping off cliffs at Bakers Bridge, trying the Durango famous Serious Texas Taco, window shopping downtown, wishing Taylor luck at the rodeo, before finishing up at the movie theatre watching Brave. Our cabin headed back to camp just in time to help celebrate my 24th birthday with some delicious cake and a surprise appearance by my family!

Earlier this weekend we spent a relaxing day at the Ouray hot springs where us girls defended our honor by participating in a girls vs boys water basketball game and some swim races against the other campers and counselors. After the hot springs the girls feasted on some burgers at Maggie's Kitchen and ended the night searching for fossils while watching the sunset at Molas Pass. Our youngest camper, Steffi would like to add some of her takes on the weekend:

"I got a cool hat in the Alligator Emporium in Ouray and a dog bandana for my dog Lilly and some stickers."

COMING THIS WEEK - - Taylor turns 15 on Thursday! It also sounds like some fun activities are planned to celebrate this fourth of July which may include eggs, watermelon seeds, shaving cream, and lots and lots of water balloons :)

All the Mocking Jays will also be starting out with new outdoor pursuits this week. I know I will definitely miss them out at the horse arena!

Have a great week - Go Mocking Jays!


Trip to Ouray by Emmy Bright (Art Instructor)

On Sunday, the whole camp set out for a days worth of adventure along the San Juan Mountains as we headed for Ouray. In the morning, we piled into vans and suburbans, got out our IPods for DJ’ing, and headed North on route 550. The sun shown through puffy white clouds and blue skies, and we wound our way along precarious-seeming roads which skimmed the edge of Colebank pass and Molas Pass. Singing at the top of our lungs to Beyonce (at least the Mocking Jays were!) and perfecting our seat-belted dance moves, we rolled into Silverton around lunch time. After a wander around at the Silverton Historical Museum, we were off again to find our picnic spot overlooking Mineral Creek. Youngsters climbed up and down the bluffs, dragged logs to and fro, and practiced the age old camp sport of stone-tossing. Zane found a beautiful garter snake [insert picture of Garter Snake from Christine - she has it!] which we all admired. After lunch and lemon bars, we were back in the vans!

The next leg of the journey took us through the Red Mountain Pass along the Million Dollar Highway. At elevations of 10,000-11,000 feet, this 2 lane highway was full of spectacular views of the Rockies as we hugged the edge of hairpin turns, waved to each other on the switchbacks, and wound around the mountain sides. Taylor spotted a far-off waterfall, storms rose in the distance, and red rocks and scree fields loomed above us while thin pines and aspens held on to steep slopes. Rachel shared the story that “they out of guard-rail” at Silverton, leaving the most treacherous part of our journey with no shoulder, and little room for error. Big thanks to our attentive drivers!

The final descent of our trip brought us down into Ouray , a tiny town nestled in the valley enclosed by steep mountains. We stopped at the lowest point and tumbled out of the van and into the hot springs The outdoor pools of fresh water and varying warmth were delightful, and we raced each other in the lap lanes, took over the water basketball court, and lazily floated in the hottest pool. Others took over the nearby skate park and jungle gym. Our fingers and toes were pruney when we emerged from the water and headed into town for dinner and bartering games with the locals. The DMC crew returned with with hats, T-Shirts, a T-Bone steak and even the keys to a Dodge Ram. Following dinner, we scurried up one last dusty climb to visit the Ouray Waterfall, practice more stone tossing and get misted by the water before heading back towards home.

Heading back up the mountain pass, the sun was setting, casting the valleys in shadow and illuminating the peaks in a gorgeous “Alpine Glow.” ;. The Red Mountain Pass showed it’s colors, and old mining tracks poked out from the mountain sides, half in shambles, reminding us of the prospectors in the late 1800’s.

A half moon illuminated our journey as drivers brought us safely home through the dark. We tumbled out of our vans at camp, more than ready to turn in for a good long night’s sleep after our wonderful day.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Campers Thoughts on Week 1 of Camp

The first week at DMC was very exiting. I have had some changes in my outdoor activities. First, we were going to go rafting down the river, but then we did a scavenger hunt. I did not mind that we did a scavenger hunt instead because it was still fun. The food here is great. The tater tots are always good. I love the cook here because she makes gluten free stuff for my brother and I. Art has been really fun. We have made many different things and played games this week. Overall, this was a good week at DMC, and I can't wait for next week.
-Chris Atchison

I thought the first week of DMC would be fun. I was right. I went kayaking, I got to ride my bike, and I met new friends. The food has been good. My favorite meal was pancakes that we had this morning. Also, during lunch I liked hot dogs. My cabin has been fine. Bobby said that during one of the next two weeks, we can go to Walmart, and I can get some Skylander cards. During night time activities I play soccer, dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee. My favorite is dodgeball. During nightly reading, I like to read. I have read six books and a few of those books I read really quickly. Overall, I really like going to camp because it is the funnest place I have ever been.
-Will Linzie

DMC is a lot of fun in the summer time. DMC has been really helpful for my reading. Last year I advanced in my reading by a great deal. The outdoor activities at DMC are amazing. You can go rock climbing, rafting, horseback riding, learn outdoor survival skills, get certified in S.C.U.B.A., and mountain bike. Last summer, my favorite outdoor activity was climbing a 14,000 mountain, which is called Red Cloud. I hope to do that again this summer. Also, this summer I am looking forward to going down sixty feet under water. I would definitely recommend DMC to other kids.
-Connor Rabbit

Hey Boo Boo, how 'bout a picnic basket??

While the campers were away, a young bear crept through the window of Joyce Bilgrave’s house, helped himself to everything in the fridge, watched a bit of TV, then exited the window – satiated and entertained.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Week 1

Week one of Durango Mountain Camp was filled with activity. The oldest cabin, the Surf Shack, split up into two outdoor pursuits. Half went mountain climbing and climbed X Rock, but that was only the build up for the Golden repel which they completed on Friday. The other half went mountain biking and trekked Purgatory Mountain. It was awesome, even with all the endos. The girls cabin, The Mocking Jays, spent the week horseback riding and jumping hurdles. Overall, it was a challenging, but fun first week of outdoor pursuits.

Academics were challenging as well. The reading tutors have been pushing their students. Mitchell C, one of the oldest campers commented that the first week was tough, “but it will really me in the end”. Logan T loves art class because there are so many different projects, like lantern making and sculpture design, they have been able to work on and that keeps it fresh. Jake M. says that writing class is his favorite period because, “It is super-awesome. I get to make fictional money that I can spend in tutoring class with tutor Pam. This helps keep me motivated.”

This weekend the camp will go to Ouray, which Mary S. claims is the greatest town ever because of the hot springs and because everyone there is so kind.

“Week one has been amazing”

- DMC Writing Class 2012

Mocking Jay cabin (aka Girl's Cabin)

Hello from DMC!  As leader of the Mocking jay cabin (aka Girl's Cabin) we are having a lot of fun so far this summer.  Writing this blog, I am currently sitting in our Hunger Games decorated cabin listening to music and making friendship bracelets.  We also like to make bows and arrows and often dance (a lot!!) before we get ready for bed in the evenings.  Steffi has been in charge of making the bows and arrows that we will be using when we try to win the Academic Olympics this year, something the girl's cabin has not done since I've been counselor (at least a year...)
So far this week, the Mocking jays have stayed a tight-knit group by all participating in the Horse's outdoor pursuit.  I have been very lucky to have found a fellow horse-lover among the campers.  Taylor is the only first time camper in our group, but we have welcomed her with loving arms and appreciate her horse knowledge during the afternoons.  She will also be leading the mocking jays into battle at a horse show this weekend where she will compete on Flag in the barrels.  We all plan on being there to support her!  
In other news in the horse arena, Katya has shown her true hunger games spirit and courage by being the first camper to ride Spirit, a 'spirited' mustang pony that is also new at the camp.  While this pony may be beautiful, it is definitely stubborn, as Mary would say, "he is being a butt."   But Katya would not give up, and soon her and Spirit were successfully completing all the jumps in the arena!
Steffi, while being scared of the horses last year, came out with lots of confidence this year and has even helped in instructing the other girls alongside me.  One of our favorite games to play while we warm up is "Steffi says..." (Simon says)  her best game move was to have everyone sing the National Anthem, which only I could successfully do to win the game! Steffi also has formed a close bond with my horse Ben, a very large, loving giant who Steffi has taught a trick too and also rides to cool him down. 
I was really excited to see Mary back this year - but hardly recognized her as she has grown 5 inches.  Mary also has improved greatly in the riding arena.  Although her favorite horse, Sherman, was attacked by the other horses while trying to fight for Boo's love (the only girl horse amidst seven boys...) she has been very good about trying other horses and is especially bonding with Stoney.  Mary and Stoney tear around the arena, winning Steffi's game, and also completing all the jump courses and leading trail rides. 
Since there are only a few girls at camp this year (just us five!) we have to stand up for ourselves and hold our own at evening activities, such as soccer.  While Mary and Taylor seem to find talking on the field more important than scoring, they do a good job of distracting each other and others from the ball.  Katya is a real player out there, and is always up for competing with the boys.  Steffi is our best cheerleader and always gives it her all as well, despite being one of the smaller, but mightier, campers on the field.  
Here is some notes directly form the Mocking jays' mouths....
I'm having a great time with all the new friends I'm making and with the new adventures I'm going on.  I'm excited to do a show this coming up Saturday with Flag but I do miss my old horse.  I think about her all the time.  I wish that I was still at home at times, but I'm getting over that as days go on. 
I've been able to get over my fear of horses it has been a very challenging but neigh (horse sound) breaking experience riding Allie's horse Benny Boo which is the best horse I have ever been on and met, cheers Ben. Go Mocking Jays!
I'm so excited to go to Ouray, basically my hometown. 
Doing activities are fun. I can't wait until the weekend I know we will have a lot of fun and parties! I know this is just the beginning but there will be more to come. I'm getting to know everybody in my cabin, everybody each has a different interesting personality which I'm still trying to figure out but we're getting along great. 
That's all the Mocking Jays have to say for now, it is WAY past our bedtime and we want to be well rested for all the fun camp adventures to come! 


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

DMC 2012

Hi Parents and Friends of DMC

It’s 5:56 on Tuesday and I’m scrambling to get an email off to all of you prior to our 6 PM dinner.
The campers are all back from their various outdoor pursuits which today consisted of Horses, Mountain Biking, Climbing, River Surfing, and Rafting. Some of the campers are now in their cabins cleaning up and getting ready for dinner, others are outside playing on the court or socializing, and the rest are in the red room playing games.The first few days have gone exceedingly well. We have a good group of return campers, and except for 2 new additions, our whole staff has returned. Overall the campers seem enthusiastic and engaged. Oops, the bell is ringing and the kids are flowing in for dinner. OK – Dinner is now over.

Here are a few items for you to know:

Communications – The girl cabin is now called the Mocking Jays and their calling night is on Monday, the Vikings are the youngest boys and they call on Tuesdays. The older boys, the Kane Imuas (which is Hawaiian for men that never give up), call on Wednesdays. Calling time is 5-6 PM. All of the campers are allowed to use the camp computers for emailing and social media such as Facebook, daily between 5-6, so hopefully you can have adequate communication with your youngster.

We distribute mail and printed emails at “Mail Call Wall” just after dinner, so keep the mail coming, or you can email you camper via, or, we will print the email out and distribute.

Christine or Stephanie will be in the camp office daily from 89:00-12:30, so that is a good time to call if you need to talk to somebody. We will return calls in the afternoon if we can’t talk to you directly. The camp phone number is 970-385-4449.

Mail can be sent to Durango Mountain Camp 454 Academy Drive, Durango, CO 81301

Starting tomorrow we’ll be posting blogs and photos on our website at

I know that there has been some national news coverage of the fire “near Durango”. This fire is actually centered near Mancos, which is about 35 miles from camp. We had some smoke clouds in the area on Saturday – Sunday, and a little bit on Monday, but the past two days have been clear.The weather has been unusually hot and dry, but today was a bit cooler with more cloud cover, so hopefully that trend will continue.
We are expecting great progress this summer! Time to go play dodge ball down by the river.

Zane Bilgrav
Durango Mountain Camp