Mitered Crosses for my mighty brother
Unexpected bequest

Medomak bucket list

What I did last week at family camp (in no particular order):

  • hit the bullseye
  • built a bat box
  • biked an island
  • rode a ferry
  • roasted a marshmallow
  • rowed a scull
  • milked a cow
  • paddled a canoe
  • sang Happy Birthday
  • read a book
  • tie-dyed a T
  • tasted local cheese
  • swung my partner
  • improved my backhand
  • spied Saturn
  • cheered a meteor
  • viewed moon craters
  • wrote my journal
  • played kickball
  • stamped polymer clay
  • walked a labyrinth
  • kayaked onto a bog
  • sampled blueberry gin
  • ate a lobster
  • competed in the SCAG tournament
  • hung around the campfire . . .

I found Medomak in early 2012, looking for something special we could share as a family in celebration of my brother's 50th birthday. (Via Twitter, when the camp director jumped in to respond to a query I'd made of a travel writer!) A weeklong getaway in woodsy Maine sounded better to me than a sweaty backyard surprise party. I wouldn't know who should attend, and way too many mosquitoes would've shown up uninvited. Fortunately, Charles agreed that the camp looked good, and delighted in the Astronomy Week option during which his birthday fell. We went, we savored, we wanted to return.


The clouds that crept in each night last summer put a damper on the stargazing, so we decided to try Astronomy Week again for our second Medomak summer. To our pleasure, five other families made the same call, so half of camp already knew the ropes and each other. Four counselors came back as well, one promoted to a leadership role (Hi, Jackie!). And the weather was on our side, with amazing views of the Perseids, Saturn, and a brand new nova (whatever that is). Brotherman was blissful, setting up his special camera lenses and talking shop with the telescope team. Me, I like my sleep. 

Last year my girls hung mostly with each other, but this summer they seemed to enjoy their buddies quite a bit, while also playing together. Medomak breaks the kids into groups for the three morning activity blocks, dividing where the numbers work. Little B's Rising Suns were all eight or nine, while [not-so-] Wee C's Thunderheads ranged 10-14; we adults are the High Clouds – and our activities are optional. (I'm not sure if they change the names depending on the week, as these are rather astronomical.) Some of the activities were the same as last summer, and some were new; I think plans depend on the counselors' specialties, new discoveries, and the weather: We had woodworking because that's Chelsea's medium. We went to the labyrinth because a meditation retreat had found it. Whitecaps on the lake Wednesday night scrapped our sunset "cruise," lest we all paddle out and need an assist getting back to shore.  


Wee C returned from the Thunderheads' Thursday night camp-out at North Star Lodge (view below), an open shelter by the lake, and declared that she wants another Medomak summer in 2014. Little B chimed her agreement. I wouldn't mind at all, but if we go I think we might brave the drive, both for the savings and to avoid the damn Boston airport. Whether Brotherman would assent to that much car time I can't say. Maybe with headphones! First we will see where all the dates fall, for camp weeks in Virginia and in Maine. Next summer is far, far away . . .


Meanwhile, we share our photos with our new summer friends, and wonder what lives they've returned to, because family camp is pretty much a first-name-basis kind of place where no one asks you what you do when you're at home. We've come as moms or dads (and one uncle), not as potentially networking professionals. Of course, we may also friend them on Facebook, which reveals a bit of info! This year there were two two-mom families, which was awesome in and of itself, and also as a teaching opportunity for my girls, as our close gay friends are childless. And while I might have hesitated to take the girls on my own the first year, now I see that I'd be perfectly comfortable attending as the solo parent I am. Camp is also a place where someone else does all the (super-delicious) cooking, and the campfire building. I may have learned from Peter how to start a fire, but I was not ready to try!