The bell rings out across the morning fog: it’s time to wake up at Camp Glen Brook. In the A-Frame, James and the Eagle Boys stir from a sound sleep. Henry, their counselor, sings, “Top of the mornin’ boys!” In that wonderful margin between dreams and consciousness, James has time to register that it is Friday. After a full week of Summer Camp, the schedule begins to become comfortable for him, and before he can even sit up in his bunk, James cracks a smile at the thought of what’s next: Breakfast!

Fresh Glen Brook scrambled eggs still warm James’s tummy as he gets ready for morning chores. Although he wouldn’t say he looks forward it, chore time has morphed into a kind of satisfaction for James. Listening to Henry sing clean-up songs in silly melodies as everybody works together makes cleaning its own kind of fun. And for the first time in his life, James has to admit he likes the feeling of a space with made beds, folded clothes, and swept floors.

In Art class, James is working on his dream catcher. Adorned with feathers, sticks and leaves found around Glen Brook, James is proud of his handiwork. Not a practiced artist, he is inspired by the creativity of his fellow Eagle boys and girls. And he can’t wait to give it to his Mom when she picks him up.

In the woods, by the small waterfall of the babbling Glen Brook, James is practicing chopping into a felled Hemlock. Straight back, strong legs, smooth swings – James is starting to come into his own in TimberCraft class. It’s nothing he has ever done before, but after choosing it for his elective, there’s nothing he looks forward to more than swinging an axe on a warm summer’s morning. His friends Alex and Emily are there everyday too. In the process, they’ve all learned about making fire-side seats, sustainably managing a forest, and storing wood for winter, but what James likes best is the fresh air and the humming of his whole body after the exhaustion of a good morning’s chopping.  

It’s a stir-fry of Glen Brook greens over rice for dinner, the country term for our mid-day meal. At meals, James gets to meet campers from different ages and hear their stories about what they’ve done today. Lily, a fox, is excited about building Fairy Houses in Nature class; Emmanuel, a Lynx, tells the table about his progress in Knife-making; even Sara, a Falcon is eating at the table to day and she laughs as she recalls her trying backpacking trip in White Mountains. Just about as the plates start clearing, James gets that sleepy post-meal feeling and is glad to be able to lie down and take a well-deserved nap during the upcoming rest period.  

In the afternoon, James lies in the grass reading a book during General Swim. This might just be my favorite part of the day, he thinks. He just slid down the water slide, jumped on the water-trampoline, played a game of tennis, and now gets to relax and read. But before he can finish a chapter, James is off to challenge his friend Mike in tetherball, again. 

After a Supper of handmade, wood-fired pizza, the whole camp gathers in the barn for Evening Singing. Led by a trio of counselors playing guitars and drums, James sings along to songs he already knew like “Lean on Me,” but some new ones too, like “Passing Through.” After singing wraps up, the counselors get up to announce the evening activity to the whole camp: Capture the Flag! James races past trees, over rocks, and around streams with his team. It’s a blast: a new way James loves being in the woods.

In his cabin, Henry gets the Eagle Boys ready for bed. Before they fall asleep, each boy gets a chance to tell his Rose, Thorn, and Bud of the day. James has think hard to cull his memory of such a packed day at Glen Brook. There were so many Roses, he thinks. And as he starts to drift towards a deep slumber, while Henry reads the boys a story, James can’t help but crack a smile as he thinks that tomorrow he’ll get to do it all over again.