It’s been an unusual autumn at Camp Pinnacle—no surprises there. Back when things were “normal,” we barely noticed the transition from summer camp to our fall weddings and school programs. In a typical fall, the day after our summer campers depart, we host a week-long program for underprivileged kids in our community.
Every succeeding weekend is filled with weddings, while mid-weeks are filled with middle and high schoolers from schools in Miami to Ohio on Adventure Treks’ three- to four-day outdoor educational programs. Camp Pinnacle usually closes down for the season around Halloween.
This year, of course, all weddings and school trips have been cancelled. Instead, Camp Pinnacle is hosting Adventure Treks’ inaugural Leadership Adventure Semester gap program. Twenty-one rising college freshmen and sophomores have spent the fall semester living at camp (we retrofitted several of the cabins into fantastic dorm room doubles and triples). These Adventure Treks students are doing day and multi-day trips of backpacking, canoeing, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, and whitewater rafting, while also learning the basic elements of carpentry, plumbing, and electrical; auto maintenance and repair; bicycle maintenance and repair; and general economics and budgeting. They’re also learning from Chef Richard how to cook (both personally and for big groups), plan menus, and manage an industrial kitchen.
The students have taken a lifeguarding and wilderness first responder course and will November 20 knowing how to safely plan and lead outdoor adventures. We have a group of fantastic young adults who have have formed an extremely tight-knit community and are learning things they would have never learned in college that will undoubtedly help them in many ways through life.
It’s been a beautiful fall for leaves, and the change in foliage has come earlier this season (we had some cold weather in September!). With less traffic at camp, wildlife have made themselves more at home. We have a family of four deer, a bobcat that lives up a creek, a bear that hibernates across the lake in Never Never Land, and a short-eared owl who screeches during the day and lives near the beaver dam on one of our streams in Wildwood. The white squirrels are even more noticeable amongst the orange and red leaves. The great blue heron perches frequently on the dam between his fishing trips on Wolfe Lake. We have seen and heard red-tailed and broad-winged hawks and occasionally a bald eagle. We have even seen otters playing in the stream below the dam.
We know that whatever COVID brings in the year ahead, we will be ready and eager to once again hear the laughter and see the smiles on our campers’ faces when Camp Pinnacle begins again in June!