Interns spent 3 days and 3 nights at Slide Ranch for the 17th Annual LEAF (Leadership and Environmental Action) event. Interns from all 9 programs were invited to celebrate the leadership, stewardship and service they have shown throughout the year. The weekend consisted of warm bonfires, milking goats, making cheese, tide exploration, beach clean ups and so much more! Here is what our interns had to say about their experience.
I remembered we had a beautiful sunset the afternoon we got there. The sun was like a paint ball that splashed right onto the wall of the sky, getting the color of purple and pink all over. After the long “rollercoaster” ride, thankfully, we all made it to Slide Ranch safely. We walked for a couple minutes to get to the dome, and had a short meeting with the Slide Ranch staff. Then we all ran down the hill like a group of madman to pick our location for the tents.
We had a bonfire that night, along with hot dogs, chili, and some nice, sweet, chocolate s’mores. And of course, since there was a bonfire, there were a couple activities that we always love: “Catch On Fire”, “The Great Smoke”, and definitely “Drop The Dogs”. I am sure a lot of us also enjoyed their smoked and burnt dogs as well. One of us also suggested that we should just eat our fingers instead of the dogs, since they were almost cooked anyways. Unfortunately we had to give up this bright idea, due to the work that we will have to do on the next day. The Slide Ranch staffs also came up with the “Blind And Feel” activity, which I believe, entertained all of us. And probably a little less wonderful being the player. A big appreciation to Jenna and all the other brave souls, who faced the great danger of damaging the muscles under their pelvis bone. Sadly, that was our first, and last bonfire of the trip. The night there was pretty cold, yet again I am glad that we have chosen the spot in the middle. The wind barely got to us as it was being blocked by all the tents surrounding us.
The next day morning after breakfast, separating into groups, we made our way to the Ranch. We each followed a different Slide Ranch staff for a different order of the routine. The group that I was with was with the “Blue Crab”. When asked what nature name I’ve chosen for the trip, I went with the ordinary “Wheat”. It might not be as pretty as the name of rose, cherry blossom, and other kinds of plants and flowers, but I just love seeing patches of golden brown, shining, and waving in the sun. And the mysterious Crop Circles that were assumed as the work of the aliens just made me love wheat even more.
The day went by pretty fast. We first visited the chicken coop, hushly taking away the new laid eggs from the mother hens. To fulfill the Slide Ranch rules, I laid down in the middle of the coop and fed the chickens with my stomach. It felt a bit funny, to be honest, but the rest was fine. I covered my head, since I wasn’t sure how I would feel about having a chicken butt kissing my face.
Next stop, and to my favorite part of the day: Meeting Grain. Grain is a beautiful young woman, with the smile that could have been compared to the famous painting of Mona Lisa. Although she has the distinct personality of being picky, but we all love her and enjoyed our time with her. Blue Crab brought her to the “Grain Station”, so we all got a taste of her milk. Grain is a goat by the way, in case any of you are mistaken. After that we visited the grassland, also made some cheese to snack on, and tendered the garden bed. Then we moved on to lunch, when we got to use our creativity on the combination of our sandwiches.
After Lunch, came the rockiest time of my life. The most challenging part of the trip, and the moment that I would always remember: Picking up trash on the beach. It wasn’t any ordinary beach that someone would go to. It was filled with giant rocks! We made our effort parkouring through them, and yet as inexperienced as I was, I slipped. Which I expected that I would. On that beach, we picked up things that we’ve never seen before: The ring of the bucket, parts of a fishing boat, a giant blue barrel…we even discovered rocks that have shines of gold, which we suspected that there’s gold hidden within.
Adventure time was over, and we returned back to our tents with loads of “treasure”. After dinner, while the time is still early, we decided to watch the sunset. We separated into two groups. One of the group wanted to see the biggest, and prettiest sunset as possible, while the other group wanted to enjoy it with the sound of guitar and the loud crash of ocean waves. The band was amazing, and the sound of the ocean really helped in washing all my stress away. The giant heart shaped rock also became one of the most colorful scenes in my memories.
After a long day, back to our tents, we cuddled around in the dome, snacking on a mug of hot coco. Maybe it was because of the cold temperature, or was it because of the sense of nature? The hot coco I had that night was the best that I’ve ever tasted.
Last day at Slide Ranch, it was basically packing and saying goodbye. Although the things we had on our last camping trip was so much better than the one that we just had, this one was the most memorable. The nature bathroom, the distance we have to walk to get to the running water, and all the hard work…all of these pulled us one step closer to nature than we are on the trip before. We’ve learned about how sustainable Slide Ranch is, how they grow their own food, how they turn all their waste into use…it was such a wonderful cycle! This makes me think if we are just as sustainable in the cities as they are, and not relying so much on technologies and cheap, easy, wasteful items and products as we are now, would our problem be less threatening, and would we face less stress as we are now when looking at the issue of global warming? Something that I taken away from this trip was definitely the memories and the experiences, and all the questions that will stay with me until I finally have an answer to them. I will definitely miss everyone who’s on this trip with me. After all these days that we’ve spent working with each other, getting through all these struggles. We’ve laughed, and joked along, being “sassy” to our coordinators…I’ve learned that they are all amazing people, each with a unique personality. I hope I could spend more time with them and see them in the future, and not just exist as part of my memories.
Written By: Chuyi, OH Intern
So when we got to the camp our Leaders took us to the campsite and it was a short hike to get there. They told how where we were going to set up our tent and how everything was going to go, they also told us how there is a bathroom for the #2 only and you had to pee in nature (I think everyone was surprised about that). Slide Ranch staff showed us kitchen which was a dome and really cool.
It was cool interacting with other students! At first it was a little awkward but towards the end it was fine. Something interesting was that Jenna told us that we will be sharing tents with people we’ve never met and were from a different school. It was weird but as we became to know them better we got closer.
My favorite part of the trip was getting to make cheese which was easier than I thought it was. Another favorite part of mine was when I got to milk a goat! I also got to try the milk but didn’t really like it. Something else that was my favorite part was when a small group of people went on a long hike just to see a sunset it was cool and relaxing.
Something I will take away from this trip is that I now kinda enjoy hiking way more than the last camping trip. Something cool about this trip was also planting and learning about different plants. I remember there was a plant that you could eat the stem and it was sour but the leaf part was poisonous.
Written By: Itzel, OH Intern
LEADERSHIP I STEWARDSHIP I SERVICE