Tuesday April 3: We woke up to a snowy Albuquerque, said goodbye to Karen and headed down south to Las Cruces. Several Friends were out of town, so our potluck was down to three people, but we were very glad for the chance to connect with Micki W and learn from her years of experience with Farm and Wilderness Quaker camps in Vermont. Micki encouraged Mountain Friends Camp to continue and reach out to more non-Quakers, and generously invited us to visit her at Farm and Wilderness in the future! Genevieve and Paul were excellent hosts that evening; we were glad to share their home and pecans from their own trees. Next up was Silver City, where Gila Friends Meeting had arranged an informal lunch meeting to share ideas about Mountain Friends Camp. We enjoyed a long conversation with Marion and Jamie N, and Harold J about our plans for camp, the support from Gila Friends, and how MFC and Monthly Meetings can protect the young people in our care. Harold shared insights gained from five summers working for the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Quaker summer camps; one particularly salient concept he shared concerned how, through mindful discussions and community bonding, the staff “recreate” the program and prepare to nurture and guide campers each summer. We look forward to further discussion with Harold and other Friends from other Quaker summer camps. Wednesday evening we stayed with Nancy, Jim and Milagre C and their sweet dog Coco. The fresh green salsa and tortilla chips were outstanding, as was the conversation and hospitality! We were pleasantly surprised when Milagre asked about coming to camp, as her summer was already fully booked, but we’ll be happy to have her as a counselor in training should she find a way to join us.
Our visit in New Mexico drew to a close, and we pressed onward to Arizona. Tucson was alive with birds, blooming cacti, and of course more wonderful Quakers. Eileen H hosted us and is encouraging the Young Friends in Pima Meeting to consider coming to camp. On Friday evening we met with Pima Friends Jane K and Meredith for discussion and early dinner; later in the evening we shared slides and conversation with three Pima Friends at the Meetinghouse, one who took a brochure for her grandkids and one who felt led to give us a very generous donation. Thanks Pima Meeting! As at so many of our mid-week stops, we regretted not being able to join Friends at Meeting for Worship, but were glad to connect with a few and plant seeds of interest and involvement with our mission. April 7: Saturday saw us in Tempe dyeing Easter Eggs with two families from Tempe Meeting whose kids have been MFC campers since the very beginning. These same great campers and their friends at Tempe Meeting made plans to accompany Ana to Phoenix Friends Meeting on Sunday to share with their (much younger) youth group the Quaker fun that is Mountain Friends Camp. We enjoyed a great breakfast potluck, then joined the First Day group for an Easter story and discussion followed by our Mountain Friends Camp presentation. Thanks to Kim, Adrianna and Brianna for leading the discussion! After our talk the patient Phoenix kids (finally) got to search for eggs. After meeting some stayed to spray paint “MFC” on t-shirts. Look for more opportunities to make or buy a MFC shirt at IMYM this June!
Meanwhile, Ariel drove to Flagstaff on Saturday afternoon and arrived just in time to join hosts Kay and Ted B for a wonderful dinner and a trip to the annual Recycled Art Festival! The next morning she joined Flagstaff Friends for Meeting for Worship and a potluck; after the potluck, Flagstaff Meeting was treated to the MFC slideshow. Flagstaff Friends had decided to give a substantial donation to Mountain Friends Camp, and after the slideshow Clerk Steve F took the opportunity to present Ariel with the donation. It was quite the photo op—too bad no one had a camera! Ana caught a ride with Vickey F to Flagstaff later that afternoon, and we went on a hike with Steve, and more Flagstaff Friends Pam and Jim. Vickey and Steve hosted us that night and showered us in warmth and hospitality and pro golf on tv!