Saturday, April 16, 2011

2011 Northeastern Junior Training Camp

Last weekend was the annual Junior Training Camp and NEOC Junior Meg Parsons wrote all about it:        

Although with about 25 other juniors, I attended the 2011 Northeastern Junior Training Camp, held on April 8-10 at Blue Mountain Lodge in Peekskill, NY.  My dad and I arrived around 7:00pm on Friday night, grabbed a quick bite of dinner and settled into the dorm.  Soon I was playing cards, which seems a staple every year at the camp.  At the table was a mix of people I know and people I didn’t know;  the game, President, I didn’t know either but figured out pretty quickly.  The minutes ticked by and we played a few more hands of cards than I would have expected-  I knew from previous years that we should have been doing a Night-O once it was dark.  It was then that I learned Samantha Saeger and Ross Smith, our two coaches, were stranded in Worcester, MA because Sam’s “new” Volvo had broken down.  

Fortunately, several people stepped in to fill the gap while plans were made to rescue Sam and Ross.  Guy Olsen led an icebreaker activity of Two Truths and a Lie.  Among the interesting facts that came to light was that Jeff Saeger had worked in the pit crew as part of Paul Newman’s racing team.  Perhaps the most entertaining lie involved John Osborn describing the details of his life as a commercial airline pilot.
Then Jeff Saeger took over, explaining the details of the annual Trivia Night-O.  We were broken up into teams of three, given a map and 30 minutes to find ten controls around the area.  Each control had a trivia question at it; the person at the control either needed to write down the question (or the answer, if they knew it) and bring it back their team.  Letters from the answers spelled out a word- Jellybeans.  The evening ended with word that Boris Granovskiy was rescuing Sam and Ross and that they’d arrive in the morning.

The next day, after a delicious Janet Porter breakfast, our coaches did arrive.  The first training exercise practiced map simplification:  ribbons along the way marked key features on the map that we should see on the way to the control.  This went pretty well for me, except for one control that involved quite a bit of wandering around a steep, rocky hillside.  After lunch, our advanced group did a contour reading exercise.  Ross had taken out all the details on the map except for the contours-  which was somewhat disorienting, because there are many cliffs and trails at Blue Mountain.  I started first, and was running along to number 1 when suddenly my ankle rolled sideways and I heard a crack- probably not a good sign.  I roll my ankle somewhat frequently but this time was different;  I tried to walk it off for a couple of minutes and the pain didn’t go away… definitely not good.  Concerned and upset, I turned around and spent the rest of the afternoon with ice on my ankle, getting medical advice from a variety of people.
The final activity for the day was the Uphill Map Memory relay.  Teams of mixed ability must copy a course, leg by leg, onto a blank map.  The twist is that the master maps are at the top of the hill.   It’s definitely a different experience watching the relay rather than running it!

Two highlights of the after-dinner activities were a large game of sardines and Kestrel Owens giving a presentation about his experience at ski-JWOC a few months before.

Sunday was slightly different from past years.  After packing up the lodge, the entire group traveled to Lake Welch in Harriman State Park for a local meet put on by HVO.  Ross and Sam encouraged us to pre-plan our routes, putting the skills we had practiced Saturday into action.  I carefully walked the Brown course with a taped ankle- it’s amazing how many more details you notice when you’re not running.

While the weekend had a few more mishaps than usual, it still came together as a resounding success.  Thanks to all cooks, coaches and others that made it happen- it would not be possible without you!

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