We drove up a day early, so after 10 long hours in the car, Wednesday night we crashed on couches at the conference center to visit with "Uncle Paul and Aunt Deborah". Bishop THOMAS decided to drop in and join us, making for a fun evening.
We were also joined by Niko and Kristen Chocheli - much to the crocodile hunter's delight. He pulled out his sketch book and they talked drawing and a mutual love for animals. He is a truly delightful man, and I enjoyed getting to know both of them. After everyone else retired for the evening, the crocodile hunter and Niko spent another 45 minutes playing soccer with ping pong balls!
Thursday stretched out before us, free of plans until the evening. The weather was perfect, 63 degrees, with 2 feet of snow on the hills! So, the crocodile hunter spent much of the morning sledding down hills - a dream come true for this southern boy.
Next we toured the camp - visiting the grave of St. Raphael ....
....seeing the little chapel where the kids have church during camp, isn't that stained glass amazing! That is the back wall of the chapel.
The camp is truly blessed with an abundance of relics - above are the relics of St. Thekla, St. Moses, St. Herman and St. Paul (I think - can't honestly remember the last one, but I am pretty sure that is an icon of St. Paul - someone correct me if I am wrong please :) I am grateful I did not have allergy problems until the next day, the sweet fragrance coming from the relics of St. Thekla is indescribable.
Friday evening the conference center museum opened its exhibit of Niko Chochelli's art. The children followed Bishop THOMAS as he blessed the exhibit, then they were the first to get to explore. I absolutely love his work (we own every one of his books!) so it was amazing to see the illustrations in person.
While the adults were busy in workshops, the kids were treated to a variety of fun classes. Here is the crocodile hunter doing a watercolor during a class with Niko.
Recognize that whale?
The artists with their work :)
During the vendor hall periods, I set up camp at a table and got the chance to meet most of the families in attendance as I shared Letters of Grace. It was so much fun to meet people in person, and I cannot tell you how thrilled and encouraged I was to see the excitement of so many who are planning to use the curriculum.
A last shot of the conference center chapel - such a beautiful place to worship. I enjoyed the opportunity to be in church 3 times a day with like minded families. It was also a joy to see so many children - it is the only place I have ever been where I felt the need to qualify discussion of what I do in homeschooling with the comment "Well, I only have four kids, but we..."
What a blessing!