Every Campfire Starts with a Spark

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“This is it!” says Nancy Kennedy beaming. She’s standing at the upper edge of a gentle slope facing east, below the forest glade known among Chewonki-ites as the “Pineapple Forest.” An old stone wall, a relic of 19th-century sheep farming, stretches toward the shore. Chewonki Creek sparkles through the trees, opening into the light of Montsweag Bay. A few stumps and a fresh stack of firewood attest to the newness of the place–staff volunteers cleared it only last week.

In the center of the space is a brand-new ring of stones: a campfire circle for girls. It feels just right. Suddenly, imagining a community of girls and young women gathered here is easy, natural.

Nancy Kennedy and Anne Leslie contemplate the new girls campfire circle with views of Chewonki Creek behind them.

Surveying the scene, Kennedy envisions the future and her heart leaps. “This place will hold us,” she says, “mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically…I imagine the girls together here, reflecting on their camp adventures, celebrating, having deep discussions and silly skits, singing, supporting each other, and thinking about what’s ahead, what they’ll take from Chewonki as they set forth into the world.”

There’s still much work ahead to establish the Girls Camp on Chewonki Neck. But this new campfire circle makes real the promise of things to come. In the century ahead, may it spark as much joy as the boys campfire circle has generated over the past 103 years!

Leslie Hunter and Nancy Kennedy test the marshmallow-toasting potential of the new fire circle.
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