Camp Staff Blog

by Brianna Beyrooty, Staff, Farm Apprentice - May 13, 2015

Interns play an integral part in the garden. They spend 10+ hours in the garden a week doing everything from seed starting to pruning an entire orchard.  Intern garden time is a great way to bond over hard work and see something transform with their efforts every week.

Monday mornings start with a garden check-in, starting with silence interns share thoughts to start the week with. This is a way unique and effective way to ease into the week with a clear mind and heart.  With the intern’s hard work and dedication the garden gets the attention and love it deserves.

Here are some of the intern’s thoughts on working in the garden:

Joe- I like pruning and being in the trees in the orchard. I like not killing, but invigorating the tree to grow. I think I’m good with the ladder and enjoy the aggressive ladder work. 

Em-What I love most about working in the garden is the opportunity to be outside. Nothing makes me more jolly than the California sun! I’m also quite fond of whispering encouraging words to our growing plant babies and chasing away hungry quails.


Gio- Our farm manager Maggie McProud is my favorite thing about the garden! Granted, she isn't a plant, but she does support the interns as we grow as farmers and people. She is closely seconded by harvesting cherry tomatoes, pruning apple trees, and planting garlic.  It was harvest season when we first arrived at Woolman, so understandably we were easily enchanted by the incredible amount of produce that was picked and consumed every day. At one point, at the end of the peak season, we harvested over five hundred pounds of produce in one day (four hundred of which were tomatoes). 

Kat with weeds

Kat- Having never grown food before, working with the garden this year has given me a deep and visceral appreciation for cycles of life and the radical act that is taking that process into your own hands and belly. I love knowing that the sweat off my own back is a gesture of resistance against industrial agricultural practices that harm our planet, bodies and communities. I also love knowing that the greens and tomatoes on my plate haven’t been shipped from hundreds or thousands of miles away and that their growth contributed to and not detracted from the health of the soil. I’m grateful to be understanding these cyclical processes of life and death, so essential to our basic existence, not in a textbook but through hands-on experience with a brilliant teacher like Maggie McProud leading the way.

by Casey, Sierra Friends Camp Co-Director - March 24, 2010

There are not many people who get to dress up like a super hero, lay on a sun-warmed river rock, hike through beautiful dappled sunlight and run around on a field trying to steal milk jugs from another team as part of their regular work week. I feel truly blessed to be one of the directors of Sierra Friends Camp, where surprises and shenanigans are part of the routine. If you know someone between the ages of 9 and 14 who could use a dose of campy fun this summer, please pass along this idea: Sierra Friends Camp.

by Josh Merchant, student and Hannah Jeffrey, Woolman Admissions - September 4, 2009

The Greengrocer by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

My Food Manifesto

Growing up in a house where the refrigerator isn’t always full,
I pretty much go for what I can,
whatever my wallet can afford,
whatever my taste buds crave,
whatever is closest to my destination at the moment,
whatever I feel like trying for the first,
for the second, third, fourth, and fifth time,
whatever I can obtain in order to turn my stomach into an upside down rainbow,
filling my belly with lucky charms until its time for me to drop off some gold in the pot,
I can rock with vegetables if that’s all I can grab,

I can kill my self slowly with McDonalds if a dolla and nine sense is all I had for the day,hell,
I can even stay in the house eating cereal all day
…If I’m lazy enough.

In between discussions of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and When the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs by Wallace Stegner, Jasmine Smith’s Environmental Science class takes a moment to record their “Food Manifestos” manifestos. Spoken word (such as Josh’s above) and other forms of poetry along with songs, rants and contemplative reflections emerge.

Under the influence of new ideas from Pollan, they replace “corn” with “zea mays” and playfully rip about how Americans are “corn-chips with legs”. Stegner’s essay, “Sense of Place” heats the tempers and passions of the students so that conversations boil over and out of the classroom, spilling into the dining hall and their cabins.

The writings of both Stegner and Pollan serve as an introduction to the students’ upcoming Food Intensive Week, where they will visit small organic farms, large-scale farms, an industrial organic factory and hear from an expert on genetically modified foods at UC Davis, where they will also visit the agricultural school’s slaughterhouse.

by Your Friendly Camp Counselors - February 17, 2009

Who better to ask than those fearless, faithful, fanciful, fun and fantastic folks who have done it before! Here are a few thoughts from some of our fabulous former counselors:

“Being a counselor at SFC, I’ve found that it’s a place where I can feel good about giving to other campers what I had been given as a child when I attended Shiloh Quaker Camp for 5 years. It is a place to come to and let go of whatever turmoil exists in your life, and give the best of yourself to deserving campers who greatly take in all the beauty of being there with you.” ~ Carolina McCandles (2005, 2006)

“For me being a counselor was a great opportunity to explore myself as a role model and a friend. It helped me to develop key skills for the real world both socially and in the working world. It was wonderful to create for others what has been so important to me as I have grown up. I met amazing people and my experiences and growth from my summer as a SFC counselor will be with me always.” ~ Emily Schwartz (2006)

“Working at Sierra Friends Camp really inspired me, and changed me in ways I never expected it to. Learning about Quaker camps after I was too old to attend made me feel deprived of a wonderful summer, so being a counselor gave me the opportunity to experience the love, gifts and community that come along with Quaker camp. I found being a counselor to be rewarding and spiritually fulfilling, and it gave me the strength I needed to explore and express myself in the world outside of Sierra Friends Center. Not to mention we had SO MUCH fun being outside and seeing the world!” ~ John Stitzer (2008)

“I’m not great with the written word, but I’d like to say that I learned so much during my time at Sierra Friends Camp. It was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had. You learn a ton of leadership skills and I will always remember my time at Sierra Friends Camp, and it will be an experience that I will treasure forever. I learned a lot not only from my fellow counselors and staff but also from the kids. I think it is important to be ready to give 100% and enjoy the experience and take as much away from it as you possibly can. It is by far the most valuable experience I have ever had in my life and is definitely the best learning experience I have ever had in my life. I think that it will be something that is extremely valuable for anyone who decides to be a counselor.” ~ Ben Kewman (2007)

“Being a counselor at Sierra Friends Camp was incredible; it was unlike any experience I have ever had. I loved the creativity, the beautiful environment, and above all, the strong sense of community at SFC. I will never forget leading campers on a backpacking trip through the woods, being the ‘Morning Fairy’ and waking up campers with a silly song, doing art projects, singing, and participating in meditative meetings for worship. If you work at Sierra Friends camp, you will come away with not only wonderful memories, but make lasting connections with SFC community.” ~ Maddy Anderson (2007)

If you would like to be a Sierra Friends Camp counselor, visit our web site and download an application. The priority deadline for applications is March 15.