Making Bracelets in the Kingdom of Possums

I spent the day Thursday making hemp bracelets with sixth-graders at camp in Possum Kingdom. Now I know what you are thinking. Possum Kingdom? Two words you usually don’t see together. Remember, this is Texas and we have as big a love affair with weird geographical names as any other state. I work in a city named Mineral Wells, which I get to by driving through Cool, Texas. In the forty-seven miles I drove from Weatherford to get to Camp Grady Spruce, I did not see one possum, but the place itself is a kingdom of sorts. One of the loveliest spots I’ve seen for naturalists and growing kids.

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Hell’s Gate
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Gathering Place
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The View Across from Main Camp

Camp Grady Spruce, nestled in the rugged country around Possum Kingdom Lake, sprawls over 860 acres of hilly, cedar-covered land, right at the edge of Possum Kingdom Lake. In the fifteen years I’ve taught at Travis Elementary, this is my first visit to the camp our sixth-graders attend each year. My loss. It was a wonderful experience. The Camp staff was friendly, attentive to our students needs, and seemed to genuinely enjoy their work with our students. My thanks to them and the parent volunteers who stay with our campers for their patience and enthusiasm.

I would be remiss here to not thank my lovely friend Patsy Medley, one of the office administrative staff at Travis, for this experience. Patsy asked me to fill in for her this year, taught me to make the bracelets, (several times) and provided everything I needed to be ready to teach (including letting me borrow her hand-painted camp T-Shirt). I was there to assist our school nurse, Sharon Huggs, who has for years doubled up taking care of our students’ medical needs at camp with teaching bracelet-making. Thank you too Sharon for putting up with me.

The groups were about fifteen sixth-graders at a time, who rotated through our bracelet making station , along with many other activities, including horse-back riding, archery, God’s Eye-weaving and candle-making. Not being a whiz at weaving of any sort, I was a little nervous about teaching this, but Patsy and Sharon came to the rescue and I think every student had a successful attempt at making a bracelet. Here’s some shots of the action. The last picture is a step-by-step of the bracelet, in case you want to try this with your students.

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Our Set-Up
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Examples that Patsy Made
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Nurse Huggs in Action.
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Short Center Strings Taped Down
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Concentration
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Do you think we have enough beads?
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The spiral you want.
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Cool Glove

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