Tamahay owns and maintains a herd of approximately 25 horses year-round. Many of them have lived their entire lives at camp. Owning our horses allows us to know each horse’s personality, so we can match a camper’s ability level to an appropriate horse. We also know which horses get along with each other on the trail, which is important for trail safety, especially with beginning riders.
Campers have the opportunity to ride every day, and each girl learns to groom, saddle, and bridle her own horse. Our experienced instructors teach western riding skills, beginning in a fenced arena. When campers feel comfortable on their horses, the instructors accompany them on trail rides through the pastures and wooded areas around camp. Girls have the opportunity to ride different horses during the camp session, rather than being assigned just one horse for two weeks.
Riding helmets are provided, and girls are required to wear them when riding. Long pants and sturdy boots with at least a one-inch heel are also required for safety reasons.
For campers who think they might want to have their own horses someday, our curriculum offers the opportunity to learn how to be a good owner. Girls learn about different horse breeds and colors, as well as how to care for a horse properly. How to choose a good horse, basic veterinary and hoof care, proper feeding techniques, and caring for tack are all important topics to explore before taking on the responsibility of owning a horse.
Our full-sized tennis court allows campers the opportunity to practice their skills in fresh air under beautiful blue skies. Everyone from beginners to advanced players enjoys playing against “Andrea,” our automatic ball launcher. Organized tennis activities are in the morning before the day gets too hot, but campers sometimes sneak in a quick game in their free time before dinner. The tennis court also has a basketball hoop for a fun pickup game now and then.
Island Lake, a small, private lake, is the perfect setting for learning canoeing skills. The trees that surround the lake provide protection from strong winds and large waves. There is no public access to the lake, so campers can canoe wherever they want without worrying about large boats.
Campers learn proper paddling techniques, as well as how to paddle in both the bow and the stern. Advanced skills include changing places in the canoe safely while in the middle of the lake, how to vault out of the canoe to take a quick swim, and what to do if a canoe swamps.
Fencing is an activity that is new to almost everyone at camp. It is a nuanced, precision sport with a rich history. Campers learn proper form and etiquette, and have the opportunity to fence, direct, and judge bouts.
Target shooting with air rifles is a fun way to pass an afternoon. Campers learn gun safety rules and how to shoot in the prone position first. As their skills progress, girls learn to shoot from kneeling and standing positions.
A big part of camp life is learning to live in the out-of-doors. Identifying poison ivy is an essential skill we teach on the first day! Then, every camper learns to build a one-match fire using only items found in nature (no lighter fluid!), and how to cook over the fire. After mastering the basics of outdoor cooking, campers can learn to use reflector ovens, dutch ovens, and even a trash-can oven!
Girls learn knot-tying and lashing skills, the proper way to set up a campsite (don’t put your tent downwind of the fire or latrine!), and outdoor etiquette for minimum-impact camping.
Sailing is a peaceful way to enjoy the lake on a warm afternoon. Girls learn to rig a simple sailboat, and how to sail boats with a single sail as well as boats with a mainsail and jib. Girls of all ages have a chance to be the skipper and take charge of the boat. The lake is big enough to get some good speed, but small enough that high winds are not usually a problem.
Our archery range offers target shooting at several different distances, so that everyone can find success as well as challenge. Beginners start with simple bows at 10 or 15 yards. More experienced archers can use compound bows and pin sights as they shoot at 20 and 30 yards.
The beach is a great way to cool off after a hot day at the barn! The Island Swim award is a terrific activity for girls who want to challenge themselves by doing some conditioning practice, and then trying to swim out around the island and back in a set amount of time. Girls who would like a more leisurely afternoon can relax on inner tubes in the roped-off swimming area, jump off the raft, or make sandcastles on the beach. Towel volleyball and other beach games are available for those who don’t want to go in the water.
Campers go on several cookouts during the camping session, which allows them to put their new outdoor living skills to work. They can try different skills at each cookout, learning to cook using pots and pans or perhaps just aluminum foil.
Each cabin group camps out in tents at least once during the session, weather permitting. They cook dinner and breakfast over the campfire, and practice their tent-pitching skills. If they are extremely lucky, they might see the Northern Lights!
We feel that it is very important for young people to develop an appreciation of the natural world. We begin each day with activities designed to teach girls different ways they can interact with nature and the impact that humans have on our environment. Some examples of Nature Lore activities include making molds of animal tracks, orienteering, and learning to predict the weather using signs found in nature.
Tumbling, balance beam, uneven bars, and trampoline are all more fun in the sunshine! Campers of all skill levels have a great time learning new skills.