Friday, May 29, 2009

Quality Family Time

Last weekend our children and grandchildren joined my wife and me at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing near New Castle, Virginia.

The remote camp offers rustic cabins and a central lodge for family-style meals, meeting members of other groups, and hanging out with camp leaders and directors.

Camp activities specialize in building teamwork, instilling personal confidence, bonding with each other, and engaging in fun activities in the outdoors away from TVs, cell phones, and computers.  The young camp directors are well trained professionals with much experience in leading groups. 

The 900-foot zip line and 50-foot climbing wall were especially challenging for us all.  My wife now holds the distinction of being among the oldest females to successfully climb the 50' wall. The picture below is me struggling to hold on using fingers, toes, or sides of my feet.  I actually fell twice before I crawled over the top ledge like a breathless climb out of the deep end of a swimming pool.

We flew down the zip line at 30 to 35 miles per hour.  See the top picture of my son-in-law.

We also hiked trails, ran, canoed Craigs Creek, and gathered around campfires each evening after dinner.  We highly recommend this site for summer youth camps, school groups, families, and company employee team building.  The camp offers Outward Bound experiences for young people as well.  There are ropes courses, caving, rock climbing and much more to do if you desire those experiences.

Here is their web site: Wilderness Adventure

My gallery of more pictures is available here: more pictures

Our family members departed on Monday and traveled home to Seattle, Chapel Hill or Pfafftown. 

Have a good week!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Table of Honor

The Table of Honor in the picture above was set to represent the patriots who gave their lives while fighting for our country.

The table was set at the banquet on May 2, 2009 in the Hilton Wilmington Riverside in Wilmington, North Carolina.  The occasion was the NC Department Convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Chapters throughout North Carolina and South Carolina were there for the annual meeting to conduct business and elect officers.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart was chartered by Congress in 1958. Chapters are made up of members who received a Purple Heart Medal in wars from WWII to the present wars on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

One highlight of the banquet was the announcement of "Patriot of the Year". This year the decision went to Daniel T. McGinley of Fayetteville.  Patriot McGinley is founder and past commander of the Fort Bragg Chapter 2226. McGinley, seated beside his wife Chome in the second picture below, is an enthusiastic organizer and worker for the 160 members in the Fort Bragg chapter.

In order to understand the character of this man, consider his history. McGinley served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  Between and after these wars, he finished college, formed successful businesses, and wrote several books. When his age was 40 in 1967, he endured bureaucratic obstacles and incurred considerable personal expense to return to active duty and serve in Vietnam. There he fought as a Green Beret in the mountains and jungles for almost three years and received a second Combat Medical Badge.  "Can do" is an always attitude possessed by Patriot McGinley.

As you observe the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, I encourage you to think about the "Missing Man Table of Honor" setting in the top picture and reflect upon the men and women who died for the freedom we enjoy.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Have a good week!   

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bird Stops Man and Machine

A Carolina wren built her nest and laid eggs inside my sawmill .  I'm a hobbyist who mills logs into lumber for friends and neighbors.

When I began a milling job recently, a quick movement around a shield which guards the main pulley caught my eye.

The job lasted three hours as I suspected a nest inside the mill housing. A few days I removed bolts to open the shield and discovered a wren's nest with newly hatched babies.  I closed the protective shield and halted production until the birds mature and leave their nest.

Have a good week!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Field Trip

Last Tuesday I helped Ms. Rogers' Digital Communications students employ GPS devices to locate hidden objects in C. G. Hill Park in Forsyth County of North Carolina.

The class from Ronald Reagan High School arrived at the park by bus shortly after the start of the school day. We gathered around tables, discussed GPS receivers, and reviewed how satellites enable the devices to calculate our position and direct us to destinations.

Latitude and longitude coordinates were obtained from Geocaching dot com. These sets of numbers were entered into the hand-held GPS devices. The instruments and "radio waves" from orbiting satellites directed us to exact locations where metal or plastic containers were hidden. The students used the navigation system to trek through woods and fields in search of the hidden caches. We spent two hours in the beauty of the outdoors to successfully find four treasures.

Click here to see more pictures of students moving throughout the park.

The field trip occurred on a warm and clear day. The park was alive with people walking, birds chirping, squirrels feeding and students learning. One student lured a cautious squirrel to our picnic table as we concluded the morning by eating pizza before we returned to the school campus.

I very much enjoyed the time I spent with both Ms. Rogers and her impressive students. The curiosity and behavior of these fine young people gave me certainty that a bright future is in store for them.

Have a good week!