As we’ve been working these past few days to share memories and thoughts about our time in the Iroquois, we’ve had the opportunity to review years and years of photos from meetings and campouts past. We spend a lot of time emphasizing the Father and Daughter connectedness that the Iroquois Indian Princess program enables – and it’s absolutely true, just read some of these bracketing posts! – but there’s something fun about the following two photos that also reveal one of the unique aspects of our program. Interestingly enough, they both come from the same campout in the fall of 2010. Let’s take a look:
Spooky Halloween! Over the last few years, one of the evolving traditions of the Iroquois Fall Campout has been the “Haunted House Competition” the girls of all six tribes have developed, almost entirely on their own. What started as a sprited seasonal expression of our Navajo and Seminole tribes has become something all the girls enjoy, and it is neither “haunted” and “spooky” or even that much of a “competition.” It is, however, an expression of some of the individual exploration and fun the girls get to have “on their own” on the campouts. Although “time with Dad” remains a constant focus of our outings, the opportunity to “run free” and explore their horizons with confidence and in complete safety is part of the fun of the Iroquois campouts. It lets the “girls be girls,” it lets them “have the best sleepover ever!” and just enjoy making friendships that last a lifetime.
At the campouts, Dads and Daughters spend nearly all day together – from lunch, to games, dinner and evening entertainment, and finally the always moving and meaningful evening fire ceremony. But after the campfire, as the girls go to play, the Dads set about the thoughtful business of the “evening meal,” an annual tradition and rite of passage for all members of the Iroquois Nation. Each tribe has their own “Tribal Chef,” a most celebrated and respected individual, working tirelessly to deliver the best in grilled meats and unexpected camping cuisine. It’s during this “Dad’s time” ( as seen in the photo above ) that the Daughters, who tend to drift through our orbits like little comets of fun throughout the evening, get a chance to see their Dads in a whole new light. For some, it’s the first time that they ever see their dad prepare a meal. For others, it’s a quick and quiet glimpse into a world of understanding their fathers in a deeper and richer way than ever before. It’s a special time, and it’s part of what makes the campouts such a unique experience.