Four short years ago I sent an email to Danny Gichner, the director (Booshway) of the Lancaster County Longrifles, to ask if they still did tours for school groups. I remembered taking a group many years ago, and also have fond memories of the years when some of my family members did Rendezvous. The reply I got from Danny was a resounding “COME!” He was so excited about the prospect of having young people visit, as they just were not getting visitors anymore. Their graciousness and open arms have continued to be evident.
I never anticipated what that request for a day visit to Rendezvous would lead to ! At closing ceremonies this past Saturday, Danny announced that the “Pathways People are here to stay” We are no longer guests, but considered part of the Rendezvous Family. Last weekend we completed our second overnight encampment, and overall it was a huge success for us and for the Lancaster Longrifles Association.
This year our students went into Rendezvous with more knowledge and confidence. Our students participated in competitions and seminars, and two of them won awards! Logan Matz won second place in youth archery and won three hand made arrows. Hannah Bowman won first place in Youth Hawk and Knife Throwing, and was awarded a handmade throwing knife forged by renowned knife maker, Adam Daub. Overall, our students represented Pathways well, and represented teenagers positively.
The Rendezvous people loved having young people involved. One of the men announced at closing ceremonies that he was so impressed by the Pathways’ kids, and that they were like “sponges” soaking up the learning! Our students attended seminars, participated in a colonial dance, and learned from talking with and listening to fellow reenactors. So many people complimented us on our kids, and shared positive interactions that they had with them. We are proud of our students, and you should be too!
One of my favorite memories (and there are lots), is that of the kids playing stickball Friday evening. They all, on their own, started a stickball game in the field, and played, in their colonial garb, until dark. The laughter, the fun, the sight is something I will always cherish. I had a father come to me at closing ceremonies to thank me for bringing our students and that they welcomed his daughter into the games. His daughters want to come to Pathways for school, but Maryland is too far to drive! They did inquire about coming to Heritage Day, and the father volunteered to demonstrate colonial woodworking. Many have volunteered to come to Heritage Day.
Another memory is doing the archery course with various students. I will never forget their enthusiasm for learning a new skill and competing alongside their teachers! Sitting around the campfire at night listening to them talk and laugh was another privilege. Watching them pull together to get meals and clean up accomplished, restock the firewood pile, and fetch water was refreshing. We have neat kids.
At Rendezvous, a lot of the barriers and cliques are broken down. We are all facing the same challenges, we are all dressed in the same kind of colonial garb and footwear, we are all doing without flushing toilets and running water, and we are all without the 21st distractions (especially technology) that normally separate us. We saw more mixing and interaction among the class than at any other time, and the kids felt that too. Refreshing.
I know I cannot convey the excitement and love for Rendezvous that the staff and students have, but I wanted to share at least some of it. Thank you to parents for allowing your kids to participate. A huge thanks to our staff and the parents who gave up their time to help as chaperones, attend work days and set-up and tear down, and assist in loading, hauling, and unloading. Many hours were spent preparing for and recovering from this event! And of course, a heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful folks at Lancaster Longrifles! You are indeed, family.
Enjoy the sampling of photos!