What was your favorite childhood cereal?

Photo: Only 25% of tents are pictured.

Meeting 35 new people at once is never easy. Never mind getting to know them in the dark of night. In order to help us out, our fearless leader Toby assigned us questions to ask one another, the very first being “What was your favorite childhood cereal, and were you allowed to eat it?” Sparking plenty of interesting conversation, she continued her queries. “What is the best adventure you’ve ever been on?” “What motivated you to come here this week?” And much more.

Not to say that introductions are over yet. (Believe me, I will have forgotten everyone’s name by the morning). But at least we’ve gotten started.

Disconnecting from cell phones? Maybe next week.

My three dozen new friends have flown in from all around the country, to spend the week working in the name of conservation. The earliest group arrived from Fort Lauderdale airport around 2 pm, and the latest straggled in around 7:45 pm, just in time for a night time campfire.

They’ve come from all corners. With representation from as far away as Southern California and New Hampshire, SCA doesn’t take its goal of promoting diversity lightly. They even invited some Floridian students to join us for the week, providing that token bit of local knowledge where needed.

Period-specific monument in Collier-Seminole State Park.

The group was shy and apprehensive at first, but has opened up throughout the night. The typical questions (not only Toby’s suggestions) are being asked: Where do you go to school? What do you study? What year are you in? And the answers are proving to be quite diverse. Based on my (unofficial) survey for the night, we have with us students who have served in the military, varsity athletes, seminary attendees, international students, SCA alums, non-SCA alums, and much, much more.

Ground rules have been laid out, and expectations have been set. We’ll be going through work orientation in the morning, and beginning our service in the afternoon. Daily chores will be assigned, and sweat will be shed.

First thing on the agenda: daily breakfast at 6:30 am. Needless to say, that’s early. I’ll cut this short to catch some sleep for the night.

À demain!

It’s a river…. of grass.