By Mike Darzi
For the second year in a row, The Chapter’s Annual Gathering was held at one of the historic cabin camps in Prince William Forest Park. The park is a 19,000-acre oasis only 37 miles south of our nation’s capital. The camps were built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Historic, rustic, and surrounded by nature, the camp was an ideal retreat for the Chapter to strategize, exercise, socialize, and have a barrel of fun for the weekend.
This year was no exception. There were sessions on the GenOn victory, protecting the George Washington Forest, planning a winning campaign, a transportation vision for Virginia, Dominion Power and the SCC, keeping the ban for uranium mining, biomass as a threat to Virginia’s forests, and the 2011 elections. Mary Ann Hitt, the Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, gave a stimulating and encouraging keynote address about this highly successful campaign.
We took full advantage of the park’s natural offerings by spending a lot of time outdoors. Activities included an evening stroll, a kick-ball game, a native plant walk, a five-mile hike, and an early morning bird walk. Other exercise and outdoor related activities included a yoga class, a bicycle maintenance workshop, a presentation on new recreational venues in Virginia, outdoor leadership training, and a basic first-aid course.
The fun side of our nature was far from ignored. We enjoyed games, a sing-along, and the always-fun award presentations. Saturday night was capped with the dynamic and joyous music of the Skiffle band, Harry & Larry, Hale & Buck. Gathering participants did not miss the opportunity to demonstrate their wide range of dancing skills. Eating was another activity of pleasure, with catering by Sylvie Rowland of Laughing Duck Gardens that emphasized local, organic, healthy, and yummy foods.
With over 80 participants, the 2011 Gathering was another rousing success and a highlight of the year.
Click here to view photos. Keep an eye out for information about the 2012 version coming next fall and make sure to join us.