I mentioned in my post about Max Patch that we were up in the Asheville area to stay at Kanuga, a conference center of the Episcopal Church located in Hendersonville, North Carolina. For the past five years, I've been attending our church's annual conference to lead the children's programs with my sister while the adults participate in worship and team building exercises. This year Alex helped me co-lead our Saturday and Sunday adventures.
Saturday morning after getting my fix of Kanuga toast, we started off with a hike around the Kanuga campus. The kids kept calling it a scavenger hunt but we didn't go into our hike with a specific list of items to find in mind. Before we went out, we asked our group to find anything in nature that looked interesting in them to collect and take back to the Baker children's center to create a weaving / dreamcatcher. Along our route, Alex taught the kids a lot about nature! Everything from what an evergreen tree is to how seed pods offer built-in protection and what deer tracks look like. It was cool not only to see the kids learn, but to see how natural Alex was at articulating his knowledge of biology!
We spent about an hour trekking around before heading back to our base camp for the rest of the morning's crafts. Alex finished our weaving and allowed each child to select a few of their favorite items to include in it. We did a recap about what we learned about each of the found items like leaves, rocks, and seeds. We used leaves that we found to create rubbings on canvas using acrylic paints. They came out so colorful and will look great in our Sunday School wing at church! We spent the rest of the time outside on the playground before taking a break for the afternoon to go back into town.
We arrived back to Kanuga around 5 p.m. so that Alex could have some time to boulder before supper. We hauled up a crash pad in the back seat but it wasn't really needed. Unfortunately, a lot of the holds on their bouldering wall are loose which makes it kind of hard to solve some of the problems flagged on the wall. I don't have enough strength to climb right now but it's always something I've wanted to explore more. It's really fun to watch and encourage each other to do more active things. We're working towards our goals together one day at a time.
The Kanuga staff is always super accommodating for dinner so I had the vegetarian option (a quinoa stuffed bell pepper that I might recreate at home). Our evening program was based on our theme of Relax, Refresh, and Rewind. Alex and I both volunteered to be our group representatives and had to demonstrate yoga poses to the whole crowd! Our groups then had to come up with silly yoga poses, sing Disney songs, and participate in a mini relay race with water based tasks like removing a quarter from a dog bowl with your nose. I'm usually not one to really enjoy silly team building events but I always have a lot of fun with them at Kanuga. I even won a pair of movie passes which I can't wait to use! Afterwards we caught up with everyone over snacks in the lounge and sang old TV theme songs in Cabin 4, the party spot.
Sunday morning we packed up our car (unfortunately our King size pillows didn't accompany us on the trip back) and ate breakfast in the cafeteria before spending some time rocking on the porch. We ventured down to the dock and outdoor chapel. The kids stayed up way too late the night before wanted to watch Zootopia to chill out. After they gained some energy we had more outdoor playtime on the playground and then played basketball, kickball, and volleyball inside the gym. My basketball skills have really waned since my P.E. class in high school. It was so incredibly warm for February but we had the best weather you could ask for! It really got us outside more this year. After lunch we said our goodbyes and headed back home to the fur babies.
It's hard to describe how Kanuga makes me feel. It's a home away from home year after year. It's the only place I've ever been where I don't feel 100% tied down to my phone (i.e. no answering work emails after hours) and what's going on at home. It is also the only place where I don't have to worry about locking the doors. If you're looking for a realxing, all-inclusive spot to book a trip or conference, check it out! Despite Alex's misguided feelings on the "stale bread", I keep coming back for the toast.