Friday, August 08, 2014

Walters family Aspen Grove 2014

 The Walters family reunion has been happening every other year for over two decades.  

We arrived at Aspen Grove (with only 1 'incident' on the way) right as the entire family had gathered to play games and to share some of Granny and Grandpa's history.  It was neat to see around 100 people gathered as part of a celebration of their lives.  The kids shared memories of Granny and Grandpa, and then Grandpa addressed his family and shared memories and expressed gratitude for the Lord and for his family and how we have stayed close.  It was a special moment for everyone.  

We introduced Torin to Granny and Grandpa.  Granny was sweet with him and commented about how chubby he is (he is chubby).  It was special to see how they still care for one another.  They were at the reunion for nearly the entire time, and Grandpa would take Granny on walks in her wheelchair.

There are almost always activities going on at Aspen Grove.  During the day, the kids all go to their age group activities.  Kate and Liam were Rompers, and they played with their leaders, went swimming, and made little crafts.  On Pirate day they came home with their buried treasure.

Jacob and Claire were Wildcats, along with their cousin Clayton and some of their second cousins.  They had theme days, including Star Wars day, zombie day, and Harry Potter day.  Fortunately, we had listened to the 1st Harry Potter book, so they understood what was going on.  Claire was in Ravenclaw and Jacob was in Griffendor.  They had a Quidditch match, which involved broomsticks (of course) and the kids trying to throw the quaffle through the hoola-hoop.  Jacob and Claire were chasers, throwing the bludger at the other players.  Then, in Claire's game, Jacob got to be the golden snitch, running away from the seekers.  They had fun and energetic counselors and had a great time.

There were also big family activities in the afternoons and evenings.  On Monday, the Aspen Follies had the family playing funny games like rolling a giant ball through an obstacle course up a hill, the human centipede (which ended up with everyone falling out before the finish line), throwing rubber chickens off of a parachute, filling a leaky bucket with water (and Jared in it - he almost got stuck!), and other fun games.  Everyone had a great time playing!  Granny and Grandpa were able to watch as Granny wanted to stay outside to watch the fun.

Following the follies, the kids made paper rockets that were launched with an air compressor.  Kate and Liam loved chasing after their rockets.  Jacob's had a unique design and didn't shoot as well, so he tried again.  Claire was meticulous about her pink rocket's design.


Later in the week was Frontier Day, with games and activities near the frontier village.  The kids all went on a train ride around the lawn.  There were other activities, like archery, and other small crafts.

The activities were fun for kids and adults.  Jacob got really into the knife throwing, and the men took turns throwing axes.  Jared sunk two, which he was pretty proud of!

Andrew did the pie eating contest, which was pretty hilarious.  Near the end of the games, a huge rainstorm came through and soaked everything, and most people huddled under a small shelter while the Aspen Grove counselors cleaned up the activities and splashed in the puddles.

On hike day, Jared went mountain biking.  Dani was recovering from having a stomach flu over night, so unfortunately, she couldn't join (we packed 4 bikes to Island Park and Aspen Grove, and Jared was the only one to use one!).  There are incredible views from the trail.  On the way down, he saw some of the Walters family hikers who had summited Mount Timponogos.

The high ropes course was a fun adventure for the adults.  After climbing a log and a climbing wall, there was a course with cables that led between trees back to the climbing wall for a final rappel.

One day, they set up a giant waterslide down the hill.  The adult cousins (including Dani and Jared) all got turns sliding down, and then the wildcats got a turn.  It was a lot of fun!


There were lots of sports tournaments that we participated in.  Jared and Dani found a new skill participating in the mixed doubles badminton tournament and nearly winning it!  There were some days that were so windy it was almost impossible to play on one side, but it was a lot of fun!

One tradition of Walters family reunions is to play lots of games, especially super long ones.  With that in mind, we thought it would be an appropriate setting to introduce the 8-year-old cousins to Risk!  Claire was nearly eliminated in the first game that the dads were playing, and that was almost very traumatic, so the dads did a quick pivot of strategies.  The kids all had a great time, and since we limited it to a short time period, so did the parents!

With so many activities and no naps for the 3-year-olds, the kids were exhausted!  Liam randomly fell asleep a few times, including once during Granny and Grandpa's time with the entire family and once at dinner!

It was so much fun spending time with our cousins at such a fun and beautiful place!