Week 6 Letter, 2017
… and so, The Nature Place Day Camp 2017 season (our 32nd) comes to a close. Of course, there are plenty of summer days left: for those enrolled in Farm and Garden Days; for those going on to other programs; campers going on vacation with families and friends; for those just wanting to hang out at home; for those doing some school shopping, catching up on required school summer reading assignments, maybe taking some day trips, etc.
The theme of our last week was “What We’re Made Of”. The theme was woven throughout our skits, songs, and activities and challenged us all to contemplate this sometimes-mysterious question.
- In Outdoor Skills, campers learned how to procure one of the most important things we’re made of, water. They explored how to use limited materials to harvest water from any landscape, and saw demonstrations of how to purify collected water.
- At the climbing tree, campers tested their strength and courage by challenging themselves to skip holds on the tree or to climb with a blindfold.
- In Nature, some groups mucked, while others listened to the natural ‘orchestra’ of the birds and cicadas in a nearby field. One camper noted, “The cicadas keep interrupting the birds, loudly, then the birds are quiet.” Another observed, “If you listen closely, the yelling from the pond seems to disappear into the background of the symphony.”
Another Quotable Quote we enjoyed: a camper overheard a fellow camper say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” After hearing this, he came up with the following suggestion: “Let’s not have any fun so that time will slow down and we can have more camp.”
- During this past week campers learned about echolocation by playing Bat and Moth.
- We learned how many deer a certain habitat can support in “Oh Deer!”.
- We talked about “what we are made of” after being at camp this summer: what challenged us and what skills we gained.
- In the kitchen, veggies from the garden and pasta made-from-scratch were a delightful, healthy treat.
- We were visited by the big animals brought in by Bill Robinson.
- We experienced a pirate take-over at the pond.
- In Chuck’s story, Cindy’s grandma told us, “Do not be afraid to love.”
- Hobby choices this week included The Great Search, Drum Circle, Wild Food Foraging, The Buzz About Bees, Archery, Bow Drill (fire making), Rope Basket making, and Garden Sushi making.
Wednesday was a most beautiful evening for campers and their families to come back to camp to attend our Remembering Summer slide show. Our in-house band entertained us, folks danced, talked, met their child’s counselors, and of course partook of the great desserts that everyone brought in to share with others. Thank you! The sunset was amazing and the evening temperature was just right.
Drifting down from the tree tops, over all the happenings, was the chorus of katydid insects that we, as a group, listed to with our hearts for 2 minutes of still hunting.
Next came the slideshow, coordinated with music, giving us a feel of what happens at The Nature Place, with an unexpected intermission that had us all giggling and ‘Aww!’-ing. Thank you so much to all who came out to share this special evening with us.
On Thursday morning the whole camp divided into two groups: one for harvesting onions, the other for picking potatoes directly from the soil. The farmers were amazed at the size of the bounty picked by our mixed-age group. Both the onions and potatoes are destined for the elderly residents at the Fellowship Community, where they will be thoroughly enjoyed.
Walking back to camp after harvesting, the campers were directed to a wide trail that brought them through a beautiful woodland. If they walked slowly along this path and looked carefully, side-to-side, they would see campers from Group Q camouflaged (with the help of our primitive skills instructor, Joe Blevis), blended, so perfectly into the forest scene that you could be looking straight at them and not see them until they blinked or moved a hand slightly. It was amazing how these “mud people” disappeared into the landscape!
Friday afternoon share closed the week and the season with songs and skits. For the last official camp activity of the summer, the entire camp walked to the play field behind the Arts Building. We held hands and made a really, really big circle. Around us, the circles of the earth, moon, sun, the seasons, the top of the drum, reminded us of the connections around us and between us. Each person in our circle has created The Nature Place community this past summer—a great one full of joy, wonder, friendships, laughing, challenges, amazing natural moments. There will never be another season exactly like this one because each of us, holding hands to make the circle, is special and unique and brings that specialness to our camp community.
With that image in mind, we wish you a great rest of the summer and thank you for sharing a part of it with us. We’ll be in touch about our special programs throughout the school year, and hope to see you then.