Week Four at Camp

July 29, 2018
The Nature Place

The weather this past, fourth week at camp was certainly wild! Heavy rain and thunderstorms made for a wet start to the week, but somehow we only had to reschedule one day hike. Groups splashed in puddles, explored the rushing fairy stream, and discovered how the ‘regular’ world of camp can turn into a dripping jungle. In the early mornings of these rainy days, you could find our team in the camp office, looking at multiple forecasts, scouring the radar and hourly predictions, debating the various options for outgoing camping trips and for other outdoor activities (which are almost all of the activities at The Nature Place).

The theme of this last week was verbose but fruitful: ‘Oh deer, there’s a whistle pig in the garden!’ Woodchucks (or groundhogs, depending on your word choice), deer, and pigs with whistles populated our morning shares and humor throughout the week.

Quotable quotes from this week:

  • A camper talking about the bean salad they made, “It was so good, it was like magic!”
  • A camper commenting on a counselor who laughs a lot, “She must have a whole bunch of laughs inside her!”
  • A counselor asked a child, “Are you making any friends at camp?” The camper replied, “The whole camp is my friend!”
  • A parent speaking to a child about their upcoming overnight:
Mom: Do you want to take a small stuffed animal with you to sleep with?
Camper: No, I’d be too scared to lose it.
Mom: Are you sure?
Camper: Yes, besides camp has already given me something.
Mom: Oh yeah, what’s that?
Camper: New friends!

Some of our activities from this past week:

  • Hula hoop musical chairs, Name That Song charades, a fast-paced rhythmic high-five game, and trying not to laugh at funny songs in Music.
  • Hearing stories and learning all about deer and their “limiting factors” in a game called ‘Oh Deer!’ with Nature Alex.
  • Making yummy granola in Cooking with Eva (pigs love oats, a granola staple). This activity also included an outdoor dishwashing station and reading passages from Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemna for older groups.
  • Learning how to make cordage in Outdoor Skillz with Joe, as well as stalking and silent moving through the woods.
  • Creating an all-camp mural on a large piece of canvas, using pastel, watercolor, and tempera paints in art. Camp groups collected plants from the woods and gardens and then used these to make prints, creating their own art-garden on the canvas! Each camper took home a piece of the community project.
  • Playing ‘Deer in the headlights’ (an indoor flashlight game), building a whistle pig machine, and creating skits about why the groundhog/woodchuck is called the whistle pig in Drama with Janet.
  • Learning all about bears, getting to see how big different species are in relation to our own size, and playing ‘How many bears could live in this forest?’ with Nature May.
  • Hanging out with a cockatoo, wallaby, snapping turtle, cool constricting snake, and a sugar glider in Outragehisss Pets.
  • African drumming and games with Mashobane.
  • Climbing up the tall oak tree which is our camp’s ‘climbing wall’.
  • The continuation of this summer’s story with Chuck, swim lessons down at the pond, Games with Leah, Nature with Ed, and plenty of rain for everyone!

Hobby choices on Wednesday included archery, climbing, drumming and games, farm, hammered plant bags, knife skills, lip-balm-making, mucking with May, skit builders, terrarium-making, “There’s Stuff for Pizza in the Garden” (pizza-making), and wood working (napkin holders).

This coming fifth week of camp’s theme is ‘Terra-tactile’. You can imagine getting in touch with the earth, feeling your way through things, and making bad puns about flying dinosaurs.

The camping department and Scott Dunn (Director of Programming, iron squirrel extraordinaire) will be busy again next week. There are three day hikes planned, four Almost Overnights, three backpacking trips, and two Delaware River canoe trips – one flat water and one white water.

Storytelling with Chuck Stead
We’re so sorry we had to reschedule last week’s evening of Storytelling with Chuck, but are so excited that it will instead be happening this coming week, at 7:15 pm on Thursday, August 2nd. The evening will be as entertaining as ever, and Chuck is not to be missed.

Remembering Summer
Our fun, end-of-summer family evening, featuring an outdoor slide show, dessert, and music, will take place on Wednesday August 8th. All of this, plus camp families and friends, along with camp counselors, activity leaders, and administration will make for a wonderful evening. More details to come.

Please note: We have five spots left in our Art & Earth program and five spaces left in Passages. Farm and Garden Days has ten spaces left. If your family is interested in enrolling a camper in one of these three programs occurring the week after Nature Place ends, the time to do so is now.

These last few mid-late summer days have been full of the sounds of cicadas, and the evenings resound with katydids and crickets. Only a few fireflies still light up the fields and forest, and cool mornings have been giving way to hot afternoons. To enjoy this beautiful summertime with your wondering children is a joy and privilege.

See you next week.

With thanks,