Week Five at Camp

August 5, 2018
The Nature Place

It’s hard to believe we have one week of camp left at The Nature Place this summer! Time really does fly when we’re having fun.

What a week for weather we had! Torrential storms made for an interesting, wet 5th week of camp, but our good spirits, the hard work of activity leaders, the camping department, and our counselors made lemonade out of lemons. The theme of the week was ‘Terra-tactile’ and featured lots of sensory exploration, inspiration drawn from the earth, and dinosaur themed skits. This week also featured the Barefoot Zone – the ultimate tactile experience – when campers were able to let their feet, which are usually encased in shoes, wander through some of the following: rice, birdseed, beans, water, air, humus, ice, sponges and more. The last item was the biggest hit – red and green jello!

Quotable quotes:

  • A camper upon returning to camp after an overnight in Harriman Park, “Ah, back to the world of the humans.”
  • A young counselor, looking out at Friday’s storm with wonder, “Torrential downpours – the earth’s garden hose!”

This week at camp:

  • Outragehiss Pets brought in a giant marine toad, a rabbit, a monkey–tailed skink, stick insects, rats and a milk snake.

  • In Storytelling with Chuck we heard about Buzzy’s new challenge and Tessy’s continuing run-in with nature.
  • Campers wrote songs in Music, using some of our traditional camp songs as inspiration for parody.
  • In Nature with Alex, campers practiced sense meditation – opening up each sense one by one. They also played keeper of the fire, which required them to use their quiet, fox-walking skills and focus with all their senses.
  • In Cooking with Eva, campers were paleontologists in the kitchen! Younger campers made kale chips using dinosaur kale, made butter, and excavated a root vegetable ‘fossil’ from salt dough. Middle aged campers (relative to our camp ages, not campers in their 50’s…) made dinosaur eggs – hard boiled eggs were encased in a vegetarian meatball mixture and then baked (like a scotch egg, if you’ve ever had one). Older campers took part in a cooking challenge, making food based on the provided available ingredients. All dishes in the food challenge had to somehow incorporate dinosaur kale!
  • In Outdoor Skillz campers practiced creating arrowheads and spear points using pressure flaking techniques.

  • In Art, campers created clay and plaster molds, using plants and other natural materials to create beautiful patterns after the plaster dried.

  • In Drama with Janet, campers played the tactile game show, ‘Name that stuff!’. They also felt their way through the woods and forests, blindfolded, identifying what they encountered through ‘feel’ only. Campers also learned about a pterodactyl who could only express BIG emotions.
  • In Nature with May, campers learned all about turtles and tortoises, seeing the differences between sea turtles, ‘regular’ turtles, and land-lubbing tortoises. Campers also explored pollinator plants and their pollinating friends the hummingbirds, moths, and butterflies.
  • In the Garden, campers had fun getting down and dirty with the compost! We played with worms, learning about how they help turn food waste into fertilizing gold, layered compost materials and mixed potting soil.

Last week was a big week for our camping department. Scott led two groups through white and flat water on the Delaware River, backpacking trips nimbly maneuvered through the weather, and many almost-overnights had a grand time setting up tents, eating outdoors, and then ending the evening with a campfire before returning home for the evening.

Our next and last week of camp is themed ‘Pond-er This’. The week will be full of aquatic animals, water games, pond exploration, deep thinking, and more! We’ll certainly have a lot to ponder this week: the fun we’ve had all summer, the friends we’ll miss over the year, whether we’re a swimming pond or a nature pond kind of person…

The week will also feature a few final day hikes and camping trips, including group Q’s two-night rock climbing trip, where they’ll scale world-class rock face in the nearby Shawangunk Mountains.

Our all-camp Harvest Day will take place on Thursday morning, and the rumor is we’ll be harvesting onions and beets, and lots of ’em!

Don’t forget that Wednesday, August 8th, at 7:15 pm will be our end-of-summer celebration. The evening consists of a camp sing-along and slideshow from the summer season, and is a chance for campers, families, friends, and staff to gather together and celebrate the concluding camp season.

Before The Nature Place comes to a close we’ll send you a message detailing our early bird enrollment opportunities for next summer, 2019, which give you the opportunity to enroll for next season at a discounted rate.

I’ll see you next week for our last week together (unless you’re joining us afterward for one of our three week-long programs).

It has been our pleasure for you to trust us with your children this summer, a responsibility we take seriously and joyfully.

With thanks,