Looking Back at One Special Summer Camp
Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Farm & Forest Summer Camp 2022
As cold winter days inch closer and we begin to look ahead to warmer days, it always warms the heart to reminisce back to when the sun shone brightly and the excitement of spending the day outside was the highlight of our summers. Back to when campers were filled with joy and gratitude for days full of fun and exploring. Summer camp holds space for all to come together as a community to create an unforgettable camp experience. This past summer we saw the tremendous impact fostering a creative and comfortable space to connect with the natural world had on our community. Summer camp was full of love, adventure, and wonderful newness.
Our core values encourage connection and bring a unique perspective to our camp days. Each morning we gathered together and express gratitude for the things in our lives and around us. Practicing gratitude allows each person to think about and express the things in their life that are important to them. It creates a platform for all to share, demonstrates value of the individual, and begins our day with positive self reflection.
Our overarching objective is to help children find a way to connect with nature on a personal level and really learn to care about the environment that sustains us. Only then will they want to care for our earth and become the next generation of environmental stewards. The kids clearly benefit. Unplugged time in nature helps with concentration, curiosity, focus, physical health, resiliency, and even improvements in math and reading. We hope to give our campers skills they can use when summer is over and they are back in the classroom.
At camp we encourage child led activities, which focuses on the campers wants and needs throughout the day. Activities are driven by campers interests while we focus on mentoring as opposed to a teaching/learning dynamic. This allows for the child to be seen as who they are and strengthens nature connection based on what resonates with participants through the heart and through play.
You are what you eat!
Our forest component introduced so many ways to explore, connect with, and experience the natural world. Our wonderful friends at Fire Ring Farm came up with fun interactive farm activities and helped us learn about sustainable farming and all the ways nature is healing. They also welcomed us to their land and gave us a "home base" to chill, put our stuff, hang out, play in the "mud-kitchen" and run through the sprinkler when we got hot. Thank you, wonderful friends!
Nature Mentor Leadership Training!
This past summer we piloted our first Mentor-in-Training program and got to know some amazing individuals. This program offered a leadership opportunity for young teens to learn how to become great nature mentors (staff) and gain leadership experience while exploring the natural world. We can’t wait to see how this program grows!
Through camp we emphasize the importance of community. This past summer we partnered with Kamora’s Cultural Corner, who facilitated cultural humility workshops for our staff and community building conversations with our campers. Together we explored and celebrated identity and differences. We also partnered with The Legacy Foundation of Hartford to work toward our common goal of creating opportunities for those in communities systemically separated from them. One of the hurdles we worked together to solve was figuring out how to provide transportation to and from camp - which we were able to do for the first time this summer! Our camp bus ran from Hartford for the first 2 weeks with a stop at Macdonough School in Middletown, and ran just from Middletown for the last 4 weeks of camp.
Summer camp is an environment that creates opportunities for our campers and mentors to grow and be valued for all their uniqueness. We strive to hold space for and welcome the diverse individuality our community has to offer. We continue to connect with those around us and find new ways to offer nature connection to all. Each year we learn from each other. We are excited to grow and to spend another summer outside sparking joy and warming hearts.
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