What does a typical day at The Nature Place look like?
Well, of course, every summer day begins with sunrise and bird song. Isn’t it wonderful, when you think about it, that there are some truly marvelous things which we can depend on daily!
But as for a camp day: campers arrive by car, carpool or bus between 8:45 am and 9 am. Counselors meet and greet the campers and escort them to their room or tipi. When all have arrived we begin the day – all campers, counselors and activity leaders together – with Morning Share in the field behind the Arts Building.
We sing, laugh, celebrate birthdays, do skits about the theme of the week, and are put on ‘nature alert’ to perhaps listen for the shrill song of the cicadas throughout the day.
Our first period begins after morning share at 9:40 am. Our day is divided into 6 periods of 50 minutes each, with 10 minutes between periods. One period every day will be swim, another lunch. During the other periods of the day groups will be scheduled for games, chickens, storytelling, garden, drama, music, archery, mucking, farming, cooking, animals, art, crafts, nature explorations, outdoor skills, troll hunting, playground time, free play in nature, water play and more. Some of these activities require more time than one period, so we schedule accordingly. We create a new schedule for each group every week, taking into account the group’s interests and dynamics.
The rhythm of the day is very important. We plan each day so that campers are not hurried or pressured, creating a balance between action and rest, as well as a balance between the kinds of activities offered. There is a slower paced schedule for our youngest campers, but everyone, regardless of age, will always have plenty of time to stop and smell the roses, or to listen to the wind in the trees, or to watch a snapping turtle swim slowly and silently across the nature pond.
The last period of the day on Friday is another camp-wide sharing time where groups present skits, re-enact an exciting story from the week and wrap-up their experience of the week’s theme.
As the camp day ends, counselors escort campers to their car, carpool or bus between 3:45 pm and 4 pm, making sure all clothes, empty lunch boxes, and art projects are going home as well.
And then, as the sun begins to set, with campers feeling good and tired after an active and healthy day in the outdoors, we say good-bye to the sun until the next morning.