All in the Circle: Camp Philosophy
Last summer, we held two camps. A 5-day overnight Youth Leadership camp and a 5-day camp called Council of the Wild Forests. Altogether 43 kids, 10 youth and 10 youth counselors, skilled professionals and many volunteers converged to practice the skills and art of what it means to “Be Kind, Be Kind, Be Kind”. The last 8 years we have held ten camps inviting children and youth to explore using their hearts, senses and the support of their fellow campers, the gifts and mysteries of water, the night, wild horses, wolf families and the winged ones. The camp has had quite an impact on the children, youth, and families. Family members report: their children singing camp songs all year long; dreaming about what next year’s camp theme might be; counting the years until they will be old enough to be youth counselors; and witnessing demonstrations of kind and compassionate acts to the natural world, family members, and peers. The camp began with 34 children 6 years ago and has grown to 66 with 10 disappointed children left on the waiting list.
Why a Creative Arts & Nature Camp?
Climbing trees, swinging from vines, building forts, digging oceans and rivers in the mud, riding horse sticks, looking for lost treasure, creating imaginary worlds, playing hide and seek, becoming animals, finding animal allies, going on adventures, having councils, making masks, creating music, discovering the interconnectedness of all things, uncovering the gift of oneself to the community, belonging to the human, and the more- than- human- world. This is the stuff of childhood that has inspired poets, scientists, authors, and lovers of life. Yet seldom do we see children play like this now.
The Creative Arts and Nature Camp includes these “secret” ingredients of this special experience that is the camp vision is for creating a safe space for children to play in their middle childhood world. These are ways that are developmentally essential for the nurturing of healthy children and adults. The spiritual dimensions of self are rooted in these experiences and caretakers of the Earth blossom.