Summer Solstice!

Dear Parents & Friends,

When was the last time you milked a cow or goat or fed a baby calf?  For many of us, maybe never or perhaps just a few times.  For these campers here at camp it happens every day.  Like clockwork, these animals need nurturing and care and they get the best.  Few farmers have the time to devote to a few calves much less one.  These calves get lots of attention and are loved all through the day.  I think the calves get as much satisfaction as the campers.  Our farm makes it possible to experience so much hands-on farm fun which the average child wouldn’t get to do or be a part of.  Picking food that you will eat later that day or week is special and priceless.  We talk about our food a good bit and I hope you see why.  It’s not so much the end result but the process of farm to table.  Agriculture for human consumption rates high as we plan for our future and this planet.  I would like to think that we’re maybe perking some interest in campers who one day might devote their lives to feeding our world.  It’s a big job and will need lots of smart and dedicated people to tackle world food consumption.  We have a great batch of those here with us now.

I talked earlier in the week about how being outdoors enhances learning.  It’s bound to calm you down and make you more attentive to the many roots that run deep, are connected, and relational.   A woman named Darcy teaches our Camping Skills and Nature activity.  I could spend the day exploring with her because there is so much out there to see.

We definitely know that nature greatly benefits the overall mental health of children. Studies have proven the effects of playing in nature, being away from the “screen life”, collaborative living, positive role modeling, under-scheduling instead of over-scheduling, gaining resiliency and much more.  Each year we all see the effects of the complicated choices and lifestyles that children are exposed to.  Some of those choices pull them in directions that aren’t always what’s best for their own mental and physical well being.  Camp is a haven where they can thrive, guided by young adult role models through their camp journey and toward positive measurable outcomes.

The American Camp Association recently published an article on Anxiety and the Importance of Play: An Interview with Shimi Kang, MD.  Just click on the title and you’ll be taken to the article.  After reading this, I think it’s something you as parents would be interested in.

As many of you know today was the longest day of the year.  It was a pretty day at camp with a thundershower right during rest hour and was timed perfectly for camp’s schedule.  We all celebrated the Solstice tonight on the Gatehouse Green looking out toward our Blue Ridge Mountains.  There were stories, songs, skits and time together in this beautiful place.  Mountainside went down to the farm tonight and Riverside joined our Solstice Celebration and was the last to leave the sunset and the fire we had in the middle of the field.  Although a bit cloudy we could still make out the lines and layers of mountains reaching to the Parkway Peaks.  We’re all reaching out here to try new things and better understand our outdoor world and how we are so connected to it.  Stay tuned!