Green Summer Camps

Summer school, all-year academic school, summer sports programs, and electronic media have become the elements of children’s summer activity in recent years. Children are kept occupied with indoor play activities. The playground has come indoors and .....
narrowed in focus. The flickering light of computer monitors and handheld game screens has replaced sunlight and fresh air.

Modern times have come to call for change in the way we prepare our children to live life in the world they will inherit. Our kids simply must find a way to reconnect with our natural environment as they grow up. The global effort to restore ecological balance will need aware participants at every level. Environmental awareness always begins with a personal sense of connection to nature.

Parents can bring back awareness of nature to a child’s experience. Summer camp has been around since for over 150 years and is still an effective way to bring back balance to a child’s life. Trained staff members of modern summer camps can guide kids back into an alliance with nature through the pure fun of camp activities. The challenges of summer camp activities are fun rather than stressful, making them even more effective for learning how we are a part of nature.

Most directors of quality modern summer camps have developed policies that encourage camper experience that reconnects the camper to nature without sacrificing the great fun and memorable friendships that are the classic benefits of summer camp. One such policy is simple and sweeping: beginning by not permitting cellular phones, BlackBerries, pagers, radios, iPods, cassette or CD players, laser pens, TVs, Game Boys or digital cameras. Children forget that life is possible without these ubiquitous accessories. Not including them in the camp experience brings children a revelation: they find out that they can actually have fun and enjoy themselves living without those things.

A camp that combines traditional camp activities such as hiking, canoe trips and horseback riding with modern ways for campers to learn about nature will succeed in instilling environmental awareness in campers. Learning is potentially much more effective because it is associated with fun and friendships.

Summer camps have added modern awareness of health and nutrition to the established means of meeting physical needs such as good hygiene, exercise, and teamwork. Modern summer camps can offer a healthy menu that still includes foods that kids enjoy. A salad bar at lunch and dinner that includes a choice of fresh vegetables and salads is an example of this. Vegetarian meals should be made available to campers who have that preference. Fresh fruit can be made available all day for snacks. Nutrition is a part of a modern summer camp’s “green” approach to total wellness that includes providing means to develop of a camper’s positive self esteem, build friendships, and promote having FUN.

When they are discussing a possible choice of a camp with a camp’s directors, parents should ask about the sustainability of that camp’s own day-to-day ecological practices. How do they conserve energy and water and recycle? What is the camp doing to take responsibility for its own environmental footprint?  Learning is a combination of information and participation. If a summer camp’s practices don’t reflect their talk, campers aren't going to absorb important messages about their own relationship with nature. Summer camps are becoming aware of the effects they are having on their immediate environment. Camp directors should be looking at the big picture and showing care for the earth as well as their campers.
Read 464 times Last modified on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 23:45
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25 Baybrook Ln.

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Phone: 630-654-8036


W7471 Ernie Swift Rd.

Minong, WI 54859

Phone: 715-466-5666