“Let’s go help feed the animals,” are often the first words spoken as a camper arrives at day camp. This is the start of another exciting day at The Barn. Promptly at 9:00 a.m., the bell rings and everyone circles together to sing a morning song before heading off with their groups to get to know each other, play some games, and start the day.
The rest of the morning is filled with a variety of challenging and fun activities. The campers rotate through different activity areas in small groups. In OLS (outdoor living skills), girls and boys learn skills needed to live outdoors, such as setting up shelters, how to build fires in all kinds of weather, cooking over an open fire, and “Leave No Trace” camping. Later, on hikes and overnights, campers use these newly learned skills to respect and care for our environment. Some campers may be enjoying Creative Arts: making a coiled piece of clay that will be a mug for a friend’s birthday, sewing a pillow, making a paper mache mask, or drawing and painting.
At the Nature Barn, children learn about our natural environment by observing and talking about the many plants and animals one finds there, by looking for insects and watching them, or by listening to different sounds. As they feed and care for the farm animals, children learn new responsibility as well as a greater understanding about the food we eat! Down at the waterfront, a canoe paddle swooshes as a camper learns the proper positions for the J stroke. Swimmers splash as they work hard on their crawl stroke, synchronizing their breathing with their movement through the water.
After lunch and playtime, campers move quietly up to the meeting circle for a BDC silent meeting. At the end of silent meeting, we loudly sing out some of our favorite BDC songs. Children choose their favorite afternoon activity each day. Will it be taking the goats for a walk? Going on a Dinosaur Egg Hunt in the canoes? What about making ice cream or ublek? Making nature wings or a nature collage? The choices go on and on!
The first Wednesday of each session, each group goes out on an all-day adventure. They might hike to another F&W camp to visit the farm animals or the garden or the tree house. Some groups hike to Gork Mountain or canoe out on the lake.
A highlight of the two-week session is the overnight camping trip. With great anticipation, the children carry their sleeping bags and other belongings to the campsite for the night, thrilled to be sleeping out and cooking their own meal. As they drift off to sleep under a blanket of stars, campers remember the day’s challenges and joys. These memories, along with many new friends, are just some of the rewards of the Barn Day Camp.