Do you remember a time not too long ago, when children enjoyed playing outdoors, getting dirty, and breathing fresh air as they created imaginary worlds in their young, creative minds? It was a time when children spent countless hours exploring, playing, and living in nature. A time when children ran around backyards, parks, and school playgrounds, harnessing their imagination by creating immense, creative worlds that rival those seen in movies. It was a time when children appreciated nature and all the benefits that come from it.
Unfortunately, with the rapid advancement of technology, childhood has veered away from nature, and the outdoors has been replaced with four walls and a screen. With technology literally at their fingertips, children are no longer experiencing the benefits of being in nature that many generations before experienced. According to statistics from The Nature Conservancy, in a typical week, only 6 percent of children ages 8 -13 play outside on their own and kids 8 to 18 spend an overwhelming 53 hours a week using entertainment media.
Fortunately, the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach offers a weeklong camp that gives children the opportunity to encounter nature and learn to be environmentally conscious. President’s Week Camp, which runs from February 15- 18, is open to children from K- 6th grade.
Each day, campers will be divided into small groups depending on their age. They will rotated between three Camp Teachers, where they will participate in distinctly unique and exciting, age appropriate hands-on activities. The campers will travel back in time and go on a “Native American Adventure” to learn about the tools, trade, and customs of the native people of California. They will make string out of plants, learn to weave, listen to stories, and perform music using authentic Native American instruments.
“The campers will sing camp songs, use tools that the Native Americans used, and create things,” says ENC Facility Manager Sarah Fitzgerald, who has been a Camp Teacher for the past five years.
During “Nature Play” campers will be given the freedom to explore, use their imagination, and make up their own definition of fun. Full day campers will participate in “Nature Crafting” and make stick frames and stick art, and then photograph their creations. Be advised, they will get messy making air-dry clay bowls and pots! The campers will finish off the week by building tents with sheets and tarps.
“The best part about [President’s Week Camp] is that they get to be outside all day”, adds Sarah. “There’s so much left to the imagination when you’re outside and they get to be out in the shade of trees all day.”
– Alejandro Reynoso, ENC Commnications Intern
For additional information please visit: https://encenter.org/camps/presidents/