Summer camps all around Massachusetts are getting ready to start in June as we roll into the end of May. Schools are winding down, and the weather is starting to more reliably feel like summer. Gardens are going in, and the biting insect population is becoming more evident. Yes, summer is coming soon. Thousands of kids all around the greater Boston area will be heading to a wide variety of day and resident camps of all kinds and sizes. Parents are awash in a variety of choices of where to send their kids for summer. We here at Moose Hill offer a unique option for kids’ ages 3-16, Moose Hill Camp.
What makes Moose Hill Camp different from the numerous other camps in the area? Our focus on Nature, Connection, and Community.
We spend our days in Nature. While many other day camps also spend a good deal of time outdoors doing all kinds of activities, we spend our days immersed in Nature and our programming revolves around the natural world. Our campers experience Nature up close and personal. They not only learn about many aspects of the environment – plants, animals, trees, and natural cycles – they also learn what nature looks, smells, tastes and sounds like. Our goal is to connect our campers to the natural world through direct personal experience.
The natural world is full of connection. We are connected to the trees and plants through the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with our breathing and the plant’s photosynthesis. We are part of the of the energy cycle in the food we eat. And weather and climate have influence on our daily lives. Everyday our world is full of connections. At Moose Hill Camp we strive to not only build connections between campers and the natural world, but also to help campers build positive connections to other campers. Connections made at camp can and do last for years. And our connections, help build the foundation of our community.
Our community consists of our place – Moose Hill, our campers and staff, and our camper families. Moose Hill offers an amazing place to spend time together with other people. Our campers will have the opportunity to explore wetlands, forests, and fields every day. They will get to do this with their age groups, as part of the whole camp, and on their own.
Campers and staff get the opportunity each week to build small age-similar communities and experience mixed age community activities as well. Our staff also act of mentors to our campers in terms of learning new skills, nature connection, and environmental knowledge. Camp staff are in a unique position to interact and mentor campers. They are not the camper’s parents, nor are they school teachers. They are passionate, caring, skilled, and responsible adults and young adults who are here for the campers.
We start and end each camp day with a camp circle. We sing songs, perform skits, ask questions, check in with each other, and enjoy our community. We also invite parents, caregivers, and other family members to join us on our Friday closing circle to end each session at camp.
In addition to nature, connection, and community, we also focus on having fun! Camp is built on making sure that each day we have fun. The simple act of playing together, singing silly songs, getting dirty, and laughing together is a crucial part of our day. The power of play cannot be underestimated. Just as a bobcat kits learn how to be adult bobcats by playing and trying new skills, our campers learn valuable life skills such as cooperation, listening, self-efficacy, and planning through play.
The author David Viscott once wrote: The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away. We at Moose Hill Camp want to help your camper discover their gift or gifts, give them some tools to help develop those gifts, and then help build their self-efficacy so they know how to give those gifts to others. I know that this all sounds fairly lofty and maybe even a little out there. But, in my thirty plus years of working in camps and the outdoors, I know that camps can produce real magic in terms of helping to grow good kids.
I want to end with one of my favorite Henry David Thoreau quotes since this year is the 200th anniversary of his birth. If you have any questions about our camp program, please contact me, Shawn Moriarty, at [email protected].
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. –Henry David Thoreau
We look forward to reconnecting with our returning campers, and welcoming new campers into our community.