These are the first weeks of summer camp at many of our wildlife sanctuaries.
Seeing all the campers with their lunches in tow, I can’t help but remember my own summer camp experience. Growing up in Maine, I was no stranger to the woods and, to me, camp was an extension of the woods at the end of our street—a place to run and play, build forts, dig in the mud, and eat plenty of blueberries. Whether the kids who come to our camps have spent tons of time in the woods, or are kids for whom nature is new, I’m jealous of their hours outside and the treasures they are about to discover.
Where else can you create and eat edible dirt, make goop, run, yell, get dirty, and hang around with some the coolest people you’ve ever met? While campers quickly learn that counselors are to be listened to, they are also not quite “adults” in the eyes of the campers, they are much, much cooler! And they are also the only people I know able to rival the campers in energy level. If you’ve seen the counselors in action, you know how much they do over the course of a day and how high their enthusiasm and energy level is.
Visiting camps is part of the job for me—a part I love—and what I get to see is amazing. Camp is a place where both kids and counselors can be themselves. I’ve had staff tell me that this was the first time that they’ve found a place where their love for nature was appreciated and shared, and not made fun of. I’ve seen kids who were terrified of bugs competing with other kids to catch the most dragonflies. I’ve also met many, many kids whose knowledge of critters not only surpasses mine, but I think some of our teacher-naturalists’ too!
And when I meet campers like this one—proudly showing off his camp patches and telling me how many years he’s been at camp and how much he loves it—I am proud to part of an organization providing these kinds of experiences for thousands of campers each summer.
Have you or your kids gone to a Mass Audubon camp? Share your experiences with us in the comments section!
For more information about our network of 18 day camps and our overnight camp Wildwood, visit our website. There are still spaces available at some of our day camps across the state and at Wildwood.