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Another Great Summer at Shaver’s Creek!

2012 camp counselors

With summer winding down and the fall semester starting up next week, our summer intern season here at Shaver’s Creek draws to a close today. While a number of our talented summer staff are staying on for the fall season, many are heading off to other adventures. We wish the best of luck to them all, and thank them for another successful season of the best summer camp around!

We’ll leave you now with a few end-of summer reflections from three of our summer environmental education interns—Thunder, Heron, and Vireo:

Discovery and Explorers Camp—What a Rush!

by Kevin “Thunder” Ber, 2012 Summer Environmental Education Intern

One of my favorite sights in the world is to see 70+ Shaver’s Creek campers running in every direction in the front yard of our Environmental Center. With the summer coming to a close, the Shaver’s Creek Summer Camp staff has now completed six weeks of Discovery and Explorer camp. A regular week of camp begins on Tuesday and travels through the week until Saturday morning. Campers do a wide variety of activities and play some of the most fun games in the world! Here at Shaver’s Creek we believe the best type of learning happens while one is having FUN! During summer camp we do just that—have fun while learning at the same time!

Kids and counselors playing a running game.

During summer camp, campers are grouped by age as either a Discovery camper or an Explorer camper. Discovery campers are usually between the ages of 6 and 8, and Explorer campers are between 9 and 11. Each summer, Discovery and Explorer campers are designated a specific theme to learn about while at camp. This summer the chosen topic for Discovery campers was plants, and Explorers learned about reptiles! Both topics are extraordinarily interesting, and the counselors loved teaching the campers about each theme. Can you think of a few ways that plants and reptiles are connected to each other?

If you ever come to Shaver’s Creek on a Friday night during a camp week, be sure to bring your dancing shoes and your singing voice for the rockin’ campfire that’s held to celebrate the week of camp! It can be very exciting, and each camp group gets to put on a performance for the entire crowd. Crowd participation is what keeps the campfire going, and it’s just plain fun! Immediately following the campfire is an exploration of the night, where counselors lead campers and their families on a walk through the night. Participants of night walks learn about bats, echolocation, owls, play fun games, and more!

Shaver’s Creek Summer Camp is one of the most fun and exciting places to be each summer! Be sure to check it out at www.ShaversCreek.org/summercamp.

A Little Camp Magic

by Gerlisa “Heron” Garrett, 2012 Summer Environmental Education Intern

This summer, I have had the privilege of being an Environmental Education intern at Shaver’s Creek. I spent the summer leading hikes, singing camp songs, playing Camouflage, counting bats, and learning more than I could have imagined about nature and the world around us. There is nothing quite like taking a hike with a child to remind you to open your eyes and experience everything you encounter in new ways. Children have a tendency to think like scientists, constantly asking questions and making uninhibited observations. I often found over the course of this summer that my campers noticed things I missed, or made observations that helped me think about things in new ways.

Never was this clearer than in the final week I spent at camp. I had the great pleasure of working with the Wee Wonderers, our preschool camp at Shaver’s Creek. These campers truly lived up to their name, and exclamations of excitement could be heard around the Center all morning long as groups explored the outdoors. One of my favorite discoveries of the summer came courtesy of the fabulous counselor Kevin “Thunder” Ber, who taught me about the mysterious and wonderful “Cylindrical Really Cool Thing Finder.”

Cylindrical Really Cool Thing Finder, aka a peanut butter jar

Now, to the untrained observer, the Cylindrical Really Cool Thing Finder (CRCTF) might appear to be an empty peanut butter jar, but don’t be fooled. Add some curious preschoolers, an enthusiastic adult, and a little camp magic, and the results can be quite astonishing. In keeping with the Shaver’s Creek spirit of discovery and exploration, I am going to share with you the age-old secrets of the CRCTF so that you, too, can experience some of the wonder and magic of camp. This is a great tool for young children, and is really portable, so you could bring it with you anywhere from your backyard to your local park—or even all the way to Shaver’s Creek!

Step 1: Find your very own Cylindrical Really Cool Thing Finder (a plastic jar with the labels removed).

Step 2: Whisper really good thoughts into the CRCTF, then close the lid to seal them in.

Step 3: Make sure the area is clear of innocent bystanders, then close your eyes and give the CRCTF a toss.

Step 4: Approach the CRCTF with anticipation and an open mind.

Step 5: Explore the immediate area and notice all of the Really Cool Things (ants, decaying leaves, insects, rocks, worms, tree bark, etc.) your CRCTF found!

Step 6: Repeat.

Exploring Special Places with Poetry

by Christine “Vireo” Esche, 2012 Summer Environmental Education Intern

Nature has inspired countless beautiful poems through the millennia. The shapes, smells, sounds, and intrinsic human connections to its mysteries can stir some of the most powerful emotions and creative imagery for anyone, young or old.

Children are especially adept at tuning into the music of the natural world and developing a connection with it. Furthermore, if they are encouraged to seek out a special place, be with it for a while, and write a poem about it, they may surprise you with the level of creativity and profundity they can produce.

For your reading pleasure, here is a wonderful poem written by a couple of campers here at Shaver’s Creek during the last week of summer camp. The special place was the stream in Turtle Glen—a magical corner of Shaver’s Woods about a fifteen-minute hike from the Center.

 Trickle of water finds its way

Looks as if it’s here to stay

Two paths meet here as one

To perform the magic that must be done

Water drops keep in the air,

Appear as acrobats at the fair

The fabric of water is torn by rocks

Sitting here, I do not ponder clocks