All in the Circle: Background & Guiding Philosophy
Last summer, 66 kids and 11 youth counselors, skilled professionals and dozens of volunteers converged to practice the skills and art of what it means to “Be Kind, Be Kind, Be Kind”. The last six years we have held six councils inviting children and youth to explore using their hearts, senses and the support of their fellow campers, the gifts and mysteries of water, the night, wild horses, wolf families and the winged ones. The camp has had quite an impact on the children, youth and families. Family members report: their children singing camp songs all year long; dreaming about what next year’s camp theme might be; counting the years until they will be old enough to be youth counselors; and witnessing demonstrations of kind and compassionate acts to the natural world, family members and peers. The camp began with 34 children 6 years ago and has grown to 66 with 10 disappointed children left on the waiting list.
Why a Creative Arts & Nature Camp?
Climbing trees, swinging from vines, building forts, digging oceans and rivers in the mud, riding horse sticks, looking for lost treasure, creating imaginary worlds, playing hide and seek, becoming animals, finding animal allies, going on adventures, having councils, making masks, creating music, discovering the interconnectedness of all things, uncovering the gift of oneself to the community, belonging to the human, and the more- than- human- world. This is the stuff of childhood that has inspired poets, scientists, authors, and lovers of life. Yet seldom do we see children play like this now.
The Creative Arts and Nature Camp includes these “secret” ingredients of this special experience that is the Camp vision is for creating a safe space for children to play in their middle childhood world. These are ways that are developmentally essential for the nurturing of healthy children and adults. The spiritual dimensions of self are rooted in these experiences, and caretakers of the Earth blossom.
From the creators of this Camp, Erin and AJ Pratt Pratt:
"We were first inspired by the richness of our own childhoods that were filled with play in the natural world. It was easy to see that these experiences for children were disappearing. We could not imagine our lives without growing up in the world we grew up in. Then our eyes fell upon the work of Geoffrey and Renate Caine, David Sobell, Richard Louv, and Bill Plotkin. Our work fully supported our vision to re-imagine a world where children once again have the rich experiences in nature that are essential to the growth of healthy lives. Children who experience a world of play and nature will become advocates of the Earth, and develop a sense of being included in a vibrant Earth community. Such a community is where one’s imagination has legitimate power to co-create a healthy world. We are passionate that these are elements we need for this human existence to turn towards resiliency and alignment with what is needed to be healthy and whole citizens of this planet and eager for your children and community to join us.