Nature Camps Teen Adventure Support Material
Service learning has long been an integral part of experiential education, and is one of the major tenets of Nature Camps philosophy. NC affirms that service is a central part of the summertime experience for teenagers. In the Teen Adventure Day Program community service ranges from becoming that older sister or older brother when interacting with younger children in various activities (Counsleor in Training - CIT role), to working upon camp and Community Service projects at Spoutwood Farm Center. teens completed a stream study survey, concluding that it was prudent to change one of the trails along the stream. They planned and constructed a new winding higher trail with unique observation points and a challenging bridge to cross.
In previous summers teens created many raised wildflower garden beds and learned how to old fashion build stone walls around each "secret wild flower garden." Still others worked together on creating a new swing area - using only hand tools: using a two man saw, cutting locust tree posts, a brace and bit to drill the holes, and finally learning rope lashing techniques to attach the swing posts. At the Spoutwood Farm Center, teens built an outside shower, gardened and harvested, designed and built large wooden signs, established stream monitoring stations and signs and more. Earlier they built an outside oven, worked on a log house, repaired fencing, and sheared sheep.
Teens eagerly participate in such voluntary "service," seeing themselves not only as autonomous individuals but also members of an intentional community – the Nature Camp Family and the Spoutwood Farm Center Family.
Working side by side, sharing physical labor, are Teen Adventure Leaders and Spoutwood Farmers, spontaneously giving the example of leadership to service – offering side by side mentorship.
What a joy it is to observe the expressions throughout all of the teens' work. Even deeper satisfaction comes as younger children use these various projects created over time!
During the first and fourth TA Trips, teens will live and work at Spoutwood Farm Center, CSA. Teens will perform farm chores -- weeding, mulching, harvesting and cooking what they harvested in the Teen Chef Program, as well as take part in new farms projects.
Spoutwood Farm is a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, a co-op with 100 members who pay or work for a weekly supply of fresh vegetables grown naturally without any chemicals. The farm is also an educational, non-profit organization devoted to teaching sustainable living on the land and reconnecting people with nature.
NC will continue to combine structured TA activities with experiential challenges and "plain hard work" to build responsible problem solvers who become stewards of the environment as they pursue productive lives.