Nature Camps Teen Adventure Support Material
Reflections on the Teen Adventure Program
As the season has come to a close and I am once again taken aback by the maturity and growth I witnessed in the teens over the last four weeks.
The “Explorers” (as we affectionately call them) took over camp activities last Thursday, leading creative hikes, games and crafts, and fully convincing me that camp would have run smoothly even if Don, Jen and the counselors had been sucked into a vortex under Funland for the day. What a joy it has been to watch them flourish with each week’s programming.
The first week had them stepping into what was a brand new role for some, and the group quickly came together during service projects, overnights, and day camp activities. The second week’s brutally hot 21-mile bike trip led them to the fairy wonderland of Spoutwood Farm, and their stay was equal parts farm-life-reflection, sensory acclimatization, and half-day sessions on topics spanning from Native American crafts and edible and medicinal plants, to healthy cooking and the ins and outs of making biodiesel fuel. We had great luck with weather all week on the Appalachian Trail, and while the hiking was long and strenuous, our walking meditations, encounters with thru-hikers, the wildness viewed from overlooks, and the tasty meals at each campsite were well worth it, not to mention the beautiful evening in Harpers Ferry and an exciting whitewater rafting trip on Friday.
So the fourth and final week back at camp was pleasantly familiar and restful, but with something new in the air. There was a knowingness in each teen’s eyes, a feeling of admiration from the campers, a strong web of friendship built from shared experiences both challenging and fun, and a new air of maturity sensed by my fellow counselors. They had made it back to camp ready to share their experiences with all of us and excited to be filling their integral role in the camp dynamic.
They gave many heavy goodbyes at the end of camp, but I could tell that they knew the adventure wasn’t over. The present moment and near future seemed equally exciting and full of wonder, with new friends and skills with which to navigate the days between now and next summer.
--Ben Currotto, Teen Adventure Coordinator