As Camp Director, the days I get to spend outside with the kids are the best. I have vivid memories of those days, and usually a lot of photos to boot. I wrote down this memory to remind me of all the fun we had last summer, and the future fun waiting for us this summer up in the mountains!
Time with the Hummingbirds (Hummers are 5-6 year olds)
As I approached the group, joyful chattering and squeals of laughter spilled from the trees.
Getting closer I could see a few kids lined up to leap over the river with the help of counselor Keifer. These little Mountain Kids! were building their confidence and dexterity with every leap.
Another small group were busy building a fort, working together to negotiate the best design, location and materials. Some important problem solving skills were at work here! Rebecca supervised the negotiations and construction crew, only intervening when necessary to ensure their safety.
Thomas had a third group clustered around him, listening to one of his magical stories. I love to see how the kids connect with the C.I.T.s. (Counselors in Training), responsible youth who can relate to their tender age.
I had come to make felted rock creatures with the kids. The day before we visited Los Golondrinas to watch a sheep get shorn and picked up some roving (sheep’s wool) to use for projects. Today we would turn this fuzzy mass into imaginative creatures of all shapes and sizes.
After rounding them up with a coyote howl, the kids were eager to get started. We discussed the qualities of a good rock for felting and had another briefing about river safety and buddies. With their buddy and a counselor, they scrambled off to find suitable rocks nearby.
Searching for the perfect rock is an art form, with rocks selected as varied as their personalities: Robin came back with lots of little rocks, while little Theo attempted to haul a giant boulder to the table. Jack brought three smooth, rounded rocks, perfect for medium sized creatures. The kids got to work wrapping, soaping, wetting and rubbing their rocks. Magically, and with some patient work, each rock became a soft rounded object, the kind that feels so good to just hold or keep in your pocket. Some were content with a soft rock, while others went to work gluing on googly eyes to make adorable creatures.
Everyone had worked up an appetite from all of the play and focussed art time, so we settled into a group circle for lunch. We listened to Keifer read a story while we filled our bellies with wholesome food.
After lunch, we hiked a little farther up the trail to a beautiful meadow where we played “Eagle Eye”, a game where most kids hide like mice and one “Eagle” uses all of his/her senses to find the mice while standing still. We love to provide opportunities for sneaking and hiding, a child-passion that is hard-wired in kids.
Once our play was done, we gathered up in a circle to share our “Story of the Day” before hiking down the mountain and climbing into the adventure van to head back to Santa Fe, dirty, happy and tired.