The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Summer Camps Evoke Excitement & Discovery

Posted by | September 7, 2017 | Filed under: Program Reports

Several weeks ago, the Reserve wrapped up its summer camp season and bid farewell to the program's two stellar seasonal staff members. Amanda Bailiff (Summer Camp Coordinator) and Mitchell Miller (NOAA Hollings Scholar/Summer Camp Assistant) were a dynamic duo, sharing their contagious enthusiasm for Nature's many wonders with children ages 6-15 over the course of seven discovery-filled weeks. The Reserve offered 15 day camps this year for the younger age set, and three week-long camps for the older campers. Each day, the children set out on the trails and used the Reserve's varied habitats as their classroom.

Campers in the field
Searching for butterflies

I was lucky enough to observe the camps in action on multiple occasions as a "fly on the wall" and witnessed first-hand the joyful teaching and learning that took place. I caught the "tail end" of a skunk adaptation activity that had the children holding a spray bottle of water behind their back and trying to hit a target with the skunk "spray." The giggling was infectious. I was there to hear one of the 6-10 year old girls energetically exclaim, with arms outstretched after viewing insects under the microscope, "I LOVE SCIENCE!" Her exuberance filled the room. There were countless moments such as these throughout the summer, when the campers were learning by doing--and loving the process.

The camp evaluations from participating families continue to stream into my mailbox, even now as school is starting. Following are some of the comments we've received:

  • Amanda & Mitchell did such a great job with the kids all week, and my daughter could not wait to go back the next day! We felt so happy having them with both Amanda & Mitchell at the farm and beach all week. :) We are looking forward to next summer!
  • My kids couldn't wait to share all they had learned, and the details in which they communicated what they experienced speaks to the counselors' knowledge base and ability to share that with kids.
  • Can't say enough nice things about this series of camp programs. Perfect length of the day--the kids were spent but not completely knocked out. Packed with interesting content. And, loved that the subjects were anything but prissy. :)
  • The scholarship was an incredible help and we could not have done two series of camps without it. Thanks you for making such a thing possible!
  • (My son) has been attending Laudholm summer camp since the age of 6. It has given him a respect for nature, a place close to home to discover and realize how important it is to have an estuarine reserve. In this age of technology, it gives the kids a break from electronics. He has enjoyed the games, exploration and creative adventures! It is a camp of discovery, both of the surroundings and for oneself.
  • They never complained about going and commented it was their favorite camp experience this year.
Campers with solar oven
Making a solar energy oven

One of the older campers, who has been coming to camp for years, had this to say to Amanda and Mitchell in his own hand-written thank-you note: "Thanks for such an awesome week of camp. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. Thanks for taking us kayaking and bringing us to all the other stuff. It really opened me up to new things I thought I would never do. Hope to see you both next year."

Many thanks to Amanda and Mitchell for facilitating such fun camp sessions, rich in learning and discovery, and also to all of the participating camp families. We look forward to seeing you back at the Reserve next summer for another season, exploring Nature's many wonders!

Camper group shot
Exploring the salt marsh



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