Yes, we want kids to leave camp with smiles and memorable experiences, but our goal is to support camper growth. We believe kids can become competent, confident problem solvers and Nature’s Farm Camp is setup as an environment for kids to flourish.
It’s 2020 and, compared with previous generations, kids spend less time in nature, less time communicating face-to-face and eat more food of limited nutritional value.
Each week, we begin by telling campers we have high expectations. They are there to run the farm and have responsibilities to make decisions on how we spend our time. The novel experiences are often centered around food, but it’s not necessarily because we want the kids to become farmers or chefs (though that would be nice). It’s the lens we see the world through Camp activities – be it animal chores, building projects, cooking adventures, nature art – are designed for kids to move their bodies and stretch their brains. It’s an immersive social environment, where kids collaborate, take positive risk, think critically and develop authentic face-to-face relationships.
Being surrounded by dirt and trees, not screens and eating great food with caring, non-judgmental adult mentors, kids thrive. We see kids leave camp walking a little taller and think it’s because they have a better understanding of emotional wellbeing, are more skilled at decision making and know they can learn anything, anywhere.
This is only year six and we continue to evolve, but, based on both formal surveys and direct post camp feedback, our program impacts the kids and families from our campership program in a bigger way than those not on the program.
We also understand, in the camping world, there are fewer campership options. According to the American Camp Association, in 1961 there were more than thirty Illinois camps focused on low income children from Chicago. Today, that number is four.
We understand: you have lots of good charitable options of where to spend your hard earned dollars. Thank you for considering supporting our efforts. Help us plant more kids in nature. Help us grow the campership program. Plant yourself in nature. Leave inspired. Ready to engage and thrive.So they come back stronger, inspired and ready to engage with their communities to build a better Chicago.