Nature Camp

June 16, 2008 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

This morning I dropped the Kid off for his first day of Nature Camp. This will be his half-day occupation (with the exception of a couple of trips and one-week of full day camp) until school starts up again at the end of August.

Last year, the X and I had a notion of housing the Kid in gymnasium-type full-day day care “camps” for most of the summer. But we made the error (or perhaps the fortunate choice) of scheduling the Kid for one week of this half-day, all outdoor camp at the very beginning of the season. It spoiled him utterly for any other experience and we all dragged through an oppositional and miserable summer until the X and I simply gave in around the beginning of August and figured out a way to keep the Kid home with us until school began again.

So, this year we spoke with our bosses and figured out a way to make the half-day camp work. And the Kid will be able to spend his summer splashing around in the Eno and learning about tadpoles, crawdads, and the vanishing art of how to be a real kid in the summer. I couldn’t ask for a better guide in that endeavor than the naturalist who leads this program.

The Kid and I have a long history with Chris, the resident naturalist. When the Kid was barely walking I had the opportunity to sign him up for a morning, pre-school nature class. We heard about through a homeschooling group as we had been considering homeschooling at that time. I rearranged my schedule to work in the afternoon rather than the morning on those days and ferried the Kid across town to the parent-child class. I can remember the great reluctance I felt coming in to the office after those mornings in the field.

The Kid and I attended the class for several years. The last spring, the class was under-enrolled. But rather than cancel, Chris agreed to meet the Kid and I each week at the appointed time. Freed from the constraints of a group, the three of us wandered the park — off-trail and unencumbered. It’s one of those memories I know will stay with me into old age.

This morning we all greeted each other familiarly. At this age, the Kid does not retain associations on the long-term, but Chris he remembers. That makes me smile.

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Entry filed under: Piedmont.

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