I was recently browsing through our wonderful WNC weekly paper-the Mountain Express when I came across a very interesting article that once again made me feel that what we are doing here at Camp Carolina is so important. The article highlighted how even here in Asheville and Western North Carolina where we are literally surrounded by beautiful nature people are not getting out and about and enjoying it. This “issue” now has a name-it is called Nature Deficit Disorder and it is becoming more and more common. People are going from home-car-office-car-home and never experiencing or embracing our natural environment-and not feeling good because of it!
Once dropped off at Camp Carolina-EVERYTHING involves nature. When the boys go to sleep at night they can hear the rain on the tin roof, the wind rustling the leaves plus the animals that call CCB home- night birds, deer, coyotes, racoons, skunks etc. Some boys are lucky enough to spot these animals in the early morning before the hustle and bustle of camp gets under way. The boys walk from their cabin to breakfast after the all up bell. They see the squirrels collecting breakfast, see the fog lingering in the valleys and spider webs spotted with morning dew. Everything is encouraging our naturally inquisitive boys to ask questions in this new and exciting environment. The boy’s curiosity is now switched on and they WANT to know why the spiders web has dew on it. How the spider managed to make that web. What the spider is going to eat for breakfast. And now they are engaged and the questions begin!
They are not missing their ipads or iphones. They have a creek running through camp and can build dams out of rocks and see how it affects the water flow. They have newts to find near the trout pond and discover why they are hiding in the environment they have chosen. And the TV is now a thing of the past-they have their friends and the outdoors to keep them connected after dinner camping in the forest. They are happy, engaged and learning-without the aid of any technological device… Just their curiosity and a counselor with a funny accent.
It is easy to get into a routine with children. Home, school and sport training become the everyday and not much changes that up. Sometimes children need a change of scenery, change of company and a change of education to encourage them to think outside the box, become engaged with what is going on around them and to utilize the curiosity and inquisitiveness that children naturally have. It is incredible to see our campers enjoying, questioning and learning about all things nature at Camp Carolina and we hope that our camp parents can get out and about and enjoy the fresh mountain air and local forests on opening and closing day as well!