June 8, 2016
For children, play is a critical element of growing up. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that childhood play is “essential for helping children reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.”. According to The New York Times, researcher Susan Engel points out that play, from building contraptions to enacting stories to inventing games, can allow children to satisfy their curiosity about things that interest them in their own way.
In his book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder”, Richard Louv coined the term “Nature-Deficit Disorder” to describe the impact that nature has on children’s development.. He suggests that “nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.” Nature requires the use of all the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It is the diversity of sensory experiences that initiates a more creative learning environment for children. Louv states that “in nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace” which is in fact a “secret dream world” where children can explore and learn.
Some researchers suggest that there is a “moment” during middle childhood, between the ages of 6-12 years, when a child has a life-altering experience in nature. This moment can be called an “imprint” and creates a lasting impression which helps to shape the way a child sees nature for the rest of their life.
Since 1951, HoneyRock has provided a Christian camp community for children to engage in the wonder of creation, build new friendships, and experience that “imprinting moment” in nature that can change a child’s life forever.
Our Intro Camp is customized for children who are entering 3rd to 5th grade. We open an window for these children to get a taste of camp life and try out their favorite outdoor activities such as kayaking, horseriding, fishing, water skiing, canoeing and many more. HoneyRock’s outdoor activities are designed intentionally to help give campers a new and unique experience with the unfamiliar, increase their potential and perseverance, develop goal-setting skills and encourage them in their leadership.
For parents, Intro camp is specifically designed for children who are going to overnight camp for the first time. Many parents use this shorter camp session for their children who have not been away from home for a significant amount of time and need an introduction to camp. Through camp life, children become equipped with a servanthood mindset. They clean their cabins, set tables, and participate in other small service projects that teach personal responsibility and independence through these daily tasks and cabin life. Campers get a taste of camp life, try a wide variety of activities, and become prepared for the longer 12 day Residential Camp sessions.
Experiences in nature significantly impact the way that children develop, manage stress and connect with one another. As children join HoneyRock’s Intro Camp, we look forward to seeing them grow as active learners, future leaders and stewards of nature.
~written by Natasha Zeng and Lisa Therron