BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Evelyn Passejna swooped her net through the meadow and caught a monarch butterfly.
Passejna, one of the counselors for Camp Wild at Clarkston Family Farm, let each of the campers take a peek at it before releasing the butterfly back in to the wild.
Camp Wild was held for three sessions for five days a week as children learned about many aspects of the world around them. It has been so popular a fourth session is added for the week of August 17.
“This year, our farm felt it was essential, to if at all possible, offer this much needed safe, fun and unique program regardless of the cost and planning,” said Chelsea O’Brien, Clarkston Family Farm Executive Director. “It’s simply what’s best for kids and we are so glad we did. Camp Wild is so awesome this year.”
She added amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they added new systems to combat the spread.
“It has translated into an incredibly innovative and very individualized camp experience,” O’Brien said. “With 100 percent of our our activities outside this year, not only are we safer, but we all loving all the close contact with nature.”
The daily themes at Camp Wild include Wonderful Wetlands, Marvelous Meadows, Fantastic Forests, What’s Under Our Feet and Getting Our Thumbs Green.
O’Brien explained in What’s Under Our Feet the campers learn about soil and composting. During Getting Our Thumbs Green, they explore the ecosystem at Clarkston Family Farm.
“It helps to engage kids, of all ages and abilities, in the natural world while supporting next generation science standards in a way that is student-directed, hands-on and always a lot of fun,” she said. “We also incorporate art and music daily. Our all-day camp also allows us to do outdoor cooking labs with ingredients we harvest right here on our farm. Farm to table doesn’t get much better than that.”
Camper Elle Weston added Wonderful Wetlands was fun.
“We got to catch mudpuppies and frogs. I even learned about roller bugs,” she said, adding the next day her group tried to catch butterflies. “We did catch a caterpillar, a ladybug and a bunch of ants. We learned about what’s under our feet. We were supposed to shape stuff that could be under our feet (out of clay.) I made a snake pencil holder because some snakes do live underground. A lot of people made snails.”
Hayden Jasso said some of the things he enjoyed was fort building and visiting the farm.
“It’s fun,” he smiled.
Avery Wood added she enjoyed catching frogs and liked spending time with the counselors while seeing friends and making new friends.
Passejna said she also enjoys hanging out with the kids and helping them.
“I like the outdoors,” she added. “Not many kids have access to all of this.”
Counselor Gus Dietrich also like being with the kids.
“I like to see the growth and connecting with the kids,” he said.
O’Brien added the counselors have been great.
“One of the best things about camp this year is how the young adults in our community have stepped up to make sure all of our new COVID-19 camp guidelines are able to be executed,” she said. “Offering our signature summer camp during this global health crisis has been a challenge and one our team has definitely risen to. We simply could not be running camp this well without them. We are so impressed by the maturity, kindness, sense of adventure and care with which they have shown toward campers.”
O’Brien added businesses in the community have also been great as the campers need their own supplies and their own gloves during the pandemic.
She sent out a special thanks to Ace Hardware, off Dixie Highway, for donating the gloves.
Another session of Camp Wild was added for Aug. 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. O’Brien added there is still room for campers and to contact her at email@example.com.
For more information about Camp Wild and Clarkston Family Farm, visit www.clarkstonfamilyfarm.com.