Our final day of Wild Winter Camp was one of camaraderie and exploration. After one pepper led the group in our 4-H pledge, we engaged in a messy but fun exercise of cutting paper snowflakes with which to decorate the activity center.
Campers soon dove into ideas of what makes the seasons and winter. We discussed the rotation of the earth and moon on their axis’. Campers then acted out the rotation of the moon’s orbit around the earth and the earth’s orbit around the sun. Over a cup of hot chocolate, and using a globe beach ball and a flashlight, we explored the effect of the varying angles of the sunlight on the earth as the earth spins on its axis and rotates the sun.
We had a very fun final day of garden kitchen. The campers made their own recipes for smoothies in the morning. A camper assisted by writing the recipe as the campers chose and added the ingredients. The campers voted against adding Kale or carrots to the smoothie. However, strawberries, apples, chia seeds, lemon juice and rice milk made the cut. They were very pleased with the end result and chose to name it the Farmhouse Smoothie.
When we made the soup in the afternoon, all of our ingredients made the cut. The majority of the campers like their vegetables. The soup was named Farmhouse Soup by the campers. The campers were very invested in the kitchen garden – they all participated in the preparation of the snacks. They had so much pride in food they prepared, and everyone looked forward to how it was going to taste.
Caring for our Tollgate chickens was a highlight of our week, and no less so on our final day of camp. Eager to learn more about incubation, campers thought about the factors needed for a chick embryo inside of an egg to develop into a chick, including fertilization by a rooster, regular rotation, and the correct temperature and moisture range. Each day, campers fed and watered the chickens with care, and after Friday’s garden kitchen, we stopped on our way to dump fruit and veggie scraps in the compost bin and blessed the happy chickens with celery bits and pieces.
After experimenting with fire-building, campers took time to further design and build Pepperville, their snow village not far from the Activity Center. Pepper Lounge in the forest became a favorite destination all week, and campers continued to think through the design of their debris hut on Friday. Cries of ‘back up’ were heard from throughout the beautiful warm, sunny afternoon as campers called to one another for help with branches while they earnestly collaborated on their project. Sad to leave their shelter behind, campers talked of returning to build another shelter during future camp sessions.
Throughout the week, our pepper group spent time teambuilding and playing games, learning about one another as individuals and as a group as we explored the special nuances of getting along on a team. Peak moments took place when we did a strengths inventory as a group. Each camper became the center of focus in our round robin as we each shared about a strength or strengths we observed in that person. One thing for certain that we learned was that the Wild Winter campers are strong, can do hard things, and know how to have fun at camps with new friends by working and growing together.