Our kids: The next generation of green
The next generation of green. That sounds like a tagline for a fabulous new eco-friendly cleaning product, doesn’t it? But I’m not talking about marketing ploys; I’m talking about our kids.
For any parent who is concerned about the environment, I think one of the things we strive to do well is share our values and knowledge and love of the natural world with our kids. Fortunately, this is usually a pretty easy thing to accomplish, especially with very young kids. Most seem to have an inborn love of nature. Whether it’s picking a pretty flower for mom, watching a butterfly, or planting seeds (and eating the harvest!) from the garden, kids delight in the natural wonders that surround them. In fact, there’s nothing that will rekindle your own appreciation for nature faster than taking a walk through the woods with a child.
This time of year, my kids still enjoy playing in our backyard. They like breaking ice that’s accumulated in the sandbox, building structures from new-fallen snow, sledding, and — because they’re boys — acting out dramatic battles in the snowy woods.
Of course, it’s also really easy to lose that keen appreciation of the outdoors in favor of a Gameboy or Cartoon Network or even organized sports. And with summer rapidly approaching (I know it doesn’t seem close with all this cold and snow, but I have faith!), it’s the perfect time to think about some options that might help to renew our children’s enthusiasm for the great outdoors when the warm weather and sunny skies return to central Ohio.
Stratford Ecological Center, just south of Delaware on Liberty Road, offers four separate age-based farm camps for kids as young as 3 (with an adult companion), up to 17 year olds. Stratford is a fully functioning farm and educational center, with animals such as sheep and chickens, extensive gardens, forests with walking paths and much more. Camps run for a week; fees range from $120 to $230. See http://www.stratfordecologicalcenter.org/ for more information.
Delaware Preservation Parks offer camps for school-age kids 7 to 10 years old. Camps are a week long and, in my opinion, are some of the best values around, costing just $80 to $110. Experiences vary by camp, but may offer anything from wetlands exploration to farm chores to ziplining! Details can be found at http://www.preservation parks.com/.
Local YMCAs, including Delaware and Liberty-Powell, offer day camps all summer long for kids entering first to ninth grades. Weekly themes vary, but almost all camps include outdoor sports or swimming. Check http://www.ymcacolumbus.org/daycamp_2013/ for more information.
Our local Jungle Gym has some wonderful outdoor options, as well. Adventure Camp offers rappelling, kayaking (your kids may get to see eagles in the wild!), and more. A three-day overnight camp is a more immersive option for older kids who don’t mind sleeping away from home and under the stars. Programs run from $150-$265. More details are available at http://www.thejunglegym.com/.
A little further south, Camp Mary Orton offers Adventure Academy for kids age 7 to 14. Adventure Academy incorporates hiking, environmental education, swimming, and even a ropes course. Fees range from $285-$350. Information can be found at http://www.campmaryorton. org/.
Happy summer planning!
Jayna McDaniel-Browning, a writer, artist, and mother of two, leads the “Go Green!” group for MOMS Club of Delaware. She enjoys sharing her passion for green living, good books and vegan food.