Summer Camp is More Critical Than Ever
By Frances Sanchez
With summer just around the corner, we are excited to announce registration is open for Cibolo Summer Camp. We are happy to offer weekly camps all summer long, especially since the past year and a half have left us, especially the kids thirsty for ongoing outside play. Linda Charlton, director of the Nest Nature School at the Cibolo Nature Center, says children have experienced some form of trauma because of the pandemic.
“Just not being able to do what they had planned to do, seeing people in masks even though it’s a good thing that we did everything we could to protect them, it’s still traumatizing,” said Charlton.
At the Cibolo Center for Conservation, we firmly believe that children learn best through sensory play. The Cibolo Summer Camps provide children and teens with a safe space that fosters a deep love of nature through various hands-on activities. Every camp session invites and encourages curiosity and inquisitiveness. After being cooped up inside for months, getting outside is just what many of these kids need.
“The thing about nature is that nature heals. So being outside every day, immersing yourselves, doing sensory play, and even just feeling the sun on your body helps kids heal,” said Charlton.
On any given day, Cibolo campers will get up close with bugs, reptiles, amphibians and perform many other fun outdoor activities like learning archery, hiking, or spending time in the creek.
When schools moved to online learning, children started spending more time on the internet and less time outdoors. Charlton says those kinds of changes can rewire a child’s brain in ways that we do not necessarily want. Less time outdoors also meant that children were not exercising or moving as much as before.
Attending a nature camp like the ones offered at Cibolo Summer Camp can positively impact your child’s health in more ways than one. For instance, Charlton says being outside can even improve a child’s long-range vision—something that is often impaired when staring at objects up-close on a screen all day. Camp is also a great place to develop fundamental social and emotional skills that children can carry over into adulthood.
Each week camp will be led by trained counselors who will also follow CDC guidelines to ensure campers and staff safety. Nature and art camps are available for children ages 5 – 12. A new program focused on advanced learning in science and wildlife biology is available for teens ages 12-15.
As we continue to progress out of the pandemic, children might need to learn how to socialize again. Even for children who have been attending school regularly during the pandemic—the school environment has also changed. The highly trained staff at Cibolo Summer Camp can help your child with this transition through the various activities they will be exposed to, such as playing in the creek and learning to identify wildlife.
There are also plenty of opportunities for your child to expand their creative minds in our art camps. These sensory-filled activities involve weaving, braiding, twisting natural fibers, and much more. Whether your child is into science or not, Cibolo Summer Camp has enough programs to appease any child. More importantly, we want children and camp goers to create a sense of ownership over the Cibolo.
“There is a beauty to being rooted in a particular place. That is what we want to help do is root you in the Cibolo so that you can have a relationship with this land,” said Charlton.