There is always a word or ‘feel’ to a camp or program that we run that sums it up. It is usually a term that comes up right as we end, with the energy and personalities still fresh in the mind. And so with our recent Aloha Nā Keiki Program, the feel was overwhelmingly “active”.
Koto picking from a holy basil bush
Here are our 5 Reasons for that choice of ‘Active’.
Meatballs for our garden inspired ʻItalian Weddingʻ soup
Our 9-12 year old’s were overwhelmingly knowledgeable when it came to gardens, and what is to be found in them, so it was with a bit of joy and energy that we would go foraging daily into the greens. We did an entire morning of finding and identifying edible flowers, herbs, vegetables, and tubers, all the while the learners were engrossed in their own conversations…and the odd excited discovery.
This particular group found the freedom of being outdoors to be the great tonic, and so we spent time debating (using a talking stick to maintain some kind of order), discussing, and discovering. Upon returning from an independent 20-minute walk, each group of participants would share their discoveries (two kinds of mushroom never seen, an old hidden shed, and a small patch of land that caught the sun’s rays for only 15 minutes) and detail the directions in case others wanted to partake. As one of our participants mentioned: “Everything is better outdoors…except sleeping”.
And the forest welcomes all
A Discovery of “Jewels”
Continuing with the “everything outdoors” theme, our group found (themselves) a huge swath of freshly shed peacock feathers. At this time every year, the males lose much of their plumage, but this is the first time we actually found so many in a small area. We called this our ‘discovery of jewels’ and each and every participant picked their own favorite style, taking them back and caring for them.
Discovery of Jewels
Conversations and Charters
Our two nights, and three days were a feast of conversations and gentle debates about everything from the concept of respect, to the benefits (and disadvantages) of technology, and on into what it really means to be “sustainable”. In our tradition, we also made a charter for how each individual would behave to others and to themselves during the camp.
Fire and its Creation
Beginnings of a fire
While we carefully monitored the building and preparing of our nightly fires, it was entirely up to the children to discuss, gather kindling, and build a safe and enduring fire. Using flint, steel, disused bird nests (found empty on the forest floor) for ‘starter’, and an ingenious little wind block, our group constructed two of the most exquisite examples of fire that we have had the pleasure of being a part of…ever. Fires provided to us what they have to so many over the generations: a safe and warm gathering spot to share, or simply go ‘inwards’. In the case of this group, it served to inspire and provide a spot to talk around long into the nights.
Active was the feel, the reality, and like many good qualities, it served to further inspire all.
The Jewel dance
Making his perfect marshmallow stick
Immersed in Bamboo