Blog originally written for and published by Newberry Now
The last day of farm camp concludes with the reading of this book, Right This Very Minute by Lisl Detlefsen. But maybe we should start at the beginning and not the end.
Farm Camp is nothing short of a dream come true. The union of a love for farming, children, and sharing what we have been entrusted to care for is a winning combination. Ever since we began Bowers Farm, people would always make jokes, “when can I bring my kiddo out here and you just put them to work?” “When are you going to start a camp so I can leave my kiddo to learn what real work is about?” These comments were not usually meant in the kindest sense, but rather as some sort of punishment for the child. But regardless, it was a hope we had for our farm and our family, to one day be able to open up and have programming for children to learn about farming and where their food comes from.
Well, January 2021 came, and with some changes in employment, we finally had the time and energy to make this dream a reality. Through lots of conversations and brainstorming, we decided to move forward with one week of farm camp, for 12 children (13 if you include our little one) from the ages of 3-5. People thought we were crazy. And we were… crazy excited!
Registration was full in less than an hour! What?! That’s unbelievable! This is something others are excited about, as well!
Once that first week of camp was over, it was time to start planning and dreaming for what was next! Registration for our second summer of camp opened March 1st with 48 spots across two weeks for children from the ages of 3-7 and it was full within a week!
A week at farm camp includes learning about pollinators and germinating seeds, discovering the differences between a chicken egg and a duck egg, and touching, observing, and feeding the animals! It’s a week of learning about the story of the food that is on your plate at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time. So far, it has been an even split of children who have never been to a farm or had any experience with farm animals and those who may have cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, or chickens at home. Children have a natural curiosity about the world around them. They have this God-given desire to learn and discover, and at farm camp, we try our best to harness and encourage these gifts!
No, we didn’t “put the kids to work” and we’re not sure any of them really learned “what real work is about,” but they did talk their parents’ ears off on the way home, ask if they could come back and visit us again, and inquire if Farm Camp could go on for 6 more days (not 5 or 7, but 6 seemed perfect to this one little boy)! We are already in the beginning stages of planning Farm Camp 2023. We are hoping to expand the number of weeks offered as well as increase the number of children we can serve. We want to acquire sponsorships and have scholarships available as well. We are still bringing the pieces together to see what kind of beautiful picture we can create, but one thing is for sure about Farm Camp 2023 - we can’t wait!