Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Terhune Orchard Farm Camp

Ashley spent a week at Terhune Orchard Farm Camp. To hear Ashley talk about it, this was the best week ever. All I noticed was the huge grin on her face and multitude of stories she told as she hopped in the car after camp. She had her sparkle back in full force. Even temps in the 90s and extremely high humidity could not deter her from having the time of her life.

At Farm Camp they played while they learned. They climbed trees, sprayed each other with a hose, played Arrows and other group games, and they sampled new foods. This last one really sold me. Counselor Elaine got Ashley to try smoothies, a whole bunch of vegetables -- squash, beets, and made ice cream. Okay, the last one was not a challenge for Ashley to try, but the rest were. She came home from camp with fruits and veggies she picked, which I then scrambled to add to that night's dinner to encourage her to keep eating them.

What I loved the most is that she came home genuinely happy and excited. She had counselors that were on-hand to make sure they did not get hurt (or to provide band-aids when they did). The counselors never yelled, nor did they spend their time on their phones or other electronic gadgets. If only her fourth grade teacher could have been as good.

The week made me think about what I value in education. While I do want Ashley "to study hard and get good grades" (something which was drilled into me as a child), I really want her to love learning. To be able to explore. To have adults encourage her to learn. To have a chance to fail and end up with scraped knees and come home dirty, but with a giant grin on her face. To grow as she learns. To be exposed to new ideas (or in the case of last week, new foods). To make friends. To be kind to others and have them be kind to her. To live free of electronic gadgets and enjoy it. 

A few side notes: 
Seeing Ashley climb a tree will always make me nervous. After all I fell out of a tree when I was 8 and broke my arm. I'm glad that fear does not stop me from letting Ashley climb trees. If she does fall and break a bone, it will heal. After all, my arm healed. 

While I had fun watching Ashley make crafts, I was glad she did not bring a bunch home from camp. She and a couple of new friends made boats to launch in a creek. I suspect the water-logged boats ended up in the trash, which would be better than leaving them in the stream. 

Brings back memories. I'm trying to find the picture from when Ashley was little and barely reached the 3 foot mark.

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