Area youth enjoying Eco Adventure Nature Camp
The Rotary Park Eco Adventure Nature Camp has been a huge hit this year with an average of 25 kids attending each week. The camp features a different theme starting every Monday.
Head counselor Bridget Curry said the camp has had a lot of new kids sign up this summer. She said after the newest kids finished camp their first week, they ended up attending three or four subsequent weeks in a row.
“The camp is steadily growing again,” Curry said.
Last year they had an average of 20 kids per week. The camp is offered for 7-14 year olds, with the average age typically between 8-11 years old.
A returning camper for the second year, Teddy Landefeld, 8, said he enjoys going to the Nature Camp because he likes going on hikes and finding tadpoles.
This is the fourth week he has attended the camp so far this summer. His favorite theme since the beginning of was Monster Quest, which was last week’s theme. He said he liked the monster theme because of the scare factor of what he learned, which he said is a “scary cool.”
“I thought ghosts were fake, but now I think they are real,” Teddy said, due to the videos and pictures that a ghost investigator brought to the camp.
Teddy said he is looking forward to next week’s theme of Shark Week because he likes sharks.
The camp, Curry said, provides a different perspective for the kids for outdoor play, which builds a fond memory of summer for them.
“It is old-fashioned outside fun,” Curry said.
Jake Sibbald began attending the camp eight summers ago when he was 7 years old.
Sibbald said he enjoyed attending the camp when he was younger because he has always liked reptiles and the interaction with the outdoors.
Now 15, he volunteers his time at the camp and receives community service hours for working with the younger kids.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said about volunteering at the camp. “It is something new every day.”
Sibbald said he highly recommends the nature camp because it changes your perspective of the outdoors.
This week’s camp, which began yesterday, is all about herpetology. The morning kicked off with the kids catching tadpoles that they brought back to the environmental center, so they can watch them grow into frogs throughout the week.
They also worked on an arts and crafts project, which began Monday morning and was finished that afternoon. The project taught the kids about the life cycle of a frog. They drew a pond and then added lily pads, eggs, tadpoles and an origami frog to their picture.
Later this week they will have a guest speaker to teach them about native and invasive animals.
Curry said the camp is all about teaching the youngsters how to be responsible about nature.
Every Friday, the kids also have the opportunity to go swimming in the pond, along with kayaking and catching minnows.
The nature camp, Curry said, is about providing the kids with a new experience and taking them out of their element a little bit. She said she tells the kids that they have to try everything at least once to break the mentality of them thinking they cannot do something.
The last summer camp for this year, “Shark Week,” will be held from July 25 through July 29.
The camp is $100 for Cape Coral residents and $130 for non-residents.