Notes from the Outpost: A Return to Nature
When you take a walk around Camp Chi, nature’s role at camp becomes immediately apparent. Sunlight peaks through the trees as you take in the chirping of birds coming from the
towering pines. Strolling through the back of camp, you notice the faint trickle of a bumbling brook rising from the serenity of the sunken ravine. The air filling your lungs is clean and soft, with a freshness all too rare in everyday life. Sitting within 600 wooded acres, you are always surrounded by nature at Camp Chi. Yet at times being so immersed in the outdoors all summer long, nature can slip towards the back of our minds, becoming the background rather than the forefront.
Moving into our 101st summer, we are bringing the outdoors back to Camp Chi. Through a number of initiatives, we are moving nature back into focus. With a return of overnighter camping trips, the hiring of a dedicated Outdoor Adventure Specialist, and many more activities in the works, our Camp Chi Family will be able to re-immerse themselves in the natural world. At the front line of this return though, is The Outpost Village.
The Outpost Village is a brand-new outdoor adventure specialty camp at Camp Chi for Summer 2022. For two weeks, rising 6th-8th graders have the opportunity to return to the natural world. Through a wholistic and individualized approach to outdoor education, campers will gain a deeper understanding of how we relate to the natural world, and how it in-turn relates to our everyday lives. With exclusive activities such as trail-building and natural arts, custom yurts to sleep in, and a sprawling native plant garden, there’s no better place for kids to reap the benefits of nature while developing life skills.
The Outpost Village was designed to get kids back outdoors. Due to the global pandemic, our youth have never spent as much time indoors, in front of screens, stranded away from the natural world. As a result, they are not gaining the wholistic life experience that nature could be providing them. Nature provides an uncharted world where a young mind can grow. Out of doors, the imagination is given free reign to explore its own creativity, continuously advancing its own boundaries. When building new worlds in an open field or the edge of the woods, children can exercise their creative minds uninhibited, allowing for exponential creative growth.
Problem solving and executive functioning are also given room to grow outdoors. How exactly does one cross that creek without getting wet? And how do we get this stick fort to stay upright? The natural world is full of puzzles, waiting for a young mind to invent new ways to solve them. The creativity, confidence, and new skills gathered in nature are an unparalleled booster of a child’s social emotional health. The chance for observation and reflection can produce a healthy sense-of-self, solid self-worth, and a vivid worldview. There’s no healthier place for a growing mind than the natural world.
Leading up to the start of the Outpost Village in Summer 2022, we will be running a blog series called Notes from the Outpost, this blog being the first in the series. We’ll be giving you updates on the formation of the Outpost Village, along with ideas and activities to help you integrate the natural world into your life year-round. Stay tuned for special posts about Winter Nature Activities, Judaism and Nature, and much more!