Youths explore nature at Piney Run Park camp

July 16, 1996|By Sherry Graham | Sherry Graham,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

OH, TO BE a kid again. To spend those lazy days of summer exploring the world and its wonders. Well, my childhood summers have long since passed, but I enjoy the chance to recall and sometimes even relive parts of those times through my sons.

My youngest boy spent the most wonderful and educational week recently at the Piney Run Nature Camp. The camp is in its 20th year and is planned and supported each summer through the park's Nature Center.

The Nature Camp welcomed Julie Egdahl as camp director for 1996. Egdahl has several years experience as director of the YMCA camps also held at the park.

With a staff of senior and junior counselors and volunteers, the camp presented nature-based themes and age appropriate programs to 300 elementary school children.

"We try to encourage the experience of being out in the natural environment, being comfortable in nature and being able to identify trees, flowers, plants and animals found in our environment," said Egdahl. "Piney Run Park lends itself so beautifully to the nature theme."

Campers were introduced to the wonders nature offers through daily hiking, fishing, canoeing, crafts, stories, songs, games and journal writing.

"The journal writing is an integral part of the camp experience," said Egdahl. Younger campers were encouraged to record their experiences through drawings.

The children were especially excited about the canoe races and the obstacle course scheduled for the second week of camp for the campers in levels four and five. The novice canoeists in levels one to three were instructed on how to right the canoe and get back in after a spill.

My son, P.J., was a little apprehensive about this part of the canoe instruction but later declared it the highlight of his week. Canoe instructor Gail Hildebrand made sure that safety was top priority.

The camp used the experience and expertise of the Nature Center's naturalists, Deanna Hofmann and Elaine Sweitzer, along with some outside sources, to enhance the program. Storytellers Susan Roberts, Terri Freed and Lucida Detwerler wove magical tales in the park's amphitheater.

Naomi Carter provided instruction in crafts, including an origami presser for preserving leaves and flowers. Jim Roehne presented a Native American program.

A Friday evening overnight in the park is a favorite event for level four and five campers. Youths spend the evening cooking over a campfire, singing, hiking and gazing at the stars through telescopes provided by members of the Astronomical Society. Unfortunately, the weather isn't always favorable for the overnight plans, as was the case Friday, when we felt Bertha's presence.

The camp has an excellent ratio of campers to counselors, with each group led by one senior and two junior counselors and a volunteer. Many of the counselors are revered by the campers. Counselor Nick Patterson has become a hero at the Graham house.

"The level of professionalism among the counselors is tremendous," said Egdahl. "All of the counselors are very tuned in to the environment and nature. Many of them plan to continue their educations in environmental-type programs."

The Nature Camp programs are filled for 1996. Information for 1997 will be available from the Nature Center early next spring. Information: 795-6043.

Christian work camp

Christians from all over the county will join next week to demonstrate their care and concern for others as they participate in the annual Carroll County Christian Workcamp Monday through Saturday.

Adults and young people 16 and older will spend the week repairing the homes of low-income residents of Carroll County. Skilled and unskilled workers are needed.

Members of Wesley-Freedom United Methodist Church and Faith Lutheran Church plan to gather each morning at 7 a.m. to share a continental breakfast before car-pooling to the various work sites throughout the county.

Jeffrey V. Odom, pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church in Hampstead, is chairing the effort in Carroll. Volunteers are encouraged to call Odom at 374-4027 or Don and Karen Hohne at 549-3621.

Library book sale

Looking for some new reading material to spark children's interest? Check out the Scholastic Book Fair at the Eldersburg branch of the Carroll County Public Library.

The event will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 23; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 24; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 25.

Hundreds of affordable books for children and adults will be available. A few surprise characters from beloved children's books will visit the fair.

Proceeds from the book sale will benefit the county's Children's Library Services.

Information: 795-3520.

Pub Date: 7/16/96

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