By Mike Gervais, Children’s Garden Program Coordinator
When I was teaching at an outdoor school on the coast of California, we’d routinely get kids who had never seen the ocean despite living only a couple hours away. Seeing their reactions as they looked out to the horizon was amazing. It highlighted the fact that many of today’s kids are not experiencing nature the way they used to.
Kids who build healthy relationships with the natural world are far less likely to face the increasingly common challenges of childhood obesity, ADHD, depression, anxiety and many other mental and physical illnesses. “Generation M2,” a 2010 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that the average American child spends 7-10 hours in front of a screen and only a few minutes outside each day.
Thankfully, many brilliant organizations and individuals have recognized this problem and created diverse and colorful programs to get kids out into nature to expand their connection to place, community and ecology. Seattle Tilth is honored to be a respected member of this network through its fun and engaging children’s programs during the school year and in the summer. Our summer camps are full of hummingbirds, worms, sunshine, tasty veggies, music and singing, active learning games and exploration. The connections, friendships, experiences and confidence that our students build throughout a week at camp provide a foundation for healthy minds and bodies and a lasting relationship with nature.
This year we are offering camps for pre-schoolers at our gardens in Rainier Beach, Wallingford and Woodinville. School-aged kids will enjoy our famous week-long camps at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford and middle-schoolers can flex their leadership skills as Junior Counselors. 7-11 year olds will love the farm to table experience at 21 Acres in Woodinville.
Find out more and register for our summer camps.
Originally printed in Seattle Tilth’s newsletter, Way to Grow, April-May 2013.