I wouldn’t want to miss the summer’s blooms and the warmer fresh mountain waters at Nature Camp’s Adult Session, not if I can help it. It restores my soul, and reminds me of what we are meant to be within a whole world. I wouldn’t want to miss the energy of hopeful souls interested in being agents of change. So, when I yearn for the whippoorwills at daybreak reminding me I’m deep within the George Washington National Forest, it’s time. Time to relax, restore, and regenerate at Nature Camp.
Falling into the philosophy of Nature Camp through an introduction by the masses in summer exodus from Fredericksburg, we became converts. After years of feeling engrossed in my children’s Nature Camp stories, we attended Service Weekend, tasted the food, felt the energy, read the Conservation Pledge, and that was it. I wanted to go to Camp too. Flash forward to several years later, full of Service Weekends and Adult Sessions, and it’s on the calendar before I book anything else. Confident I will learn something new and be reminded of a lost point of interest, I don’t want to miss any of it. For me, I need continuing education and the
promise of the boundless energy of folks hopeful for what education can do. Every year’s rotating adult session–whether in June or August–delivers participating adults a peaceful mind, soul, and body restoration through reconnection with nature and like-minded souls. This year August’s warm temperatures were cooled beautifully in the George Washington National Forest, and minds were massaged and laughter flourished. Add a bit of madcap mountain mayhem, Appalachian music, dancing, and conviviality and the result is always a great five-day, four-night energetic escape. The formula works, and here Camp alumni or converts feel
welcomed into the circle and finally back at cherished days of summer camp.
Drawing me back to Camp annually are the serious academics, intersecting with wildly fresh ideas, both healing and fantastic. Creativity, clever curriculum, and organic authenticity seems the basis for the populus at Adult Session. It feels like a college camp for this reason, with freshman year’s untethered energy of running to classes so as not to miss, or skipping school because you can. One may find a perfect balance between filling every moment with learning or fading into privacy. Unique to Camp life are reminders we forget in our modern over-obligated lives: to look up, to listen to nature, to nurture our innate needs to be outdoors, to laugh, to speak our truths, and to dance like no one’s watching. Sounds surround from Big Mary’s Creek and invites rock-hops to Table Rock for a slide and swim, or searching for elusive dragonflies or salamanders. Where else can we do that?
To feel a part of a bigger picture of hope, conservation and education, is to be at Nature Camp. And to share it with someone who yet doesn’t know Nature Camp, who will love it, and love you for sharing, that’s the gift. The gift of restoration for body and soul.
by Krista Samson