Jun 30 2009

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The Simple Things

Posted at 8:49 am under Blog Post

Once a year, Judy and I run a summer camp for our older grandkids, ages 4 through 12.  No parents allowed.  We’ve been doing this since 2004 and each year our plans get a little more sophisticated, with organized games, arts and crafts, and a theme of some sort.  But it’s the simple things that make the get-together work – things like running barefoot in the grass, being goofy, and drinking lemonade in the shade of our old maple tree.  The rest is just window dressing.

This year, I went a little crazy building a temporary, two-story playhouse out of wood that I called a space ship.  Judy spent the better part of an afternoon painting it.  The kids loved it, of course, but not as much as sleeping in the tent, swimming or fishing.  These activities are the staples of summer camp despite our elaborate constructs.

I took some of the kids for a hike up Aldis Hill while Judy picked strawberries with the rest.  The girls picked daisies from our wildflower garden and put them in the playhouse.  Several days later, the flowers are still there, still blooming in a paper cup full of water.   On the last day of summer camp, the kids collected shells and rocks while Judy and I set up a picnic lunch on the shore of Lake Champlain.  I showed the youngest ones how to skip stones across the water’s surface.  This is a skill every child should have.

Electronic devices are encroaching upon summer camp.  Judy and I are doing our best to keep them at bay.  It isn’t easy.  Cell phones, ipods and hand-held computer games are a big part of a child’s world these days.  All the same, a boy or a girl will drop everything and chase a frog halfway across the yard when given the chance.  If they’ve learned how to spot it, that is.

Our day lilies opened up the same day that the Virginia half of the family arrived.  Hummingbirds visited Judy’s feeder while they were here, as well.  Bees gathered pollen from the flowers in the front yard garden.  Thunderstorms came and went.  We casually pointed out the beauty and wonder of all these things as the children played.  It’s a subtle form of indoctrination, I suppose.

Judy and I don’t care if the kids remember the details of our annual get-togethers or not, as long as they remember the laughter, loving and all encompassing green.  Various phrases are used to describe this somewhat complex concept but, in my humble opinion, it all comes down to one word: summer.  Let the children know that much and the world will be a better place.  Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the difference.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “The Simple Things”

  1. reneéon 03 Jul 2009 at 9:24 am 1

    what lucky children (and grandparents)…
    these are the experiences which create outdoor oriented and well balanced adults!

  2. Walton 06 Jul 2009 at 8:36 am 2

    Glad you think so, Renee. Sometimes it feels like my efforts are trumped by the prevailing culture.