Today was a beautiful day. I took one of the ladies from the group home out for a walk and while we went along the path and looked at the birds and the stream and the flowers I was taken back for a moment to last summer.
I spent last summer living and working at Christian Horizons conference centre in Paisley. I worked as their program coordinator. The conference centre is quite large and behind the main building you will find what we call “the back 40”, which is about 40 acres of trees and trail and a whole ton of bugs. We typically use the back 40 for staff games, hikes and wagon rides. Now one day I was informed that since the leadership staff wanted to look into other ways that they could use the back 40 and needed some advice on how to do that, there would be a naturalist coming in to give us some ideas. I was told that my presence and one of my recreation team members presence would be needed on this special occasion, along with our supervisor. The naturalist arrived and we headed out to the back 40 for what I didn’t know would be 2 hours of enlightenment. The naturalist was an older man, a retired teacher and of course a lover of all things nature. The man decided to treat my supervisor and my team member and I like students in a class, an elementary class at that. He would walk and then stop and ask us to observe our surroundings. He would ask us things about what our senses were sensing….lol. We pretty much could only walk a few feet before he would stop us. He showed us flowers and gave us the history on where their name came from. He talked about trees and animals and trees and rocks and trees and dirt and oh did I mention tress. Some of this was interesting and I must say that it all seemed more interesting before we reached the 1 hour point. The naturalist would occasionally ask us questions about our program. He asked about our theme. Last summer our theme was the Horizon Jungle and I tried my best to explain to him what that meant. I believe his response made the whole 2 hours worth it, for anytime I think about it I always smile. After I told the man about the theme he seemed somehow frustrated like the theme was no good. He kind of sighed and then went on a spiel about nature again and his final suggestion was with all of this nature why don’t you do a hard wood theme? I’m sorry…..a hard wood theme? I tried to kindly respond by telling him that I didn’t think that would fly. Let’s think about this…….people spend all year waiting for their week at camp….thinking about all the fun they’ve had in the past and how much fun they will have this year and of course they arrive and find out this year’s theme is hard wood. BORING!!!!! I mean I’m not saying that in the right EDUCATIONAL setting that a hard wood theme wouldn’t be um, interesting but seriously at camp. Clearly this man was a genius when it came to nature and very passionate about it but perhaps he may had spent a little too much time with the trees. He was I think he may have offered to bring us some books and perhaps a display as well, which we didn’t end up using. We thanked the man for his time and ideas and he was on his way.
I still remember bits and pieces from our hike but nothing can be clearer than the hard wood theme.
It’s too bad it’s too late to suggest the hard wood theme to this year’s rec staff for their program. Could have been the best year yet!
~The Kindred Spirit