Eight bright-eyed campers arrived at the Charlotte Central School Garden on Monday morning ready for Green Thumbs Garden Camp. The cool grass was still wet with dew, but the strong sunlight promised a warm summery day. Though few of the campers knew each other, we joined together for our welcoming circle, inventing garden names we would use for the rest of the week.
Fast friendships and a thriving garden grew from a week that included a balanced mixture of garden work, harvesting, tasting, cooking, storytelling, art, free play, and watering (ourselves and the plants). We were especially excited by animal visitors, including garter snakes, barn swallows, and plenty of creepy crawly compost creatures.
By Friday, it was impossible to know that many campers had met each other just a few days before. When we said goodbye on our last day, many campers eagerly exchanged information so they could play with each other again soon. Campers themselves were transformed – tentative eaters discovered new flavors and food preferences, and each of us deepened our gardening expertise. The school garden underwent a similarly remarkable transformation. All twelve raised beds were carefully weeded and planted, newly woven trellises stood tall for our climbing veggies, colorfully illustrated signs labeled each garden patch, painted pots were planted with climbing flowers stood in a row – ready to decorate the side of the new compost shed, and many of the plants had grown noticeably taller!
Green Thumbs Camp was lucky to have several community members enrich our experience. Susan Raber of Springhouse Pottery taught us how to weave willow trellises for our climbing plants. Vera Simon-Nobes and Michael Haulenbeek of Fifth Fence Farm welcomed us to their farm for a wonderful field trip. There, we petted sheep, carded wool, spun our own bracelets, and gently held baby chicks! Deirdre Holmes, Abby Foulk, and CCS Administrators welcomed us to the school and ensured that we had everything we needed for a great week of camp.
Space still remains in August’s camp session! Green Thumbs Gardening Camp will run for a second week from August 4th through 8th. Parents of rising 1st through 5th graders are encouraged to find out more by clicking on the poster to the right or at http://www.charlottevt.org/ (click on “recreation,” then “summer camps”). Questions can be emailed to Tai and Stacy at email@example.com. Read on for some great camper quotes and photos!