One of the highly, recommended, bridge-building books we suggest to families, as well as part of the bibliography we offer to our mentors and teachers, in preparation for our Summer Camps at Little Artshram, is Richard Louv’s book, published in 2009, addressing what some refer to as a pandemic of “Nature Deficit Disorder”, a term he coins in his best-selling outdoor book, Last Child in the Woods.
When developing our program curriculum, we are as informed of a variety of learning styles and energies that children come to us with. Likewise we all experience deficits, illness, and a long list of basic and special needs and wants. As a part of our work to create a fun, meaningful, creative and nature aware, learning experience with the children and youth that participate, in our programs we also recognize a critical deficit that Louv speaks of.
As I prepare for our Mentor and Teacher Training, welcoming our summer staff and volunteers into the upcoming camp and projects, I think of a metaphor that comes to me often of a bridge. I’m not sure if I can describe what happens inside of me when I see a bridge or step my foot down to begin a journey over it, but there is a feeling in my belly that always makes itself known. And it is an important guide. It’s a bit of a “take a deep breath, and take this serious” message…or… “your about to move from here to there” message. It can happen when I cross a hand-hewn plank bridge, or cross on a fallen tree over a creek, or drive in a car across a mighty bridge like the blue, high-level suspension Mackinaw Bridge. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s serious work, and I wonder if I’m going to make it to the other side.
Richard Louv and Little Artshram see the issues of Nature Deficit Disorder similarly, and I personally appreciate his book being a bridging guide for me and other educators. I also see Little Artshram as the metaphor of a bridge, I envision a long line of people, little and big, all ages, assembling in line singularly, paired together, or a group or guild of bodies, as the move-able energy directly connected to and enmeshed with the bridge itself. Our motivation is to move forward, and we are visioning our community and collective of human species all beginning together on one side, considering before we set out to cross. Next we move to the middle, carefully picking our way across, or working as actual builders, doing the necessary repair work in order to keep the bridge intact; then there are the others who have moved on ahead and are over there safely across…offering encouragement that despite the amount of time spent getting from here to there, “that it can be done”. A living, breathing, whole bridge-building system.
Here too, is an excerpt from a recent article by Louv about choice, that is also a part of the process informing Little Artshram’s work in building bridges with our programs and projects in our community:
” We have a choice. If we see only an apocalyptic future, that’s what we’ll get, or close to it. But imagine a society in which our lives become as immersed in nature as they are in technology, every day, where we live, work, learn and play. Imagine a future in which our intelligence and creativity, our ability to feel and be fully alive is enhanced by more frequent contact with the natural world.
We’re already seeing a convergence of a New Nature Movement focused on human restoration through the natural world. A new river is gathering force. At its headwaters, an expanding body of scientific evidence links the human experience in the natural world to better physical and mental health and enhanced cognitive abilities….”
To see more of this article, go to: http://www.childrenandnature.org/blog/2011/05/20/seven-reasons-we-need-a-new-nature-movement/
It’s tricky and wonderful business to balance ourselves between the virtual and real, physical world and when I stop to consider the opportunities we have to honor our mission of care-taking our Earth, each other and giving something back, I muster up as much courage as I can to take the many steps and energy needed. I’m proud of all the many hands and hearts involved over the last 10 years in Traverse City, with our version of an antidote to “Nature Deficit Disorder”. I’m also proud of the many ways of bridge-building work that Little Artshram has accomplished, and continues to repair, regenerate and work towards. I feel honored to continue to be working along side and walking along with beautiful children, amazing young people and a growing group of mentors and teachers.
Now as part of the bridge-building from here to there, we are pleased to share the updates on our Summer Camp program for children and youth, and opportunities to be with us in our lovely place near the shores of our beloved fresh-water, Lake Michigan in Traverse City!
If you have a child between the ages of 6 and 16 and looking for a meaningful, and FUN, summer-time experience read-on. If you know of a child who might benefit from spending time with a group of skilled and wonder-filled adult mentors and teachers please share this invitation, with them. Thank you!
Little Artshram Summer Camp is located at the Historic Barns Parks which is next to a beautiful, hundred acre, hardwood forest just west of downtown Traverse City, MI. Our campers are immersed in an outdoor setting where they explore and wander in the woods …follow a nearby creek, learn wild-design and art-making, along with wild-crafting skills, grow food, tend plants in a community garden, and more. We also have a indoor facility for rainy days. At Little Artshram Summer Camp we provide each camper with a safe, nurturing and exciting day, every day! We offer a variety of activities from gardening, to nature awareness and basic wilderness skills, to cultural arts, led by wonder-filled adult leaders and mentors. Thank you for considering and choosing to spend your summer with us!
Little Artshram Summer Camp is available for children who have completed Kindergarten through Tenth grades. We are an inclusive program and offer a variety of age-appropriate activities designed to increase nature and self-awareness, enhance social interaction, and help develop physical skills in an encouraging environment. Children are grouped according to current grade and developmental level. Each weekly camp is held Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm, with a fresh week of projects and adventures for campers. Minimum 12- Maximum 24 children and youth each week.
NEW! You can register on-line! Here is the link for our Summer Camp Newsletter and Registration:
We also are very proud of this new, information packed website, that shares our other great projects and programs we are working on. So please take a look through this site.
Summer Camp Registration and Fee information:
Please thoroughly complete the registration (all the info fields must be filled in), email it to the address provided. We will then send you a confirmation, assuring you of the weeks you’ve chosen as we need to meet the enrollment requirements, and ask for payment mailed to our P.O. Box. We accept U.S/greenback dollars and local Bay Buck dollars. Sorry, no credit-cards or on-line payments.
It has been our practice to carefully set our fees and value our offerings of the Summer Camps on more than a dollar value, as well as, both Michigan’s economy, and, our growing Little Artshram family and friends, continuing to inform us. We seek to bring our growing services and staff into a fair and balanced system, and pay a right livelihood salary to an incredible group of teachers, interns, and apprentices who have begun more extensive mentoring and teacher training in our Permaculture, Nature Awareness, and Art projects and programming.
If your child signs up for more than one week, if need be, you may discount the second week by $25.00. This is also the standard for siblings, one full tuition, and one discounted by $25 per week. Each individual day of camp, or drop-in day is valued at $30 per day, regardless of how many hours your child attends. For individual days, we require enrollment and a reserved a space two (2) weeks in advance. We can make some weekly accommodations, as special needs arise, but always ask for as much advance notice as possible.
We do not currently have a scholarship program, but working to implement one for families in need. If you or your family are able to sponsor or co-sponsor another child in this year’s Summer Camp, please contact our Fundraising Coordinator Jonelle Bowers for more details at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How Fantastic, and yes, we do have choices! We are looking forward to a great summer with a great group of children, youth and families!
`penny Krebiehl, Directress/Founder, Little Artshram