Storyteller & Wilderness Youth Program Family Camp
Nature education during childhood has a potent impact on shaping both environmental attitudes and behaviors in adulthood. Nature stimulates powers of observation, creativity, and a sense of peace. Research shows that spending time in nature dramatically reduces children’s propensity for violence, stress, and symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
Storyteller teamed up with Wilderness Youth Project (WYP) once again for our 5th annual Family Camp. The weekend long event took place from March 22-24, 2019, at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve on Santa Barbara's Gaviota Coast. The group came together for a weekend of camping, food, games, relaxation and earth-based skills. On Saturday evening there was time around the campfire under starry skies for stories and music. As one of the camp’s organizers, Fernando Moran said, “Storyteller has been doing its good work for 30 years and WYP for 20 years, so that means with 50 years of collective experience, we are in very good hands.” The event organizers are committed to bringing all program elements to participants in a bilingual environment so that everyone can be fully engaged. In a similar vein, event organizers provide tents, sleeping bags, and pads to any families who need to borrow gear, and provide 3 meals a day; the goal being that everyone be warm, comfortable, and well-fed during their pristine outdoor stay. This special camping experience is open to current CSPP & Head Start students and their families, and Storyteller Alumni and their families.
Working along with the mentors of the Wilderness Youth Project has been a learning journey full of wonder for the children, parents, and teachers. All school year, children keep their enthusiasm wanting to go back in the WYP van. Teachers learn new ways to approach risk, wild plants, songs, storytelling, and living creatures. At the Family Camp Out, parents finally meet WYP staff and watch the friendly reunion between their children and their mentors. In a weekend full of delicious food, games, friendship, stars, creek, fire, and community, Storyteller families fill their hearts with gratitude to the land, to the WYP staff, to Storyteller and the opportunity to enjoy nature. Altogether, we are creating memorable stories in the land every day, every week, every year. With gratitude to Wilderness Youth Project for six years of collaboration-- Alicia Jimenez, De la Vina Site Supervisor.
A few parent reflections from the weekend:
"THANK YOU. My heart is full of energy from this beautiful space. The kids, the parents are smiling. THANK YOU to EVERYONE, that made this happen. I am grateful for all of this. Howling nights, misty mornings, sunny hikes up the creek, rock hopping. Thank you mother nature"
"Thank you for working on helping us to feel comfortable, it is beautiful here. My family and I are very grateful for everything. I leave my love and gratitude, also my blessings and may God give you the knowledge and love to keep helping more people live in the future."
"Sharing moments, new experiences like these are very gratifying for our lives. Different life experiences, healthy coexistence and a special place. Thanks for inviting us again!"