RANCH CAMP PURPOSE
Build loving relationships with God’s creation by providing an intimate, fun experience with it.
SESSION 1: June 12-15, 2023
SESSION 2: June 26-29, 2023
SESSION 3: July 10-13, 2023
Session 4: July 24-27, 2023
Price per Session, per Child:
Half-Day M-TH- $80.00
Full Day M-TH- $213.00
Drop off time starts at 8:00 AM (Campers can arrive as early as 7:45 AM).
Half-Day: 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Full Day: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Registration deadline for each session is 1:00 pm EST the Friday prior to start of that session.
We have experienced our children bloom in their spirit of exploration and emotional maturity by early exposure to animals and the outdoors. Campers from Kindergarten & up are divided into age groups to experience the Ranch in teams.
Our Junior ranchers are invited to experience the ranch at a more advanced pace than our younger campers- now with more age appropriate activities and learning opportunities.
Introducing our newest program- offered to high school or above adults who want to learn more about alpaca farming and sustainable agriculture.
Our curriculum was developed to use MOVEMENT, EXPLORATION, and FUN to engage as many senses, learning styles, and development areas as possible. Not to mention the additional health benefits: children who are exposed to farm environments (DIRT and LIVESTOCK) have lower risk of allergies and asthma. (Read about it here). Not available for the full 4 day program? Single day rate is available.
While the below description offers an overview of our schedule, the magic of this place is that discovery doesn’t happen on our schedule. We must be available to receive nature’s wonder when she presents herself. We demonstrate life’s balance between finding joy in taking care of our responsibilities with being open to spontaneous moments of joy, all while keeping an eye on the weather to adjust the schedule accordingly.
Monday: Livestock Love
Our animals are the stars of the ranch, so of course the first day is fully devoted to them.
We start with a polite introduction with campers learning how to say “hi!” in a manner the animals understand to be friendly. We care for multiple species including: alpacas (of course), goats, chickens, livestock guardian dogs, and barn cats. Campers learn about non-verbal communication and respect by learning how to “talk” to the animals that have different cultures and languages than we do. While the golden rule is good, we teach to understand how others would like to be treated and entering into relationship within that context.
Some animals are cautious, and others can be very in-your-face. We also teach that is okay to set boundaries. While we absolutely encourage campers to step out of their comfort zone, we also teach that it is appropriate to interact on their own terms. We use this interaction with the livestock as a practical application in emotional intelligence, interpersonal communication, respect, and self-respect.
After campers meet and have some time to interact with the animals, they learn what it takes to take care of them. First they learn how to provide for their basic needs. This includes taking a closer look at what’s growing in the pasture. With magnifying glasses, campers will come to know the pasture as more than just grass. They’ll see the difference between yesterday’s pasture and today’s to see which plants our animals find yummy. Then we look to ensuring they’re happy and healthy. Alpacas are stoic animals, so this again requires campers to pay close attention to the animals’ non-verbal communication.
These lessons are repeated at the beginning of every morning to reinforce the importance of our responsibility to provide daily care for our creatures.
Tuesday: Forest Fun
While most camp time is spent in the pasture and around the barn, on forest day we venture down into the woods. Campers will be introduced to different trees above them and encouraged to explore the leaf litter below them. We’ll show them invasive species and allow them to help us rip them out to keep the forest healthy. We’ll look for birds, bugs, mushrooms, and animal tracks, then use our field guides to try and identify them. And if we’ve had enough rain, we’ll get to splash in the seasonal creek.
Wednesday: More Than Dirt!
This is an interesting and rewarding day for camp counselors as we explain what the compost pile that campers have been climbing/digging in is made out of. Of course while the campers initially think its gross, they realize it doesn’t smell or look like poop anymore. We talk about the tiny microbes and worms that eat the poop and kitchen scraps, turning it into healthy soil that feeds the plants, which then grow veggies. We’ll take some soil to a garden bed and plant seeds for fall crops. It is thrilling to witness campers’ journey of discovery as they realize what soil is made from and how what modern society sees as waste is actually a vital ingredient for life.
Thursday: Growing Clothes
Our final day turns to our reason for having alpacas: growing clothes! After our morning check around the barnyard and pasture, we’ll return to the picnic area to process raw alpaca fiber into a finished item. Campers will wash, card (brush), help spin yarn, use flowers and berries to dye, and weave a small wall tapestry with a loom made from sticks. We will also play with knitting machines and a rigid heddle weaving loom. They will learn the difference between different kinds of textiles and where those different sources come from.