Counselors and counselors-in-training (CITs) have been prepping for Monday’s Opening Day and the first week of Watershed Nature Camp, offering an array of outdoor activities to children ages 5 through 15 years.
This year, there will be 20 camp counselors and 16 Counselors-in-Training, including many who were former campers. They will help young children explore and enjoy nature and the outdoor environment.
This summer is a return of the traditional parent drop-off camp and there will be fewer campers in each of the groups due to COVID safety precautions. Family Camp, created during the pandemic, allowed for summer programs last year with an adult attending alongside the campers.
As summer unfolds, campers and summer staff will splash in the Stony Brook, tie dye t-shirts, discover bugs, learn geocaching and explore natural places in central New Jersey. Various sessions will end by roasting marshmallows over an open fire, by enjoying a campfire cookout, and allowing older campers to do overnight trips on the Watershed Reserve.
Camp Director Jessica McDermott said the Watershed Nature Camp staff are eager to get rolling. “Our camp staff have been so happy, motived and involved,” Jessica said. “I think that I’m going to have to help them through a task, and then they turn and tell me, ‘we’ve got this.’”
For the past two weeks, the counselors and CITs, have oriented themselves with The Watershed Institute’s environs, learned First Aid and techniques for working with kids of various ages, and gained insights into how to help campers’ interpret nature. They have also bonded together by tie-dyeing shirts and camping overnight as they orchestrated this upcoming summer’s fun!
“I love that ‘aha’ moment when kids learn something new that helps them grow and develop,” said Head Counselor Yadira Santos, 25, of Lawrenceville who just completed her first year in a master’s degree program in social work at Fordham University. “After being virtual at school for the past year, I really wanted to be hands-on this summer.”
Angelica Seracini, 20, of Brick who is a rising senior in environmental sciences at Stetson University near Orlando, Fla., is a Head Counselor of the 5-year-old group this summer. She said she “wanted to teach and show the younger generation the importance of our natural world and letting them know this is where we originate.”
Rachel Trokenheim, 18, was a camper in middle school along with a CIT in 2018 and a participant in the green architecture program in the Watershed Academy for High School Students in 2019.
“I wanted a job that would keep me active and outside,” said Rachel, who recently graduated from West Windsor Plainsboro High School South. “I think kids need to be around kids their own age.”
Be sure to check out pictures posted on https://theh2oshed.smugmug.com/ throughout the upcoming summer!