Week 4 Overview

P1050337This week, nearly 200 youth and teens came out to Farrington from Boston Refuge Youth Enrichment Program, Cambridge Children and Family Services, Margaret Fuller House, Cambridge Community Center, and a first visit from Waltham Boys and Girls Club. Many times at Farrington, campers coming out to Farrington are experiencing their first visit to a natural area outside a small city park. Especially on hot, humid days like we had regularly this week, campers really struggle with dealing with the bugs and the heat. We at Farrington do the very best that we can to ensure that campers have the best time that they can despite these challenges. We start the day each day with having campers participate in a 4 corners activity that allows us to see what campers are nervous or excited about for their visit to Farrington.

We definitely notice that children who have not been to Farrington before are much more anxious about their visit to Farrington, in particular, about dealing with the bugs and the heat. It’s wonderful, then, when those same campers realize through the activities that we run at Farrington, that nature can provide a lot of joy, even on those hot, humid days.

When Waltham Boys and Girls Club came to visit, one camper who had run over to the “Very Nervous” to be at Farrington corner in the morning, came up to our Program Director, Brianne, to update her on how he was doing. He said, “I’m so sorry I said I was nervous about being here this morning. I’m having so much fun!!!” While not all campers will come up and tell us they’ve had this transformation, the number of smiling (perhaps a bit tired) faces that get on the bus in the afternoon really remind us that we are providing a connection and a feeling of comfort in the natural world they may not have otherwise.

Of course, we have some help in getting the kids comfortable with nature. The animals at Farrington, both those we take care of and those who live in the wild perhaps play a part too. Nothing livens up a hike more than finding a tiny toad in the grass. A visit to the pond is better when the crayfish, tadpoles and frogs abound. Snakes elicit a WIDE variety of reactions, but always excitement. Even when those wild animals hide from the heat (and the hands of wandering children), our farm animals oblige. Campers love getting the chance to hold chickens, feed and pet rabbits, and feed and pet the goats.

The goats have become like the dogs of Farrington. They follow campers wherever they go, waiting for the delicious, delicious fresh leaves the campers bring, and sometimes, we can even get the goats to take off running to follow a group of campers. This year’s goats are a mother goat and her kids (get it, kids?), and they are often a favorite of the campers.

With this week’s relentless heat, we often adapted our plans to make sure campers were happy and safe. Our animal friends definitely helped keep the spirits high.