Camp Badger: Day 5
Our final day at Camp Badger was ‘Bird Appreciation Day.’ The campers not only took care of the birds, they also performed some serious house cleaning! Their first task, which they took very seriously, was to find and collect the birds’ eggs. However, the birds were even more determined to keep their eggs hidden! The kids wanted to check in on the ducks and Emmy Lou in their nesting boxes, which – as you can imagine – might not have been very relaxing for the birds! We explained to the campers how it might feel if someone kept barging into their sit spot or waking them up from a nap.The kids immediately understood, and one sat down beside the chicken coop and said, “I’m just going to stay here and build trust with the ducks.” This perfectly encapsulated how much they have learned about patience and understanding.
The campers helped us soak Louise and Ray’s feet in Epsom salts and change their bandages, then patiently waited while adding their unique brand of moral support. Ray once again fell asleep in one of our camper’s arms as he was getting his bandage changed – he’s her bond animal for a reason! All the campers were surprised to hear Louise cockadoodledoo’ing all day, and one commented, “I think Louise needs a watch!’’
After all of their hard work, the campers took a break to make healthy, plant-based pizzas with Chef Shirley. As they were making their pizzas, Mathew showed up at the backdoor to fix the fence with his pickaxe. The campers all screamed, “SASQUATCH!” and ran out the front door laughing! They’ve grown very fond of lovingly teasing Mathew, and they made sure to feed him all of their leftover pizza crust so that he would have the energy needed to play with them further. They filmed him digging with his pickaxe for their action movie!
After lunch, it was time disassemble the campers’ beloved fort. Although they jokingly called me a meanie, they understood that we need to leave nature better than how we found it. They stated this was the saddest free time ever. I asked them if they had ever heard of the saying, “Don’t be sad because it’s over, instead smile because it happened.” They said that person had obviously never met a fort as cool as theirs before, but realized they will always have the memories they made inside it. They asked me if they had to dig up Longtail McSqueekerson Braveheart too. I said that is something that can definitely stay in the forest.
We built an altar on top of poo mountain to host a surprise closing ceremony. We had made each camper a diploma with a photo of them and their bond animal on it, along with unique writeups celebrating all of the wonderful things we saw in each of them over the course of the week. We then knighted each camper with our pitchforks, appointing them as true Protectors of the Animals. Chris and I joked about how silly this was when we were planning it, and it was so much fun that Peanut kept trying to climb poo mountain to stand under the altar with us (I saw her and Clover exploring the altar earlier and then sliding down the mountain for fun). Peanut and Douglas both followed the kids up at one point and Badger stayed below and watched – he is our mascot, after all! We couldn’t have ended this special week in a more heartwarming and hilarious fashion. We wanted the kids to know just how much they meant to everyone at the farm (Two and four-legged), and the animals made sure to give them a farewell they would never forget!
This was one of the most inspiring, joyous, exciting, and heartwarming weeks of my life. I am so grateful to have been a part of Camp Badger, and will hold all of the amazing memories we made together in my heart forever. I am beyond excited for future programs and future memories at Kindred Community Farm.Healing hearts—one person, one animal at a time.