I can't believe summer is over. I know, everyone is saying that right now. This summer I worked three jobs: sailing instructor for a women's sailing program, parks & rec summer camp director, and server for Dinners at the Farm. These jobs, plus the regular activities of summer, kept me busy—so busy that I haven't written a blog post since Mother's Day. In addition to keeping me hopping, my work got me involved in lots of different activities with people of all ages—individuals doing interesting, valuable, activities that connected them—and me—intimately with nature! How lucky am I?
The women's sailing program brought me together with a group of women ranging in age from mid-40's to 70-plus years old—remarkable, energetic women who wanted to learn how to sail and to be out on the water enjoying the summer evenings. They sailed rain or shine.
As director of the parks and recreation summer camp, I spent my days with campers who ranged in age from kindergarten to 7th grade, CITs (Counselors in Training), and counselors who ranged in age from 8th grade to college. The camp's daily activities included arts & crafts, board and card games, gym and field games, and field trips. During my days at camp, I was happy to see that when you put a group of kids together with balls, scooters, hula hoops, etc., they will play until sweaty and exhausted. The campers arrived each day excited to play in the gym or visit a nearby pond to catch frogs and look for snakes and snapping turtles. They were also happy to make play dough, create paintings, build popcycle boats, etc. in the arts & crafts room. The campers knew the rule "no electronics," and few challenged it. I think they were so busy playing with each other that they didn't miss them.
My final role this summer was as a server for Dinners at the Farm. The dinners celebrate Connecticut farms, food, and community with delicious six-course meals served under a tent in the fields of three local farms. These benefit dinners are created with locally sourced ingredients that are often harvested hours before they appear on a plate. At each dinner, we served 100-200 guests who all arrived excited about the amazing dinner they anticipated eating. They were also happy and proud to be part of something bigger—a portion of each ticket sold is apportioned among six beneficiaries, all locally-minded organizations whose missions are to provide healthy, locally grown food to school children, to supply urban deserts with local, fresh produce, to preserve Connecticut farm land, and to support farmers as they grow a strong, diverse agricultural landscape for our state.
I sometimes get frustrated and anxious with the proliferation of electronics, commercialism, and laboratory-produced foods that seem to have taken over our lives. They separate us from the rhythm of the earth and the natural cycle of life. This summer affirmed for me that lots of people—young and old—are still willing and eager to plug in to nature and to have a ball with it. Sigh. I hope your summer was nature- and fun-filled too.