Recently, I watched with a smile as my two girls, now 7 and 10, ran outside in their bare feet, on the still partially snow-covered ground. Eagerly, they worked in unison (a proud parent moment) to catch the dripping sap from the maple trees to be collected and boiled down into delicious, pure, homemade maple syrup.
It was the usual busy, weeknight with dinner prep, baths, and homework, still to be completed; but I knew how much their minds and souls needed to feel the earth, air, and trees after a long and cold winter and too many days spent indoors. The effect the simple act of getting outdoors had on them was profound—we breezed through the nighttime routine with giggles and grace.
As parents, we feel a sense of obligation to involve our kids in sports teams and other organized activity as it teaches them important emotional, social, and physical skills and builds their self-confidence. But, fewer of us feel the same sense of obligation when it comes to getting our children outdoors and allowing them to explore and experience the natural world.
Despite rigorous data that shows that frequent exposure to nature leads to less childhood stress, increased concentration, less anxiety, better physical health, and a greater capacity for creativity, we remain an increasingly indoor-oriented society—even in warmer climates.
While much of the joy in Camp Bil-O-Wood is found in the friendships developed, the memories created, and the skills learned, we can’t underestimate the benefits reaped by the amount of time spent outdoors and actively engaged with nature.
Our summer program offers an excellent environment for bridging the nature gap and finding a better connection. Not only do we offer the benefits of organized sports, the adventure of wilderness exploration, the satisfaction of personal growth and development, and a lifetime of memories & friendship; but also, our setting and the structure of our program provide the right tools to reconnect with the Mother Nature.
We are honored and proud to be celebrating seventy years of summer camp success. As Bil-O-Wood transitions to the fourth generation of Ludwig ownership, the Spirit of camp is as strong and infectious as ever, and the need for “camp-time” is more important than ever before!
As we reflect on the past and look toward the future, we feel immense gratitude for the experiences we’ve had and will continue to have at summer camp. There’s no place we’d rather be.