This summer I've noticed a growing trend with day camps in our area - they're spending more time teaching kids about the environment and recycling. It's a natural trend, when you're outside, to learn about things outside, but it seems to be more deliberate recently, which I love.
This summer the Medford Boys and Girls Club have been doing a program they are calling "Green Racers" with help from the Boston Museum of Science. Green Racers teaches engineering skills as they campers design cars to see which will be the fastest down the track. During the second half of the summer they will work to incorporate wind power into their designs. All the vehicles are made from recycled materials and in this day of "buy, buy, buy" the campers learned about the fun of repurposing and reusing things like shoeboxes, spindles and CDs.
At the half-way point through the summer they held a race and entered the program into a National Grid competition celebrating 20 years of Energy Star. You can see their entry and vote for them through August 2nd on the National Grid Competition site. Please click and vote!
I have to admit I'm biased, both my children attend the camp and my son won the race they held!
My son also attended Cub Scout Day Camp in Medford for a week this summer. It is held the base of the wind turbine that is located in Riverbend Park behind the McGlynn School. This is the second year that the camp asked me to come speak about the wind turbine (since I am the City's Energy Efficiency Coordinator and work with "Windy"). This year we decided that I should also talk about recycling when I met with the campers. It was amazing to me how interested the kids were in the wind turbine. I actually had to tell them that if we didn't move on to talk about recycling, we'd run out of time before we got to the game!
The topic was very timely as their entire art program this year used recycled materials that they turned into crafts. On the last day there were tables full of robots, vehicles with wheels that rolled and other interesting creative constructions.
Both organizations have been eager to have me help them implement recycling at their facilities as well, which always make me feel good!
If this is the direction that standard day camps in our area are moving, I definitely don't feel the need to search out special "green" camps and opportunities for my children. Better yet, I know that all the children in our area are learning that recycling is good and that living naturally and being green is normal!
Read more about green living at Alicia's blog, Green Lifestyle Consulting.