We are so grateful for the terrific staff we had at this summer’s Farm Camp. Braving the hot, hot weather the campers and the counselors had fun with games, crafts and activities, and took respectful loving care of the beloved animals and gardens. From Parents Our family is incredibly grateful to Nicki, Leila and Sherri for providing the very best camper experience our girls have ever had. The dignity and compassion for animals and the land that Nicki shares with the children will last a lifetime. The incredible enthusiasm and love that Leila and Sherri showed for the children and modeled for the amazing counselors was contagious and confidence building. You truly provided a formative experience for our girls and all the campers. We will never forget the amazing greetings that the girls got every day as each and every counselor demonstrated love and care for the children and genuine enthusiasm for their role. The counselor staff was truly, truly awesome! Thank you for the magic you wove! From Sprouts Director Sherri: In Praise of Farm Camp Sprouts, 2018 Farm Camp is truly my favorite time of year. I relish warm summer days spent outdoors. Working with the Sprouts over the past few years I’ve watched our play area evolve into the magical place it now is for young children and their teachers. Between the middle of June and the end of July the gardens burst into full bloom and offer a perfect experience of summer abundance; a balance of colorful blooms and disarray in which children can lose themselves in a tangle of leafy growth while seeking ripe tomatoes on the vine, or perhaps the other way around, stumble upon ripe tomatoes or juicy raspberries while hiding from a seeker. There are perennial beds full of color, a tea garden from which we harvested tulsi to make tea at snack time, herb gardens buzzing with pollinators, and nibble beds abundant with tomatoes, nasturtium, kale, sorrel, cilantro, dill, cucumbers and radishes. Children wander around the play yard joyfully eating kale leaves as if they were lolly pops. This year children made and delivered gourmet cherry tomatoes, wrapped with kale and various herbs, to delighted councilors and hungry children. We also had garden starts and seeds to plant, magic for a young child. The life inside a seed is so ripe with potential. This inspired cherry pits saved at lunchtime and carefully planted around the edge of a garden bed. The children who initiated this project looked every day, making note of each and every tiny green weed, wondering which was a sprouting cherry tree. “Next year we will have cherries to pick,” they said, confident in the new life germinating underground. We saw hummingbirds, monarch butterflies and a big monarch caterpillar on the milkweed, yellow swallowtails savoring the purple bee-balm, a big beautiful green and yellow striped black-swallowtail caterpillar on the dill, toads big and small, hummingbird moths, and an amazingly beautiful and sleepy Polyphemus moth. A garden theme also enlivened our crafts this year: we made garden gnomes and pollinators, monarch butterflies and bees. We made chickens too, because Mr. and Mrs. Chicken often scratch in our gardens for bugs while we play, and they clean up the ground-corn we spill because they like to help us keep our play yard and gardens clean. The bees made the biggest impression on the sprouts; created with just a fluff of dark sheep’s wool (from our very own sheep, washed by the Sprouts on the first day of camp) and a twist of yellow yarn, they came to life as marionettes hanging from a stick. These buzzing woolly pollinators flew ‘round and ‘round our lush gardens finding the tastiest flowers from which to fill their pockets with pollen. While on our daily animal walk we would visit the partial bee-hotel and screens filled with honeycomb that were spread on the table by the goat barn. The Sprouts imagined the baby bees living in those tiny rooms made of wax, rooms that still smelled of honey. Later in the day we modeled with beeswax at story time. We visit all of the animals every day bringing Sprout-ground corn to the chickens, kale or carrot greens from our gardens to Lulu the bunny, buttermilk to the pigs on the day we make butter, and we play, and play, and play in the abundance of our gardens and in the muddy flow of the Rushing River! The Sprouts were certainly happy campers this summer, as was Farmer Sherri! joy, Sherri Gionet, Director of Spouts Summer Camp program This year was particularly enjoyable because of the enthusiasm and joy that the Farm Camp councilors brought to their work. Such a loving and caring group!