Youngsters explore nature, art at camp

Published 8:48 pm Monday, July 22, 2019

It was a hot ticket, and a hot time for the rising sixth- through ninth-graders who took part in last week’s Tidewater Summer Camp.

Sponsored by the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society and the Suffolk Art League, and funded by the Birdsong Trust and Chorey & Associates Realty, the free camp let participants explore the arts and the outdoors over the course of the week.

Besides painting and working on an art project using recycled objects, campers took trips to the Great Dismal Swamp, Chippokes Plantation State Park and Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield.

Email newsletter signup

The camp was at its capacity all week, and Sandra Councill, a board member with the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society who organized the camp, said the week was a success.

“This is my passion, so for me, for the most part, it went great,” Councill said. “The children were great. I really enjoyed the children.”

On the first day of camp, 15 students created a river painting with the help of instructor Cindy Quesenberry, and they also made Gyotaku (fish) prints on bubble-painted paper with Amber Abernethy.

Later in the week, Suffolk Litter Control Coordinator Wayne Jones taught campers about keeping waterways healthy, and they created fish mobiles from plastic bottles, marbleized paper and made solar photographs of sea life.

Campers went on three field trips, allowing participants to spend time outdoors exploring the Great Dismal Swamp with Kevin Sary of the Suffolk Visitor Center, fossil hunting at Chippokes Plantation State Park and canoeing at Windsor Castle Park with Yancey Powell and Cameron Crannell of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The canoeing trip was followed by ice cream at Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor.

Danny Jones and Ronald Portal, both 12 years old, attended all five days of the camp. What was the best part?

“Spending time with friends,” Jones and Portal said as they were sitting side-by-side eating lunch at a picnic table on the final day of camp at Windsor Castle Park.

While Bailey Jones, 11, only got to attend the canoeing trip in Smithfield, she said it was a fun experience that she would try again, but in November when it’s not as hot.

“I liked everything,” Jones said about canoeing. “I can’t choose one part. I had been kayaking once, but I didn’t actually really kayak. I was scared of tipping over, but I did not tip over.”

Hayden Thompson, 11, said she also enjoyed the canoeing, especially since she didn’t tip over.

Powell and Crannell made sure of that, giving the campers a safety lesson before everyone got into the water.

With life vests on, they learned how to steer the craft and spent about two hours on the water before returning for lunch and ice cream.

Councill said she was excited for the kids who got to participate, as the camp allowed her to share her love of the arts and nature.

“We were filled, we had a waiting list, we had children from all kinds of schools,” Councill said. “That makes me happy.”

The campers were also excited, still buzzing about their trip while eating lunch.

“I’m sad that it’s over,” Portal said.