For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. -Matthew 18:20
This one verse in Matthew is so important to the work we do here at camp. We experience God all over the place. In all the activities we do, whether swimming in the pool, playing on the Aquagon or making crafts, we know that God is with us. We feel His presence; we are grateful for the blessings He gave us; we love and feel loved. All of this we do gathered at Lakeshore in His name for the whole week.
This year we plan to build an additional place to gather—an outdoor classroom. This intentional space brings experiential learning to life. In an outdoor classroom, designated areas for climbing, gardening, art, messy play, building and music are the means of discovery and learning in the surrounding natural environment. The classroom will feature raised beds tended by campers, outdoor drums and xylophones, tree stumps and a hill slide to climb on, building blocks and more.
Research shows that outdoor classrooms are linked to positive learning, enhanced imaginative play, increased physical and mental well-being, and environmental stewardship. It has also been shown that free outdoor play helps children develop important interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, self-confidence and educational skills such as literacy, math and science. Not only would an outdoor classroom be a scientifically proven, positive experience for our campers, but also a great introduction to environmental education for retreat and school groups.
One of Lakeshore’s core values is to teach and model creation care and the appreciation of it. The Outdoor Classroom will be an intentional place set apart for free play and discovery of nature. In a culture where children spend most of their time indoors, on screens and at structured activities, this area will allow campers a rare opportunity to guide their own time in nature.
The outdoor classroom will be located next to Archery and the Slingshot course, so that campers waiting their turn may participate in activities just as exciting while they are waiting as they do when on the archery line. We aim for the whole activity period to be just that…full of activity. Lakeshore believes this addition to our programming will be an integral way for campers to experience life, love and the God of grace.
If you are interested in creating a new place for campers to gather and discover nature, please consider giving to the Annual Campaign.