Camp embraces all aspects of Ambler Farm

Jeannette Ross photos
How many camps serve gluten-free pancakes with blueberries, whipped cream, and homegrown maple syrup?

That’s what campers at Ambler Farm chowed down on last Friday.

“We cook every day with the kids,” said Kevin Meehan, Ambler Farm program director, who said campers have been picking strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Campers celebrated garlic with bruschetta and also zucchini.

“Next week is pickles,” Meehan said, adding they’ll be picking cucumbers. “We tie it in with what’s growing.”

Camp is all about the farm in Ambler Farm. The picking goes on in the educational gardens, but there’s more. There are building projects, woodworking, and there are the animals: rabbits, geese, chicks, sheep, a goat, and the newest addition, Hazel and Willow, the American Guinea hogs, affectionately referred to as the pigs.

Lots of learning goes on at camp at Ambler Farm, but as Meehan says, “It’s not about the curriculum. It’s about the experience. It’s getting kids to connect to the land. It’s creating memories.

“I want the kids to leave on Monday wanting to come back on Tuesday.

“We teach them without them knowing it. They don’t feel like they are being taught, and that’s the best way to learn,” he added. “Because the kids come back year after year we know we are doing well.”

Some camp activities are just pure fun, like the water balloon toss that pitted teams of counselors against one another after lunch.

Lunch is a community event, with campers of all ages — preschool to eighth grade — brought together to picnic on the grass or at wooden tables. Ask a camper what they like best and it’s clear there are some favorites.

Twelve-year-old Alyssa likes being able to work with the animals. She’s been coming to camp since second or third grade.

Sara, 11, who has been coming to camp since first grade, singled out holding the bunnies.

Rylee, 8, liked building projects. “We made an airplane with a flashlight attached,” she said, “and we made finger twisters.”

Nine-year-old Abbey liked building, too, but also enjoyed holding the baby chicks,

Gray, 9, also put the bunnies at the top of his list. “My first week here the bunnies were born the first day,” he said. Because they were so little they could not be held. Then Gray skipped a week of camp and came back for his second week. By this time he was able to hold them.

Claire, 9, gave her vote to the pigs. “You can pet them and they’re cute,” she said, adding she could tell them apart. Like the others, Claire is a repeat camper.

Family Day

Friday was Family Day, an opportunity for family members to visit the farm and experience what campers had been up to all week. Soon the farm was filled with parents, grandparents and younger siblings eating corn and watermelon, listening to music, getting faces painted, checking out the farm stand, and taking hayrides. Little ones, too young to be in camp, had their chance to pat the bunnies, play with the goslings, and pet the pigs.