If you’re a child of the ‘70s you may recall the Eagles’ line from “Peaceful Easy Feeling” – the one about “a billion stars all around.”
It’s hard today to see stars. Between ambient light and air pollution, the night sky is no longer the marvel it once was.
In the 21st century, most kids don’t get a chance to see a billion stars all around. And their connection to nature is not much better during the day.
Between schoolwork, extracurricular activities and countless other demands, they’ve got little time to themselves. What free time they do have is often spent inside, in front of computer screens and video games. Not in the great outdoors.
Among the many unheralded benefits of camp, there’s this one. It’s a rare chance for children to encounter nature in its relatively wild state. Not in a city park, or a suburban lawn – but away from crowds, in hills, forests and fields, on rivers and lakes.
Human beings are hard-wired to need nature,” notes a recent documentary, “Play Again.” The film warns of the “consequences of a childhood removed from nature.”
Camp is one place where youngsters meet nature on its own terms. Hiking, fishing, boating, just running in a field of grass, boys and girls experience nature in all its peace, simplicity and glory.
Kids watch animals unfettered by cages. (And in Maine, they may be lucky enough to spot a moose.) They discover the wonderful smell of flowers, woods and fields. They feel rain, sun, and the cool breeze of an autumn evening.
And one night, they look up in the Maine sky. There – as if by magic – they see a billion stars, all around.