Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 18, 2005
Camp encounters our nature
Mentoring program opens campers' eyes, hearts, souls, minds
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Lac La Nonne
While tranquil sunsets and thundering waterfalls are photographers' favourites, they usually end up as stagnant, two-dimensional reproductions slid into a photo album or pinned to a wall. Eventually, the sensation of the moment vanishes.
But Doug Kramer, director of Camp Encounter at Lac La Nonne, plans to use the wonder of nature to stir and develop children's and adults' imaginations with a week-long outdoor mentoring program tailored to the importance of heightened human awareness.
Awaken your spirit
Camp Encounter will host The Nature of Mentoring from July 31 to Aug. 5 to explore the natural world to awaken spirits and develop, or enhance, life-long relationships.
"Watching a sunset is not like watching television," Kramer said. "It's slow and easy. It takes us to a place where we can see what is going on. We are completely aware."
Through a combination of lectures, storytelling and songs, discussions, group activities and peer teaching sessions, participants learn the value of nature and the importance of a community working towards common goals.
"We are trying to get people connected to a culture that helps raise children and youth. It is not about the individual, but about a community that runs the circle from a child to elders. Everyone is involved," Kramer said.
The week will not resemble a typical summer camp. While some activities might include a canoe trip or rock climbing, the context is more towards adventures focused on nature. People can expect to explore the forest, look at pond water under a microscope and track an animal. It is discovering life in its essential elements.
Kramer said he has heard interesting reasons why people have enrolled in the program. A woman wants to get in touch with nature while a single mother wishes to get closer to her children, who are coming with her. Two grandparents are bringing their grandchildren because they thought it would be a perfect setting for an adventurous holiday.
"The response has been excellent. This is a pilot project for all of Canada, I believe. We are modelling it from a project in the U.S. and they have seen enormous response. That is heartening, because we want to bring people along and introduce them to it."
A faith aspect is woven in throughout the week, not so much with intense prayer study, but more subtly through absorbing the natural surroundings and participating in open discussions.
Kramer says young and old bond together.
"We hope to raise everyone's awareness about the physical world around us and the awareness of God's creation and the Spirit. A big thrust behind the mentoring approach is getting people to pay attention to what is going on around them."
When children open up to others or to creation, they become more sensitive and more responsive, Kramer said. They tend to want to know about others as human beings and humanity's role in the natural world because they feel supported to ignite their passions. They are inspired to want to reach out to others.
"If we can get a group of people out here for more than 24 hours, we begin to see them slowing down. The natural world tends to operate at the pace where everything is slower," Kramer said. "We have ceremonies and rituals where we give thanks. Sharing comments about our lives - our struggles and triumphs - creates the community.
"People who encounter the community say they come alive. They have described the experience as a true calling."
For more information about The Nature of Mentoring or about Camp Encounter, contact Doug Kramer at (780) 967-2548 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Watching a sunset is not like watching television: It's slow and easy."
- Doug Kramer
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