I just returned from a deliciously cooked meal made by our very own cooks Anti and Kathy. The lettuce in our salad was harvested in our garden and the eggs we had this morning were from free-range hens we have on the farm. Right before lunch, I had three classes, sports, animal care, and gardening. Today, in animal care we started to prepare for our mock livestock auction by learning how to correctly take pictures of the animals.

Throughout the whole school year, I thought about farm camp. Which animals would or wouldn’t be there, if my friends changed, or what new plants and vegetables we would be planting. Luckily, I was able to stay in touch with four of my close friends via Facebook and I wrote letters to my three counselors throughout the year. Due to the distance, I didn’t get to see any of my friends in person. This year, my four close friends all came back. In my yurt are my four friends my age and three younger girls. Despite the age difference, we have all grown very close and attached to one another.

Last year was my first summer here at the farm and to be honest, I was very skeptical going into it. I was nervous and my family was nervous for me but I ended up having the time of my life which my whole family was very surprised too as they came to pick me up. As soon as they picked me up, my first words to them were, “can I please come back next summer for two sessions?” After farm camp, I became a lot more open to trying new things because this camp taught me to be adventurous and try new, exciting things even if you are skeptical at first. I was more willing to try a new food or take a different class at school.

One of the main things I love about camp is that it is a getaway from reality for two weeks. No technology, new people, fun animals, delicious foods. It is almost like a vacation for me. It is so different when I go back home to New Jersey because I still have farm camp on my mind and it doesn’t seem to leave until the school year starts. The biggest difference is that here at Frost Valley, I get to eat mostly meats, eggs, and fruits and vegetables that I harvested myself.

When I am at home, I just go get my food from the local grocery store. After camp last summer, I was inspired to start a small organic vegetable garden in my backyard. My parents loved the idea and even though we haven’t gotten around to making it yet, we plan to construct it this summer.

The saddest part of camp is always the last day. I am constantly thinking about camp once I get home. What I always remember most about farm camp are the songs. To make my house more camp-like, I go around my house singing all the songs I learned. Sooner or later, my family starts catching on and singing with me. I also remember the fun nights at camp, tie-dying and the dance specifically.

My favorite place at the farm has to be the swimming area. Even though the water is freezing, the area is very peaceful and beautiful. When I don’t go swimming, I sit near the stream with a book. My favorite animal is the donkey named Donkey because farm camp is the only place where I ever see a donkey which makes Donkey a little more special than the other animals. My favorite garden foods are the strawberries and snap peas. My favorite camp event is the overnight at Pete’s Pavilion. We go on an hour hike and then the whole camp sleeps outside on a hill. It gives me the chance to interact  with camp as a whole and to experience the outdoors while sleeping under breathtaking stars.

I have several things I would like to say to Ken Estabrook if I were able to talk to him. First of all, I want to thank Mr. Estabrook for making a camp small enough in size that everyone gets to know one another. Secondly, I would like to thank him for the animals and gardening aspect of this camp so that the younger generation learns that our food doesn’t come from the shelves of a grocery store. Lastly, I want to thank him for establishing a camp where children can go to learn about the world around them while still making life-long friends and passing on unforgettable camp traditions.

Until next summer,

Ruthie
Farm Camper, age 14.

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