“It’s like a year-round summer camp.”
My husband had taken our kids to a Thanksgiving-themed STEM activity at Rhode Island’s new Adventure Base Camp, and I was peppering him with questions. I’d been disappointed that I wasn’t able to bring the kids to the activity. He, however, was thrilled to take my place. He eagerly described how expansive the property was, the team building activities they had prepared for the kids, and the (and I quote) “whimsical” feel of the whole thing. He didn’t have to describe the STEM activities – the kids wouldn’t let him get a word in edgewise.
“We made slime!”
“We wrote secret messages – with CRANBERRY SAUCE.”
And the one they are still talking about, two weeks later, “We made OUR OWN BUTTER.”
I’d been eagerly anticipating the opening of Base Camp. A year ago, when I spent a day with the Narragansett Council Boy Scouts, I heard murmuring about their vision of more for their beautiful 100-acre Champlin Scout Reservation. Home to the Scouts Summer Day Camp program and used for various other BSA camping and programs, the administration wanted the property to be accessible to even more kids and families. When the Scouts contacted me this October to let me know that Base Camp had officially opened, I was thrilled.
I grew up hiking, camping, and being kicked out of the house to “go play outside” on the weekends. I fondly remember making elaborate families out of pinecones (the tiny ones made perfect babies!), spending hours making forts in the woods, and climbing on anything that I could find to climb on. My own kids are similarly happiest in nature. I send them outside and they are off on an adventure created by their own imaginations. They become wilderness explorers, frog hunters, and scientists intent on understanding their world. They run and climb and investigate until they are dirty and exhausted and satiated.
I don’t think kids need much help or structure to find adventure.
Adults, however, often do. When I kick the kids outside on a Saturday morning at home, l inevitably find myself toiling away to defeat the undefeatable piles of laundry, bills, and other endless housework and chores. Saturday morning turns into Sunday afternoon, and suddenly the weekend has slipped away. The house still isn’t clean (because with small children, it never is), and I often feel I’ve missed an opportunity.
When, instead, I remove myself from my day to day surroundings, when I hand the reigns over to someone else, I can actually share in the children’s adventures. I, too, become a wilderness explorer, a frog hunter, a scientist. I marvel at insects, I climb rocks, and I play alongside my children. There is tremendous value in these types of shared experiences. They nurture our relationships with our children and our relationships with ourselves, giving us space to breathe and enjoy our lives.
At Adventure Base Camp, they strike a great balance between providing both structured activities and space for open-ended exploration of our world. The structured activities they’ve had so far have included a Wild Survival Day, Escape Base Camp, a Full Moon Hike, Basics of Car Care, and of course, the STEMSGIVING that my kids attended. But for me, the real magic is in what can happen next; what can happen when you set aside the whole day to explore alongside your children.
So this week, instead of kicking the kids outside, kick yourself outside as well. Check out Adventure Base Camp and hand the reigns over to someone else and see what adventures are in store for your whole family.
Upcoming Adventure Base Camp Events
Please note, events all require pre-registration.
December 7: Amazing Base Camp Race
Join this adventure solo or as a team! Participate in your favorite programs such as archery, S.T.E.M., and nature in unique and challenging ways. Be warned: there will be roadblocks and detours along your race! Who will win Adventure Base Camp’s first amazing race?!
December 11: Winter Hike
Join us for a Full Moon Hike through Adventure Base Camp! Our night will end with hot chocolate and star gazing. Renee Gamba, Director of Roger Williams Planetarium will be joining us to assist in finding stars, planets, and constellations.
December 14: Winter Adventure
Join us for a day of Winter themed adventure! This is the last chance for adventure in 2019 at Adventure Base Camp! Winter Adventure will consist of different winter-themed activities including snow art, winter photography lessons, snowshoeing, winter obstacle course building, archery and more!
Adventure Base Camp is a new program located in Cranston, Rhode Island. The goal of Adventure Base Camp is to allow everyone the opportunity for unique outdoor learning experiences and adventures. Adventure Base Camp is owned and operated by the Narragansett Council, BSA [a Rhode Island based not-for-profit organization] but is open to all. Adventure Base Camp is primarily open Saturdays with some weeknight events. Our program is perfect for all youth, families, Scout groups, religious organizations, sports teams and schools. We offer an open, go at your own pace program consisting of activities such as S.T.E.M., fire-building and other survival skills, nature, archery, crafts and sports. In addition we have one focused event per day. Come spend some time at Adventure Base Camp and see what your own adventure will look like.