Wild Wonder Camp Recap

This week’s guest post is by Christ Church parishioner Natalie Rutherford.

Dear Christ Church,

I write to you with a full heart after leading Christ Church kids throughARocha’s  Creation Care Camp, Wild Wonder. It was a joy and delight to hit pause on screens and traditional summer entertainment and let nature entertain for the week.

As a mother of two young boys my days are full of the messy exploration of nature. This slower life rhythm of paying attention and being astonished by nature has changed me over the years. I want to welcome others into that space. I first learned of ARocha and their Creation Care Camp, Wild Wonder, years ago at Christ Church. Even then I knew I wanted to lead children through the Wild Wonder curriculum and this summer an opportunity opened up to do just that.

The purpose of Creation Care Camp was to slow down and invite children to delight in God as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of all things. By immersing them in nature through daily devotions, nature study and play we hoped to ignite their curiosity and help them fall in love with the natural world outside their own front door.

Our memory verse for the week, Psalm 104:24, says:

           “What a wildly wonderful world, God!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” 

Our days were spent discovering these truths of God’s wildly wonderful world. We dove into the complexities of water and dirt, learned the life-cycle of plants, explored six-legged creatures, read about native animals of North America and finally finished with us, His people.

         “Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!” (Psalm 139)

A highlight for most campers was extracting strawberry DNA. It involved mashing strawberries, creating an extraction solution, and watching the mysterious and gooey DNA surface to the top. Thanks to Stacie Murphy for leading this station and giving space for kids to “ooh and ahh” at DNA, the building blocks of life!

Another favorite was our experiment with water cohesion. We learned just as the cohesiveness of water helps its molecules stick together, so does Jesus with the people of God. The Bible says that Jesus “holds all creation together”. Our water, our communities and our universe are held together through the One who created us. Seeing kids make this connection was really precious.

My personal favorite was our daily “discovery table”. In a world where often our answers are “no, don’t touch” it was a joy to be full of “yes”. We welcomed them each day to use all five senses and “taste and see that the Lord is good”. There were plants to touch, smell and taste; bright, creepy bugs to play with and draw, a mud kitchen to be messily creative with and endless books to discover. I watched them engage nature free of inhibition. . . it was beautiful. Many of them left wanting to start their own bug collection or plant a garden!

This is just the beginning. My hope is they carry the curiosity, love and sense of wonder for God’s creation into all aspects of their life where it can grow deep roots, blessing the world around them. May this wonder be contagious, spilling into families and communities so we all may fall more deeply in love with God – our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of all things.

Natalie Rutherford

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