This year’s A Rocha day camp in Houston just wrapped up, with a ton of positive feedback from both the children and adults involved.
A Rocha is a Christian-based organization that focuses on environmental stewardship practices, emphasizing caring responsibly for the land and resources humans use.
The day camp was held at the new A Rocha Nature Centre in Houston, over five days, with 27 children ages 5-12 participating.
“Every day we had a different theme, and there were four stations each day. So the overarching theme was basically telling or encouraging that no matter where you end up working, whether you become a forester or a miner or a farmer, or if you decide to live off the land, in any of those jobs you can care for Creation,” said Cindy Verbeek, Northern BC project coordinator for A Rocha.
“We really wanted them to understand that sustainability isn’t about not being a part of industry, but that there’s some really great things going on in industry, and that they can care for the Earth doing those things in a good way,” she said.
Of the four stations children went to daily, there were crafts, and an educational walk, as well as one special guest with a career related to theme of the day who gave the kids a talk. On the first day, A Rocha had a forester present; the second day, saw a farmer come through; the third day hosted a miner who spoke about rocks; the fourth day, two ladies from the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society came in, to talk about traditional Indigenous ways of living off the land; and on the fifth day a few workers from Search and Rescue visited.
“We had Search and Rescue come and teach the kids about how not to get lost in the first place, but if you get lost, how to get found,” said Verbeek.
“They were talking about telling someone where you’re going, having the right equipment with you, watching as you’re walking… You know, like look back behind you, and recognize land marks… And then they gave them all a little package, with an emergency blanket and all the things that they would need to get found,” she said.
Each day also consisted of a bible lesson, and a morning song.
There was even a daily snack to fit each day’s theme. One of the snacks most loved by the kids was Rice Krispies squares with a special filling to make them look like geodes when they were split apart, made by volunteers. It fit the mining theme perfectly, said Verbeek.
“They absolutely loved it,” she said, about the children’s feelings on it all. “I had parents coming in the next day saying they didn’t stop talking all afternoon about what they did, they had so much fun.”
And one 12-year-old—the oldest in the bunch—who started off not so sure about the program, later asked Verbeek if he could be a volunteer next year.
“He must have liked it so much that he wanted to come back as a leader. I thought that was really great,” she said.
A Rocha’s Nature Centre in Houston just opened in April, but due to COVID-19 restrictions A Rocha hasn’t been able to have a public grand opening. That’s now planned for Aug. 25. All are welcomed to attend.