Curtis Carman

Splashing Our Way Through Summer!

When I was asked to write a blog about Outdoor Adventure Camp 2023, I had to really stop to collect my thoughts. Eight weeks of Outdoor Adventure Summer Camp at The Parklands had just flown by, and I realized that this was the first moment I’ve had since camp started in June to really reflect on the experiences of our campers and rangers over the course of an amazing summer.

It was a summer of firsts in many regards for our education program- even in our 9th consecutive summer of camp. It was the first summer that we hosted a 7-10th grade age group for the entire summer, it was the first summer that we taught and led kayak instruction in-house, and we hosted the largest groups in camp history.

Over the course of eight summer weeks, we hosted 80 kids per week anywhere from kindergarten through 10th grade.  The campers tromped, splashed, paddled, and peddled all over The Parklands nearly 4,000 acres while learning to appreciate this fantastic public resource. Activities abound at camp including fishing, kayaking, archery, and biking. However, the heart of Parklands Outdoor Adventure Camp is creek walking. Kids in all age groups love getting a chance to get up close and personal with Floyds Fork. Building dams, seine net fishing, scooping a crawfish up in your hand- these are all experiences that can leave a lasting impact on a child. When students are allowed time to explore the creek on their own terms, they develop a deep-seated connection to The Parklands and to our Kentucky landscape.

While in the creek this summer, campers had a chance to see crawfish, snakes, frogs, toads, turtles, salamanders, mink, bald eagles, kingfishers, and more than 25 species of fish up close and personal. Hardly a day went by at camp where we did not visit the creek (save for some rain caused floods)!

While the creek certainly makes Parklands Outdoor Adventure Camp special, what truly sets us apart from other camps in the city is the quality of our counselors. Each one of our 15 summer staff members worked their tails off to provide a fun, engaging, and meaningful experience for our campers. They are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and have endless patience. We could not have had such an amazing summer without their hard work.

One camp parent reached out to let us know just how impactful our work was, “I just wanted to thank you and the counselors and rangers for such a great experience for my kids. Your program is truly great. The kiddos are sad to see this week end, as well as me! I enjoy hearing about their days at camp …they love it! Hopefully the kiddos can be back for Winter Break Camp! Thanks again for everything you and the rangers do to provide such a great place for kids!”

While we are sad to see the summer end, we are looking forward to kicking off fall field trip season! Before we know it, Winter Break Camp will be here!