For the 3rd year running, Green Caterpillar Overnight WoodlandKids’ Camps were back at the Wilderness Festival, for young explorer’s who love to live on the wild side!
With both nights' camps sold out, the buzz of excitement and anticipation filled the air. Through games and activities, we explored our new setting. This year we had relocated our overnight camp across the woodland ride, into an equally beautiful area of the ancient Wychwood Forest, set within the Cornbury Park Estate.
Leaving the heat of the day at the woodland edge, we welcomed the shade of the ancient oak and ash, whose out reaching branches offered us much appreciated protection, coolness and at times even a breeze.
Introduction games sparked friendships and before too long shelter groups were created, conversations ignited and common ground found.
Signs, Sounds and Symbols of the Forest were explored through multicultural woodland crafts, nature based activities and games .
With our new pizza oven in action, we each designed, created and cooked our own 'Pocket, Pitta, Pizza' (try saying that after a busy day!). Energy levels were boosted by our very favourite, campfire cooked doughnuts, dipped in sugar - naughty and very nice!!
As darkness fell, we left the woodland to bathe in the vastness of the open hilltop field, bordering our woodland camp. The cloudless sky revealed its sparkling jewels - some pointed out constellations, while others tracked satellites and planes. Shooting stars were gone before we all saw them; filling those that did, with an excitement similar to receiving a surprise present.
Night-time came all too quickly, we drew closer to the warmth of the campfire and stories were told, riddles were broken, songs were sung and a few fears of a night in the woodland kwelled.
While some took it in their stride, others really pushed their boundaries by sleeping out..... in an ancient forest ..... under a tarpaulin shelter ..... without the security of a family member.
In the morning before returning to the beat of the festival, not only a hearty breakfast filled the children, but a sense of satisfaction, a confidence boosted, a fear overcome - a self-esteem built a little higher; and for us ....the knowing that we had given these children an extraordinary experience that hopefully they will remember for a very long time.