2023 Summer Day Camp
To Friends of Rapp Nature Camp
We are happy to report that Rappahannock Nature Camp is alive and well! 2022 was a big year of transition for camp, and we are now on a new and stable footing. The first relatively normal summer since the pandemic was a joy. It brought four amazing groups of campers to explore, discover, and rekindle connections to nature and our camp community that will carry on to enrich their lives. You will get a glimpse of the discoveries made, treasures found, and questions asked when you read this year’s News from Singing Creek (coming soon!).
2022 started in uncertainty for Camp, with Lyt Wood set to retire and nobody ready to take the Camp Director position. Rachel Bynum, an organic vegetable farmer, School Board Member, and former environmental educator, decided in the early Spring to become Camp Director over the course of the year. Ahead of Camp, she had the opportunity to brush up on outdoor education training and learning, especially through wonderful Perennial Campers outings led by Lyt. She loved being a Counselor for four weeks this summer, creating a deeper connection with the place, the campers, and the camp community, as well as enjoying playful and mindful discovery in nature.
We have chosen the theme “Wonder” for the 2023 Camp season. This stems from Rachel Carson’s wish for all children to maintain that natural sense throughout their adult lives. Camp will maintain its spirit but will continue to change as it always has, as we try to keep Nature Camp appealing and accessible to a wide variety of kids and families with different needs and backgrounds. Lyt will take on the role of Artistic Advisor and continue as Facilities Manager, and he will lead Perennial Campers activities. He will still be present part time in the life of Camp and will continue sharing his wonderful music. Nina Anderson will return as Assistant Director, bringing her many years of Camp and teaching experience to the table. Rachel and Nina have started a process of re-vamping the education and discovery activities at Camp together. Sessions will run in 2-week pairs, with alternating sub-themes of “cycles and change”, and “connections” in nature. Gus Garcia plans to return as our affable Camp Medic next year as well.
Rachel brings love for the outdoors and concern for the future health of our communities. Accessing nature through one’s own perceptions and feelings can be a key to a happy and healthy future for our kids, and Rapp Nature Camp provides a unique place in our local and wider community for this to happen. A goal for Camp this year is to increase enrollment, hopefully to pre-pandemic levels. Working with connections in our local schools, we hope to attract more campers. We hope you will help spread the word to children and grandchildren of local families about Rapp Nature Camp as well.
This October we enjoyed our first ever Rapp Nature Camp Fall Gathering. We shared a delicious meal together at Azalea Rocks with several dozen campers, camper families, and friends of Camp, provided by a PATH Foundation grant. The feeling in the clear Autumn air was one of happy community fellowship and simple celebration that our 38-year-old camp continues to thrive. We are planning on a Spring Community Potluck on Saturday, April 15th.
As we finish up the 2022 year and look forward to the next one, Camp does have some financial need in order to continue in good health. We are grateful to our past donors, who have seen us successfully through this transition. We plan to continue to offer subsidized tuition rates for campers to keep camp affordable and accessible. We also will continue offering generous scholarships and have plans to improve the common spaces in our facilities. We estimate that the actual cost per camper of Camp is over three times our tuition. This means that any donation you can make to Camp, large or small, will make a big difference in keeping Camp going, and with it the special discoveries, connections, and nature lessons that reverberate in our lives and communities.
Thank you for being a part of the Rappahannock Nature Camp circle! May it never end.
Rachel Bynum Ann Simon
Camp Director Chair, Rapp Nature Camp Board of Directors
We are deeply thankful again this year to the Emily Jane Hilscher Passion Award Fund, the people who contribute to the fund, and the Hilscher family for their continued support both for Rapp Nature Camp and the many children for whom they have provided scholarships over the years. Emily’s passion and love of nature lives on in the wonderful and profound experiences of our campers year after year.