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Rapp Nature Camp is set in southern Rappahannock County, Virginia and is a summertime day camp for boys and girls ages 8 to 16 years old. The 2021 Summer Session was our 36th year! Enrollment information for the 2022 Summer Session can be found here.
The goals of the camp are:
• to awaken an interest in our wonderfully beautiful and diverse natural surroundings
• to observe living plants and animals in their natural habitats
• to understand the role of human beings in this shared environment
• to have fun and make new discoveries every day
Campers explore the forests, meadows, rivers and ponds of the Singing Creek property and surrounding areas, including the Shenandoah National Park which is within walking distance. The camp’s home base is on the Hazel River, two miles west of Route 231. Some of our favorite places to explore are: the Hazel River, Frog Pond, Secret Garden, Puckwudgie Tree, Azalea Rocks and our own individual Quiet Spots.
Most of our campers are Rappahannock County residents; some come each year from far away and are visiting grandparents or other relatives who live in the county. Our mission is “to allow individuals, especially children, to discover for themselves the wonder and beauty of the natural world, and to understand what it means to be a part of a community of living things.” The camp’s motto is “Nature lessons are life lessons.” Our activities are almost all outdoors and are focused on community building, nature observation, and respect for the natural environment and its inhabitants. Everything we do is oriented towards such “life lessons” as developing listening, confidence in public speaking, vocabulary, working cooperatively, art and music, and imagination. Each camper has a special “Quiet Spot” and spends “Quiet Time” alone, just observing nature. Every year, the campers write and draw for our 16-page annual newsletter.
Our on-site staff consists of the camp director, two adult assistant directors, a camp nurse, and usually at least one young counselor-in-training. Lyt Wood, the camp’s founding director, is an arborist, forester, alumnus of the Nature Camp at Vesuvius, Virginia (see naturecamp.net), and an experienced teacher and educator of natural history subjects. The camp’s home base is on his property, “Singing Creek,” three miles south of Sperryville on the Hazel River, within walking distance of Shenandoah National Park.
Over the years, Rapp Nature Camp has been made possible by tremendous volunteer support. Neighbors allow use of their properties, and volunteers have built the camp barn, a footbridge over the Hazel River, and the Frog Pond which is the focus of our habitat studies. Volunteers also help with registration and serve as visiting instructors. For many years, one former camper’s parents have donated, delivered, prepared, and served all food and supplies for our one night of camp. So Rapp Nature Camp is a true community effort!
See some photos from 2017 here.
“Here at camp and many other places, I’ve seen many forms of nature. From creek to mountain, from forest to beach. And I’ve found to adapt, learn from it, and respect it…. The creek teached me about life. Everyone is a stick that falls into the creek. You flow through life hitting bumpy rapids with problems. When the stick is stuck on land or between two rocks then life is over. It’s a fact that we’re all sticks in the creek, it can keep moving or it can stop at any time.”
-Joe W. (camper 2007)
Photo Credit: Top Header: Session 2 Campers Bottom: Campers beekeeping.