This past summer, Big Laurel was excited to re-open. We hosted four summer camps. This year's ecology theme was "The Food Chain." Campers explored how organisms obtain their energy, and learned about omnivores, carnivores, and herbivores.
A new theme of Social/Emotional Learning was also added the curriculum. As a part of our new Pallottine Foundation sponsored initiative, "Resilient Minds, Active Bodies."Big Laurel incorporated lessons to encourage kids to find peace and calm in nature through hiking, gardening, swimming, and being outdoors.
Campers learned that when our brains gain more oxygen and our bodies are in the sun, the serotonin levels in our minds rise, boosting our moods and allowing us to be more focused and calm.
Before participating in camp's Resilient Mnds, Active Bodies, 66.67% of middle school and high school girls claimed to know ways to calm themselves down when they got worked up. After participating, the number increased to 71.43%.
Before camp, 55% of elementary school girls said that they can usually describe how they are feeling. After camp, that number increased to 63.64%.
Before camp, 91% of elementary school boys said that they felt like they could be themselves. After camp, 100% of those same students said they felt like they could be themselves.
After participating in a camp's Resilient Minds, Active Bodies, 90% of all students said that it is important to take care of the environment.
After camp, 100% of middle and high school boys said that nature is interesting to them.
Each ecology summer camp was mentored by a sponsoring volunteer group. We are grateful for Adrian College, St. John's Jesuit High School of Toledo, Notre Dame AmeriCorps Volunteers of Cincinnati, Molloy College students and alumni for mentoring our campers.
Re-published with permission from Big Laurel Center 2021 End of the Year Newsletter.