The Eco Kids Rule – Another Chapter in Our Jungle Book!
We promised an update on the Eco Kids educational summer camp, and as our budding environmentalists rounded the half way mark of this weeklong educational adventure the job just got harder – not from trying to find things to write about, but by having way too many cool things to pick and choose from. There’s no doubt the Eco Kids have definitely hit the right balance between education and fun while giving their dedicated camp councillors a run for their money.
So, to pick up from where we left off, we’ll start with July 22nd, scheduled as water activities day.
Safety comes first with Eco Kids, so when it was determined that the usually tranquil Macal River was running a bit fast this day, the fun was moved to Chaa Creek’s infinity pool, showing once again that whether they be from the city, villages or countryside, all kids share a love of water. Refreshed and ready for action, the kids then broke into teams for the annual Maya ball tournament, with Tapirs v Toucans and Jaguars v Monkeys. The winning Monkeys and Tapirs duked it out in round two, with Monkeys claiming victory, and, according to some reports, the actual local howler monkeys loudly celebrating the triumph throughout the jungle that night.
After dinner the happy campers had another campfire night popping popcorn while listening to a story about the ancient Maya and their popcorn pits. Yep, the ancient Maya loved popcorn as much as we do, and the kids enjoyed making this treat in much the same way and in the same location Belize’s earliest inhabitants did. Too cool!
Further keeping ancient ways alive, the next day’s emphasis was on traditional healing, with local healer Salomie Pop explaining the preparation and use of various medicinal plants to a rapt audience. Then the kids hiked back through Chaa Creek’s Maya medicinal plant trail to see firsthand a real Maya bush pharmacy.
Next day was for horsing around – literally. The neighing of horses and the laughter of children proved to be an enchanting mix as our intrepid campers saddled up for a jaunt along one of the many trails running through Chaa Creek’s nature reserve. Any trepidation some kids had seemed to dissolve by the time they got back to the stables, with just about everyone asking for another go. Only fitting that John Wayne dodge ball was on the games menu, followed by “Pesky Poking Pixies”, another skit performed by Alajah, Maya, Emily, Ashanti, and Andrea (aka Bird) who once again showed what happens when young imaginations run wild.
On Thursday morning the campers were a tad bit slow waking up, but a few silly songs cured that and everyone was bright eyed and bushy tailed, as the saying goes, for the morning’s arts and crafts session. With today’s focus being on traditional farming, the Eco Kids made their way to Chaa Creek’s Maya organic farm to learn the basics of organic farming, from composting, planting, harvesting, and refreshing the soil, just as it has been done here for thousands of years. The farm supplies Chaa Creek’s restaurant with fresh organic produce while also reducing “food miles”, so the campers got some very practical life lessons about conservation and the importance of growing your own fresh food. Delicious burritos for lunch no doubt drove the points home.
One of the highlights of any Eco Kids week is the big splash party, and this year it was no different, as water and screams of laughter flew through the air all afternoon. Tugs of war, slip n’ slide, exuberant balloon fights and other aquatic games turned earth into mud and kids into… well, happy muddy kids. After cleaning up they broke into groups to practice for the song competition and after the always-appreciated spaghetti Andrea, Peter, Rene, Ashanti, Jennifer, and Jackson entertained their fellow camper with “Eco Geeks”.
Not to be outdone, the resident forest howler monkeys put on their own loud show that night, much to the delight of their human audience.
Dawn probably came a bit early on Friday, but with more arts and crafts, painting pet rocks, more swimming and horseback riding as well as workshops in the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) and responsible tourism to look forward to, we expect to hear some more lively reports, especially as the evening’s highlight will be the much anticipated and highly rehearsed for Epic Song Contest.