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Summer Camp Helps Kids Appreciate Nature


by Miriam Peretsman A


s children become more technologically con- nected, they may diminish their relationship with nature, experiencing a condition some call “natural deficit disorder”. Spending time out- doors and away from computer screens can help children reawaken their senses, develop longer at- tention spans, strengthen their muscles, improve their fitness and understand how humans are part of a greater natural world.


At Camp Riverbend, in Warren Township, chil- dren learn firsthand about many aspects of the natural world, including animals and plants, and how they coexist in the local ecosystem. Camp Director Harold Breene explains, “Nature has always been central to the camp experience. Helping children to understand and care for the natural world is an integral part of our camp mission.” The staff at Camp Riverbend en- courages kids to be curious and to explore the natural world—pointing out the busy activity of an anthill or beehive, a colorful bird or butterfly, or the intricate meanderings of an insect going about its business. Connections to nature occur whenever camp-


24 Hudson County NAHudson.com


ers can feel the grass between their toes, lie on their backs and watch the clouds or sit quietly as they feel the warmth of the sun and the coolness of the breeze on their faces. These direct encounters with nature can foster in children what environmental writer Ra- chel Carson called a “sense of wonder,” and instill the idea that nature is not a faraway concept, but is right here in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the ground we walk upon. Such experiences can cultivate a child’s emotional bond with the natural world that will last a lifetime.


Founded in 1962, Camp Riverbend is a family- owned day camp for boys and girls ages 3 to 14, providing bus service from Hoboken and downtown Jersey City.


Location: 116 Hillcrest Rd. For more information, call 908-580-2267, email Info@CampRiverbend. com or visit CampRiverbend.com.


Miriam Peretsman is the program director at Camp Riverbend.


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