Family Nature Summits – How it works

2015FNSDeepcreekAToday I led a hike through Deep Creek in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for Family Nature Summits.

This organization plans a one-week camp for families and individuals all around the country. This year, right now in fact, we’re at Lake Junaluska close to the Smokies. So I’m leading four hikes – two in Deep Creek and two in Cataloochee.  So how does it all work with families?

At the dance
At the dance

We all stay at the same location and eat in the same dining hall. After breakfast , adults drop off their kids at the Junior Naturalist (JN) program at 8 am.

Isa is in the Fern and Jack, the youngest of the JN while Hannah is the oldest JN. Next year, she moves up to the Teen program.

The children went to Cataloochee and the Mountain Farm Museum. The younger ones will canoe while Hannah’s group rafted. They look at plants, play in creeks and do nature drawing.

At 3:30 pm, the children’s program ends. If the adults aren’t back, the younger ones roll over to daycare, where the fun continues. Hannah, meanwhile, hangs out with her friends. But most days, we’ve taken the girls swimming in the Lake Junaluska pool. They see all their friends, but this time, it’s the parents (and grandparents) who supervise them. The group leaders are off duty.

2015NaturalistgirlsAWe seem to have dinner quite early here.

By 7 pm, it’s time for an evening program. This week, we’ve seen birds of prey, listened to a story teller and had a barn dance, complete with a live caller and band. Everyone participates. By eight o’clock, Isa is ready for bed and I’m ready to call it a night as well. I’ve got another hike to lead the next day.

For adults, it’s not all hiking. They can ramble, learn about flowers, draw or visit an organic farm. This year, the adults could raft, canoe or mountain bike. It’s all about using all the resources that the location offers.

Who knows where it will be next year? But it will be exciting.

3 thoughts on “Family Nature Summits – How it works

  1. It looks like so much fun Danny. I am sending this on to my stepdaughter with hopes that one day she will want me to take our granddaughter and grandson.
    – Jeanie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *