Empowering Youth Through Nature Based Education

Nature Connection, is modeled after a summer program for children in and around the town of Beals, a coastal village in Downeast Maine, founded in 2015. Through STEAM-based activities as well as community service projects, Nature Connection offers participants hands-on opportunities to explore nature and to develop their skills as scientists, artists, and community builders. Broadly, the program provides a safe, nurturing environment that enables children to cultivate innate positive qualities within themselves and to connect with the natural world around them. Building on its annual growth, the program is poised to enter its fifth year with a focus on expanding offerings for middle and high school aged youth. NECS is piloting this program this Summer in Peekskill NY.

Mission and Overview

To create a safe, community-based space for children and youth to become leaders of their own intellectual and moral development based on an understanding of themselves as agents of positive change. Nature connection will engage participants in nature-centered activities designed to foster the well-being of participants and their communities, and encouraging an understanding and respect for the interconnectedness of all living things.

Over the course of the program, participants will gain a greater understanding to themselves and their connection to nature, explore their environment, and learn about sustainable living practices, and ecological balance principles. Each day will be spent learning about their inner strengths through activities designed to foster leadership, and teamwork, while exploring and discovering nature. Activities will include art & science, gardening and farming, stories, journaling, games, hiking, swimming, and paddle boarding and community service. There will be a weekly field trip to visit a farm in Garrison.

VIrtues Camp (Age 7 – 12)

Building Moral and Leadership Capacity in Young People

The purpose of virtues camp is to lovingly encourage the development qualities such as compassion, empathy, and kindness. The program’s aim is to help children build leadership and moral capacity, strong social emotional skills in order to empower them to become socially responsible individuals.

Campers will learn about different virtues through story-telling, discussion, music, cooperative games, and arts and crafts. Each lesson is accompanied by a quotation that highlights that virtue.

Every morning starts with songs and quotes from different faiths, and cultural background and the day concludes with a reflection on what they have learned about the virtue of the day. At the end of each day, each camper is also acknowledged for a virtue that he or she has demonstrated that day such as courage, kindness, justice etc. 

NECS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions can be made payable to New Era Creative Space and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. To Make a Donation CLICK HERE or mail donation to New Era Creative Space, 1016 Brown St., Peekskill NY 10566