Discovering Childhood

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Camp Good News is about half way between Gainesville to the north and Ocala to the south.  The setting is secluded and quiet, a vast difference from the noise and fast pace of the malls, stores, 4 lane roads and high speed, road raged traffic of Tampa.  You can see the stars in the dark of the night.  The camp’s day-to-day operation is run by one high energy man with a bit of help from his eight children.  They live in a double wide at the entrance to the camp.  They have one more daughter who is now living away from home.  Steve is filled with ideas, continually upgrading the delight’s of outdoor treasures for the 350 plus campers who descend every summer.

One treasure we will take away from this project, or better eight treasures, are the children.  Last evening Dale and I enjoyed a campfire with 5 of the younger ones and Steve.  Just a pleasant quiet enjoyment of the night.  When the two youngest ones climbed up onto their daddy’s lap it was time for bed.  Every precious child came over to Dale and myself to give us a good night hug.

Chloe, the 5-year-old girl comes over every afternoon to play with Daisy.  At first Daisy was her usual irritable self, but Chloe won her over with gentle petting and treats.  Now Daisy looks forward to Chloe and does all her tricks for her to get those treats.  Then Daisy and Chloe spend a good while playing catch outside.

Two of boys Samuel and Oliver, enjoy sitting outside with Dale identifying the birds that come to Dale’s bird feeders that he hangs at each project.  Chloe likes the birds also.

The children have no video games, watch a video every week or so picked out by Steve and Sheri and are not loaded down with toys.  They are home schooled by both Steve and Sheri.  The outdoors here at the camp is their playground.  They have freedom to roam the grounds and indulge their imaginations.  A stick, a rock, some pieces of wood, a couple of bits of old pots and pans and the world is a place of wonderment to them.  It’s the childhood of yesterday, the childhood I remember, freedom, barefoot and fancy free.  These children enjoy each other.  There is little bickering, a comradery between them all.  They are polite, thankful and respectful.   This is a childhood lost to today’s children.  So sad.

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