Sunday, May 9, 2010

Spring SKIP Week 2 - Campfires and Outdoor Cooking

You can't argue that Mother Nature doesn't have our best interests in mind. In the winter, Super Kids In Parks had snow when we needed it for cross-country skiing, an icy crust for snowshoeing with crampons and bright sun for our hike and outdoor games on the last day.

We opened our spring session with a blazing sun and hot temperatures for our wetlands program last week and then Mother Nature gave us a nice cold day (with a few flurries - but no rain!) so we could warm up by cosy campfires and do some scrumptious outdoor cooking on Mothers' Day.

The program was led by Friends volunteer Pat, who started off with safety rules about lighting a campfire - everything from having an adult to supervise to what we should wear and how we should behave around a fire to keeping a shovel and water handy. (Some participant volunteers retrieved buckets of water from the beach.) We talked about safely establishing a fire site and how to set up the wood, tinder and kindling. Then divided into two groups and the adult volunteers and participants got busy lighting fires in pits located on campsites within the park.

After the campfires were established, it was time to let them burn down into good, toasty coals so we could do some cooking. One group set to work making banana boats: tasty treats made by peeling open one side of a banana, scooping out some of the fruit, filling the hole with marshmallows and chocolate chips, covering it up with the skin and wrapping it in tin foil. The second group made orange rind muffins, which are created by slicing oranges in half and scooping out the fruit, preparing packaged muffin mix (we chose oatmeal), half-filling the orange cups and placing them in a baking pan with a foil tent on top.

Adult volunteers placed the treats on the grills and while we waited for our snacks to cook Friends volunteer Heather led the gang to the beach area where we lined up and made rain. It's not that we wanted it to rain, but the rainmaker game is a nifty exercise where the kids at the start of the line rubbed their hands together, then snapped their fingers, then clapped and so on and as the sound moves along the line of participants it's as if a rainstorm is taking place.

After rainmaking, Heather introduced us to the Migration Game (which was observed by two Canada geese and a loon out on Hogg Bay). The kids become "birds," and they had to migrate from Murphys Point to faroff lands (a tree at the other end of the beach). Along the way, some of them ran into obstacles: their destination had been turned into condominiums, there was an oil spill, there were hunters, etc. and it was interesting to see how many make it back to Murphys Point "next season."

After a hearty round of migration we returned to the campsites and shared our banana boats and orange rind muffins with the whole group along with juice and hot chocolate. After those tasty treats, it was time to safely extinguish the fires and head for home.

A big thank you to program leader Pat, along with our Skipper Judy and volunteers Heather and Cindy. Next week we'll be back at the Lally Homestead with Tim, who is going to tell us all about some misunderstood creatures at Murphys Point.

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