Perspective from a Camp Counselor

July 18, 2023
Ricky Martin holding a titmouse (bird).

Ricky Martin, Camp Site Coordinator at Cincinnati Nature Center

Every summer, the week I look forward to most is always the week kids from our Nature For All program attend, and I think all the camp counselors would agree.

Children from underserved communities may start out as apprehensive, but once we turn them loose and allow them to explore all aspects of nature, they’re hooked!

After 4 years as a counselor, and 4 previous years as a youth volunteer myself, I’ve witnessed that all children are the same. Whatever their background, when they see a frog as big as their head in the creek, they all squeal (sometimes with joy, sometimes with ick)!

And those squeals re-awaken the wonder and joy of nature for me.

I find children in nature to be instinctive. They all go giddy to splash around in the creek, look for critters, canoe across the pond, and build stick forts in the woods. Even if they've never had those experiences before, play doesn't have to be taught, it's a natural part of every child.

Working at the Cincinnati Nature Center has made me feel responsible for the creeks, and woods and creatures. Understanding the natural world around me makes it feel much less distant, and fills me with a sense of obligation to protect them.

I also feel a sense of obligation in sharing the creeks and woods and creatures with others—especially those that don’t get to regularly spend time in nature. Whether someone lives in the city or the country, we all share one planet, and we're all responsible for it.

My time spent in nature with children has been immensely rewarding.

The time we get to spend in nature is a privilege like no other, and I'm so grateful for sponsors like the Bronco Wild Fund, who make it possible for us to share this unique privilege with even more children!