Do you miss the summer camps of your youth—those places that encouraged you to let loose and explore nature, make new friends and soak up the sun? If so, the Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, in conjunction with the Area Agency on Aging, is offering a summer camp for adults 55 and older from Aug. 21–24 at Leesburg’s Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve.
While traditional camps allow kids to build social skills and burn off energy during newfound free time in the summer, Loudoun’s Adventure Camp focuses on giving adults new ways to encounter nature, but the character-building qualities of childhood summer camps remain.
“Any camp can be a great reminder of the kid inside all of us,” says Claire Smith, the public information and communications manager for Loudoun’s parks department. “Adventure Camps can offer the chance to stretch beyond your usual range of activities, possibly even taking you a little out of your comfort zone. They offer an element of health and fitness, while providing an opportunity to explore nature and learn new things.”
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve’s miles and miles of scenic walking trails and wildlife provide the backdrop for the Adventure Camp. Julie Paul, the Loudoun PRCS naturalist at Banshee Reeks, will lead the camp and help participants learn about and identify native and invasive plants, wildlife and the variety of habitats at the preserve. Campers will also learn how to identify raptors like owls and hawks and pollinators like bees, butterflies and beetles. Other activities include fishing (poles and bait are provided) as well as the opportunity to learn about and observe the solar eclipse visible on Aug. 21.
Campers will have the choice of attending either a gun-safety session taught by a certified arms instructor at an area range or a tubing trip on Antietam Creek. A snack will be included in the former, while a full lunch will be provided to those who go tubing.
All campers should dress comfortably for the predicted weather and, it goes without saying, be prepared for some serious quality time outdoors. Participants should bring a hat, bug spray for ticks and mosquitoes, sunscreen and a lunch each day. Snacks and water will be provided.
The Adventure Camp will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday. The camp is $75 per person.