Staff will teach campers how to identify plants, animals and insects that live in the garden and help them satisfy their natural curiousity about the outside world.  (Fairview Gardens photo)

Summer is right around the corner! We will continue to talk to camp leaders and research different types of local camps in order to help you find the perfect summer camp for your kids!

Noozhawk had the chance to catch up with Kelly Ann Campbell, education director at Fairview Gardens, to learn more about why kids love to spend their summer there, and why your child should, too. 

Fairview Gardens

Question: What is the name of your Summer Camp and what is its mission?

Answer: Our camp is called Farm Camp at Fairview Gardens. The mission of Farm Camp is to provide a safe and nurturing space for children to learn and grow through curiosity and connections with the land. Our hope is that children will form long-term meaningful relationships with other campers, food and the natural world.

Q: Describe the activities involved in your camp.

A: Farm Camp activities flow between games, natural crafts, farm chores, planting and harvesting, free exploration, and tons of snacking on fresh-farm food. As a result of this, campers typically go home each day wearing muddy, pomegranate stained clothes and big smiles on their faces.

Q: What is the age range for children to take part in your camp?

A: Our camps are for 4- to 10-year-olds.

Q: What goals do you have for kids participating in each of your camps?

A: One of our camps called Turnip Tops, for 4- to 5-year-olds, engages our youngest campers through songs, games, free play, wandering on the land, and simple snack creations from the farm. Our most popular age group, the Pumpkin Pals, are for 6 to 8 years old. This energetic group thrives on our 12.5-acre farm with trees to climb, recipes to experiment with, chickens to tend to, and fun in every corner. Our camp for 8- to 10-year-olds, Broccoli Bandits, takes it up a notch with more sophisticated cooking and gardening projects, and with activities that intentionally encourage each camper to develop a deeper connection to nature and our food. We strive to provide a safe space for children to explore the natural world.

Q: When was your camp started and what was the inspiration for creating it?

In addition to doing natural crafts, farm games, and tending to the garden, kids will also learn about sustanability, the first steps of enviromental stewardship.

In addition to doing natural crafts, farm games, and tending to the garden, kids will also learn about sustanability, the first steps of enviromental stewardship. (Fairview Gardens photo)

A: Fairview Gardens has a long-standing tradition of hosting summer camps for our community’s children since the early 2000s. Farm Camp, in the format it exists today, started in 2010. The inspiration for starting the program was simple: Children and farms are like peas in a pod. For centuries, farms were an integral part of almost every child’s life. Farms were a place to run around, climb trees, explore, try new foods, and learn about natural cycles. Children grew up understanding how their food was grown, and lent a hand with chores and harvests. This gave children a sense of purpose and helped them develop a strong relationship with the land. Our hope is to keep this important tradition alive for the children in our community.

Q: What can parents expect their kids to gain from participating in your camp?

A: Parents can expect to be greeted by their kids wearing pomegranate face paint, still singing Farm Camp songs, exploding with smiles, and eager to share stories of chickens laying eggs and other “farmy” adventures. We hope they gain new friends, a tasty appreciation for real food and the folks that grow it, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Q: What is the best part about your camp?

A: The best part of Farm Camp is the land itself. There are endless opportunities to explore every inch of the farm. We have spaces designed to be outdoor learning laboratories, whimsical areas for play and creative ideas to come to life, some acreage dedicated to caring for the soil and growing food, habitats for pollinators and song birds, worm bins for composting our lunch leftovers, and lots of land left wild and wonderful (prime tree climbing!).

Q: Describe what makes your camp unique and worthwhile.

A: Our summer farm camp is unique and worthwhile because the kids are immersed in a week of pure fun. They have the opportunity to unplug from technology and connect with their inner nature lover. Our skilled and experienced camp instructors empower children to explore and learn while supporting their strengths and encouraging them to push their edges. No two days are the same, as staff considers group curiosities and never passes up a learning opportunity.

Q: Describe a favorite activity for children in your camp.

A: It’s amazing to see the children exploring the land for wild and cultivated foods to munch on! Whether that means harvesting mallow leaves from this invasive weed to make delicious Mallow Pesto, climbing up into the pomegranates to burst open their sweet fruit to squeeze into juice or face paint, showing gratitude to our chickens for their delectable eggs, or sauntering through the front fields to make a fresh farm salad, our campers are exposed to a variety of healthy, nutritious foods that many have never experienced in such a way! To see a child pull a carrot out of the earth, enjoy kale for the very first time, or better understand how to grow and prepare healthy food is a regular and rewarding activity during Farm Camp.

Q: In what ways is your camp educational?

A: Our staff plans each day with a learning focus. For instance, one day we explore compost and discover all the components of the process, what lives in compost, and why it’s important. What we believe is that the learning stretches far beyond planned teaching moments. Without a doubt, each day, children will come with questions and each question is a teaching opportunity. Often time, staff will answer campers’ questions with a question of their own, in hopes of guiding kids to discover their own explanations through observation. 

Q: What else should parents know when deciding whether to send their kids to your camp?

A: We know there are many great camps that kids can attend during the summer, but if you are seeking a place where you child can grow confident in their natural surroundings, learn about growing and preparing delicious food, and deepening their environmental stewardship… send them to Farm Camp! Our staff-to-camper ratio is low, at 1:4, so your child can still get personalized instruction and care within a small group setting of 12 or less campers. Our camp is a place to play hard, eat well, have fun, learn, and get dirty! Join us on the farm! 

On Thursday, April 13, from 5 to 7 p.m., we are having an Open House on the Farm for families who want to learn more about the farm and Farm Camp.

Free Wood-fired Pizza, Kombucha on Tap, Face Painting, Farm Tours, Seed Bombs and more “farmy” fun! Activities are for all ages. All are welcome!

Address: 598 North Fairview Avenue, Goleta, CA 93117

To register or learn more about Farm Camp at Fairview Gardens, click here!

Kids will learn to be aware of what they put into their bodies.

Kids will learn to be aware of what they put into their bodies. (Fairview Gardens photo)