Our girls go on a night time outdoor adventure to see a billion starsJuly 29, 2016
One of the goals of our overnight camp is to make sure that our campers have experiences and adventures that they aren’t going to find during their school year. It’s why we take them mountain climbing and on canoe trips to far away islands. It’s why we teach them how to play in a rock band, how to wake board, and how to climb a 60 ft tall tree. It’s also why we let them wrestle in 1,000 pounds of Jell-O, have paint balloon fights, and get silly dancing at blacklight parties.
It’s also why the Evergreen Junior Unit Leader and I took all of our 12 year old girls up to our largest soccer field after tonight’s evening activity. The kids call it the Field of Dreams, and as the name implies, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. It’s also huge, and with no electric lights around it for as far as the eye can see, it’s a perfect spot for star gazing.
Just after Taps the girls and their counselors grabbed blankets and joined me on the FOD. With no one else up there it was incredibly quiet and peaceful. There were a few crickets chirping to each other but otherwise it was absolutely silent. For about an hour we lay on our backs and just stared at the cosmos above us. As an avid amateur astronomer I pointed out to them different constellations, helped them find the visible planets in the night sky, and explained how the large belt of lights we were looking at was our own Milky Way galaxy. I shared with them how many stars and planets make up our galaxy, and how many thousands of galaxies are known to exist in our universe. They were in total awe.
The girls ooh’d and ah’d and were so grateful to be participating in this. The majority of them live in big cities or brightly lit suburbs where stars are rarely seen, and rarely looked at. Many had never thought to pause to view them like we did tonight. More than a handful told me that tonight was the first time that they had ever seen a shooting star, and we saw a bunch. We also were fortunate enough to see a satellite lazily cross from one end of the horizon to the other.
It was a beautiful night, and I am so glad that our Junior girls were excited to go on this adventure with me. Years from now I will still remember this as one of my favorite nights of the entire summer. I hope they do, too.