A Nocturnal Adventure!
Night Camp will allow you to explore the nocturnal world—all night! As a night camper you will gradually shift your schedule until you are awake all night and sleep during the day. Astronomy, owl calling, bat observation, night games, and night hikes make up the week. You will also make comparisons between doing activities such as ponding and insect collection during the day and at night.
Night Campers sometimes stay in two separate cabins but usually stay in Cabin 6—the “Raccoon Hollow”. This cabin provides space for all of your group-mates and counselors to sleep under one roof and it has a separate meeting room for socializing and group discussions. This is important since you will be on a different schedule then the rest of the camp and your group will need a quiet place to get rest during the day as well as a place where you can be up at night without disturbing others. One side of the cabin will house girls and the other separate side will be for boys. Both sides have bathrooms, counselor rooms and locking doors that lead into the common room.
Sunday is devoted to moving in and meeting and getting to know your fellow campers, junior counselors and counselors. Sunday night also includes an all camp campfire, so you will have a chance to meet and see other campers and counselors in Earth Camp for the week. The Sunday night schedule gets you to bed at the regular time (lights out at 9:45-10:00 PM).
The actual activities that you will be involved in may vary somewhat depending upon your counselors’ interests, the weather, availability of guest speakers and the phase of the moon. Times may also vary slightly. However the following are some examples of night camp activities that you will be involved in when you come to Alton Jones.
On Monday, group-building activities will help you to get to know the other campers in your group as well as your Counselors and Junior Counselors. This is important since working together, good communication and understanding each other’s needs will be critical when you are up late or out in the dark. Swim tests, free-swim time and canoeing occur at Lake Eisenhower, so be ready to get wet! You will also be involved in sensory awareness activities to heighten your senses to the subtle sounds, movements, smells and feelings that you will encounter when you are out in nature at night. Your group will take part in the all-camp evening program and after everyone else goes to bed, you will go on a night hike. You will go to bed by 12:00 midnight.
On Tuesday, after a late breakfast, you might go ponding and take notes so that you can compare what you find during the day and night. Tuesday afternoon you will play an all-camp activity such as predator/Prey. That night you can go back to the pond and compare your findings. If it is a clear night you may begin to learn about the stars and planets visible in the night sky and possibly peek through our 8 inch telescope. You may also learn about some of the animals that are out at night such as bats and owls. A campfire on the beach with s’mores is also a possibility. On this night you will be up until 2:00 AM
Wake-up on Wednesday is 11:30AM for a 12:30 PM breakfast—when everyone else is eating lunch! It will have been an important sleep, since Wednesday begins your all-nighter. During the afternoon you may set up and bait some tracking areas and set out some insect food to be checked at night. You will also have a swim time. Lunch will take place at the regular dinnertime. Perhaps an evening canoe or bat watch will take you through dusk. After a pizza party and some more games inside, you will head out to see the progression of stars and do more star gazing, call owls, do a quiet hike, play some games, and watch for wildlife as the night turns to dawn. The group will head to a special spot to see the sun come up then head back to the main lodge for breakfast and then to bed.
Thursday is catch-up-on-your-sleep day. You will sleep through the day and wake up in the late afternoon to be ready for dinner at 5:30 PM. You will attend the all-camp evening program and then do a final night walk and have some group time. Lights out will be at 10:00 or 11:00 PM depending on how the group feels. Friday is up at the regular time for packing and breakfast at 8:00 AM. Friday is spent putting the whole week together with review and wrap-up activities. After lunch, phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be exchanged before the family program at 2:00 and checkout at 2:30 PM.
Although plenty of sleep and rest time is scheduled during the night camp week, disrupting your internal clock can require some recovery time. It is a good idea to plan a mellow Friday night and weekend after night camp is over, since you may need extra time to rest and catch up on your sleep.