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Bucyrus CampusStories

Summer Campers Have Fun Down on the Farm

By July 25, 2017No Comments2 min read

While some city kids are at home playing video games in air-conditioned comfort, a group of outdoors-minded youngsters at St. Ann Center are spending their summer learning about life on the farm.

For one exciting day a week, the kids in St. Ann Center’s Summer Camp program leave metro Milwaukee behind for the greener pastures of Creating Pathways Farm in Sussex. The farm’s owner, Rose Koremenos, is a longtime supporter of the Center and a firm believer that kids, horses and nature go together.

As a couple dozen excited campers spill out of the St. Ann Center bus, Rose, her husband, Gus, and a friendly team of staff and volunteers are ready to greet them. “We have a different theme and activities for every visit,” Rose notes. One week, trees are in the spotlight, with the kids tromping through the woods collecting leaves from oak, Hawthorne, cherry, walnut and basswood branches. Other weeks, they explore Native American lore, Wisconsin wildlife and how to be a responsible pet owner.

From June through August, the kids trade classroom walls for barn stalls and the sandy beach of the farm pond. “Shhh…listen,” Rose instructs, as birds and bullfrogs harmonize in a sweet summer song. “How come your frogs say ‘gulump’ instead of ‘ribbit’?” 10-year-old Mason asks. She explains, “Different kinds of frogs have different voices, just like people do.”

A main attraction of every visit is a stop at the pasture where the Koremenos’ four horses are grazing. The gentle herd includes Rose’s quarter horse, Diva, a retired harness racer named Rizzo, and half-sisters from Kentucky, Lexi and Sydney. The farm’s horse expert, Ann, puts the equines through their paces, showing the kids the difference between a walk, trot and gallop.

Each visit also includes a craft project, with the campers drawing inspiration from nature. “During our last session, they’ll put all their art pages together into a book using a stick and twine,” Rose says of the Summer Camp memento.

The final camp picnic might also include some of the homegrown veggies the campers planted in June. “The kids all lined up and held out their hands for seeds,” Rose says, recalling the excitement of the novice farmers. “One little girl told me, ‘I’m going to remember exactly where I’m standing so I know which vegetables are mine!’

“Just being part of this program is a blessing,” Rose says, adding there are already plans to continue farm visits next year. “It’s exciting watching the kids as their frame of reference expands to include things like grooming a horse and planting a garden.”

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