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YMCA Camp KitakiLouisville, NE

March 1, 2013

www.ymcalincoln.org/kitaki/

Masterpiece Teenage Arts Weekend was such a blast. Jack and I showed up at camp Friday evening and were greeted like old friends. The weekend was full of smiling inspired campers and energizing passionate staff. The 39 campers were divided up into clubs that they were interested in and then throughout the weekend spent time mastering a skill either in painting, culinary arts, custom clothing design, jam band- ing, theatre or zine making! Upon arrival Jason the executive director walked us around camp and shared with us the long awaited Fort Pawnee or Natural Play Area. We had heard rumors of this legendary destination spot during our travels and it more than surpassed our expectations. The area is surrounded in stockade fencing and complete with 2 look out towers which immediately set off everyone’s imagination. The area is divided into areas like “Messy Materials Area” or “Action Area” and labeled as such. The goal is to inspire kids to create and play utilizing loose parts and natural materials and settings. Jason says that the campers teach the counselors how to play once inside the fort, the point is for it to be camper driven. There is specific time set aside for play time in the fort for the younger kids. The fort is also growing every summer, next summer they are hoping to install a Rotary Music playground to activate even more senses. After getting to spend part of a weekend camp out with Kitaki it is clear that while they have some awesome facilities like Fort Pawnee and Ranch Camp (Imagine an old west town, or see the photos) camp is all about the people, from the talented, silly and driven staff to the even sillier happy campers. We feel very lucky to have gotten to see camp in action.

-Laura

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