This past weekend, a select number of young men from St. John's Residence experienced a very unique camping experience at Pompanuck Farms Institute in Cambridge, New York.

Though the Cambridge Balloon Festival was the initial attraction for the trip, windy weather and threatening thunderstorms resulted in the cancellation of the launching. It was a disappointment for the group; but no problem. The Pompanuck planners, Lisa and Scott Carrino, had a full slate of interesting and educational activities for the boys, including everything from nature walks to a cello concert.

Of course, the boys enjoyed many hours of fun in the pond and shooting hoops, but they also gave rave reviews to the cello concert and eye opening walks along the nature trails.

Nine student cellists, accompanied by two cello mentors and a master of ceremonies, entertained and educated the boys about the instrument and its versatility. They played individually and as a group. Imagine a group of kids from the Big Apple rapt in attention to nine cellists playing Bach. They were, and they are still talking about the experience.

The Carrinos not only know how to make camping fun, but they also have the expertise and experience to make it educational.

They demonstrated how a simple walk along a nature trail can be an excellent opportunity to develop both the powers of observation as well as sensitivity to environmental issues. They had each young man walk a stretch of trail where the Carrinos had placed 21 items that one would not ordinarily find in a natural setting, e.g., a switch plate fixed to a tree, a toothbrush, candy wrappers, a pencil, etc. After walking the trail, the boys reported what they had seen. If they missed an item, they had to retrace their steps and look again. The activity generated a genuine interest and enthusiasm.

The month of July will see another St., John's trip to Pompanuck, and many of the boys are looking forward to it already.

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