Aaniin! I am Kelsey, one of the summer educators at TRACKS!
TRACKS is all about learning. We learn from each other, from the natural world, and ourselves.
During my first week of camp, I experienced powerful exchanges of knowledge. The games we played and activities we took part in were amazing however it was the thoughts and stories that
sparked in the minds of the campers from the camp activities that taught me so much.
On our third day of camp, we were in Trent’s Gathering Space where there is a beautiful jiimaan
(canoe) that the campers could see and learn from. One camper was curious about how the jiimaan was made, asking me questions and making guesses as to the natural materials used,
such as guessing that honey is used for binding the pieces together. They went on to tell me about helicopters, boats, and all different vehicles and how it relates to the jiimaan before them.
This was one of many instances where both myself and the camper were learning while asking each other questions. I was excited to let the camper know that the day to follow this encounter, we would be going on a trip to the canoe museum for camp! Simply seeing a jiimaan sparked a curiosity that resulted in the two of us exchanging our knowledge and being excited to learn more.
Further, before my time at TRACKS, I had begun to take the time to learn about different plants and medicines. I am still a beginner however I have learned far more than I could have imagined from my coworkers at TRACKS. To further my knowledge, we had an activity during camp where we went out to identify plants and harvest a few to press them.
As I went out with some of the campers, I was sharing the limited knowledge I had of the plants we were seeking. We ventured out onto the trails and into the forest and I spoke with the campers, learning about some of the plants they have relationships with. Some spoke of cedar and how they were taught about it from a young age, others spoke about the sumacs that we spotted or the apple trees at a family member's home. Certain campers were even telling me about the medicinal use of the plants that they know about and how they know how to identify the different plants. I can confidently say that my relationships with plants, the natural world, and the campers were strengthened that day through merely experiencing a plant walk during camp.
Though these are just two examples, I learned so much about relationships and the significance of listening and being open to knowledge exchange. I now truly understand how TRACKS is not
simply about teaching campers; it is about learning from each other, our surroundings, and ourselves. Youth are vital in understanding how we should take our walks of life, as they have
so many wonderful ideas and stories to share. I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn in this way!