Missouri River Relief’s ‘Watershed Expedition at Home’ offers virtual ‘Camp in a Box’ experience, 10 activities

By Dave Marner, Managing Editor
Posted 6/10/20

Missouri River Relief is continuing an education mission which was tested in Gasconade County by offering a virtual camp experience in July through their Watershed Expedition at Home …

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Missouri River Relief’s ‘Watershed Expedition at Home’ offers virtual ‘Camp in a Box’ experience, 10 activities

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Missouri River Relief is continuing an education mission which was tested in Gasconade County by offering a virtual camp experience in July through their Watershed Expedition at Home project.

Staff at the Columbia-based  Missouri River Relief organization realize the importance of summer camp experiences cannot be understated. It plays an important role in character and skill development, according to Kristen Schulte, education director for the non-profit.

“Missouri River Relief is dedicated to supporting our communities,” said Schulte. “That is why Missouri River Relief is pivoting to a virtual camp experience. Watershed Expedition at Home is the innovative answer of the need to cancel our in-person summer camps this year. Missouri River Relief is inviting youth from across our community to join a month-long watershed expedition.”

And, as she noted, no matter where you live, you live in a watershed — kind of like a bathtub or a sink. It’s an area of land that drains to a single body of water such as a lake or river. Watersheds come in many different sizes. A few acres might drain into a small stream or wetland, or a few rivers might drain into a large river, like the Missouri River.

“We are all connected by watersheds, and now more than ever, we need connections during these times of isolation,” said Schulte. “Watershed Expedition at Home does exactly that!”

Watershed Expedition at Home is a four-week combination of Camp in a Box and Virtual Camp for fourth through seventh and eighth through twelfth-graders  in July that brings the fun of a camp to families’ homes. Campers will have the opportunity to connect and socialize with peers. They will explore their local watershed and investigate how actions of people who live in a watershed affect the health of the waters that run through it.

They will learn to tell the story of their watershed and how to help protect the health of their watershed.

“We are encouraging campers to register with friends they have not been able to see or cousins in other states that they don’t normally spend time with,” said Schulte.

Camp in a Box provides fun, meaningful activities for campers, which includes 10 activities over four weeks that are science-based, screen-free, encourage outdoor time, and minimize demands on parents. Each camper that registers will receive a Camp in a Box in the mail the first week of July with all the materials and instructions for individual watershed exploration.

In the box, campers will receive written instructions on how to do each activity.

Included is 10 science and nature activities with supplies and instructions: watercolor paints and brush, watercolor paper, nature journal, hand magnifier, bug container, colored pencils, backpack, heavy duty trash bags, gloves, small first aid kit, envelope and stamp, pencils and eraser, pencil sharpener, plus a Missouri River Relief t-shirt, water bottle and sticker.

“Campers beware,” cautioned Schulte. “Grown-ups will be tempted to borrow these Camp in a Box supplies!”

The virtual camp is the digitally-interactive aspect of Watershed Expedition that brings the peer social experience of being at camp directly to the family’s home. The virtual camp will be conducted entirely through Zoom video chat.

Missouri River Relief instructors will lead campers through a variety of activities that take place during pre-determined Zoom dates and times. “Our goal is to bring our incredible staff, instruction, and the community that families love at Missouri River Relief to children at home,” said Schulte. “We believe our families and campers need camp more than ever.”

To register follow the links at www.riverrelief.org. Cost is $50 per student. Full financial aid is available through generous donors.

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