EcoVillage hosts first family camp

PORT TOWNSEND — There was singing around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and sleeping under the stars.

But there was also tai chi, organic gardening and drumming as the Port Townsend EcoVillage held its first family camp.

“It was like a big family picnic spread out over four days,” said Gary Perless, one of the organizers.

The camp, which ended Sunday, was hosted by EcoVillage members, who have opened their property to the public the past two summers for workshops.

This year, people were invited to set up tents in the meadow or come for the day’s activities, which included working in the garden, cooking and attending workshops on subjects ranging from agriculture to children’s literature.

Kees Kolff, former Port Townsend mayor, taught beehive construction and showed campers how to extract honey from the hive.

Helen Kolff led a workshop on puppet-making, and Marc Weinblatt, who was also the camp director, led a theater workshop.

Sharing nature

Perless, a science teacher, demonstrated ways of sharing nature with children.

“We had a pack of kids,” Perless said.

“It brought in a lot of families with young kids.”

Rain dampened Thursday’s attendance, but Friday and Saturday’s sunshine brought out the campers, Perless said.

Each morning began with a circle at the fire pit.

On Friday morning, Lawrence Cole, with his granddaughter Fiona asleep in his lap, played a drum and sang,

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you — don’t go back to sleep,” he said.

Cole was the only person to get up for tai chi at 7 a.m., he said, but that didn’t deter him from enjoying the moment.

“It felt quite a sacred morning,” Cole said.

On Saturday, two interns from Finn River Farm in Chimacum arrived and set up a breadmaking workshop.

Adults and kids alike worked at the kneading station, Perless said, then the loaves were baked in a cob oven.

“We baked eight loaves of bread and a dozen pieces of flat bread,” Perless said. “It was a big hit with the kids.”

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