Help More Youth Experience Nature!

Make nature more accessible! Use your voice to advocate for our bonding bill at the state.

Guest post by Ana Alvarez,
Capitol Pathways Intern

Read Time 3 minutes

In the modern world of technology, carving out time to reconnect with nature can bring positive mental and physical benefits, like calming our bodies and sparking creativity.

Our childhood experiences affect our health in the long term, which is why positive, hands-on time in nature is crucial. Nature allows children to think beyond their immediate surroundings and build well-rounded perspectives. Camp Fire Minnesota’s inclusive youth programs bring nature to all young people, particularly underrepresented youth. You can be part of this work – keep reading to learn how!

Hear From Our Campers 

“Camp Fire: Fun All Year Round” by Ella, age 12

Colorful painting of a tree in all four seasons with the words Camp Fire, Fun All Year Round

An Excerpt From “Untouched Beauty” by Pepper, age 12

“How in the center of the deep forest it was as dark as the heavens untouched by starlight. How even on the brightest day, sunlight would be completely claimed by shadows.
How the tall grasses are so sun-kissed they glowed. How the woods turn shades of a crimson sunset in the fall, the leaves flying to the ground, growing a carpet.
How mosses are so lush you could sleep on them, and the leaves, so beautiful they could be a painting. How you can never capture the essence of the landscape in an image. How you can only imagine it.”

To read the entire poem and learn from other campers, check out our Youth Storytelling Contest entries! 

Ella and Pepper are only 2 of 9,500 young people in 2023 who attended Camp Fire and showcased creativity through their nature-based experience. All youth can be creative but many never get the opportunity to explore it. Camp Fire provides a physical space for youth to connect with nature and express themselves in new ways.

How Camp Fire is Working Towards Inclusivity 

Underrepresented youth, unfortunately, do not have equal access to educational resources and much less access to nature-based learning. As someone from an underfunded district without access to any educational programming growing up, I hold this issue close to my heart. Camp Fire’s work towards inclusivity and dismantling financial barriers allows youth from similar backgrounds as mine to be represented and have equal opportunities for nature-based learning. 

Camp Fire Minnesota currently has a bonding bill at the state level. We are advocating for various components to help make our programming more accessible. Our proposed projects include the restoration of the historic mansion on the Camp Fire property. The restoration of the home will improve, reuse, and make the building accessible to expand programming for summer camp and our year-round programs. We are also requesting to expand and improve the waterfront to welcome more campers and reduce harmful water runoff into Lake Minnewashta. Following outdoor refurbishments, another request is to complete a driveway and walkway renovation to improve access and accessibility. Since we offer year-round programming, we need safe driving and walking areas to welcome the youth during all seasons. Lastly, we are requesting a new restroom facility to expand our program capacity and increase the number of accessible bathrooms we have on the property. 

How You Can Help

There are several ways you can support the expansion of Camp Fire’s nature programs! Make a tax-deductible donation today or use your voice to advocate for our bonding bill at the state. Below are links to representatives involved in the process of our bonding bill, whom you can contact for a call to action in our requested projects. Thank you for helping expand and improve access to nature-based learning at Camp Fire Minnesota!

Senator Julia Coleman | Senator Kelly Morrison | Rep. Lucy Rehm
MN House of Representatives & MN State Senate Investment Committees

Need help getting started? Send us a note and we’ll provide an email template!

Meet Ana

My name is Ana Alvarez, I am a sophomore at Macalester College majoring in Economics and Educational Studies. I am interested in shaping policies for positive socio-economic impact in minority communities, with a specific focus on equity in education. I am currently interning through Minnesota’s Capitol Pathways Program where I was placed to intern for Camp Fire Minnesota. Camp Fire’s mission to work towards making nature-based programming accessible to all youth is one dear to my heart. I am enjoying learning more about how we can work towards inclusivity for underrepresented students to receive equal opportunities for programming such as Camp Fire!