To foster increased communication, cooperation, and connection amongst a diverse group of students and adults while simultaneously connecting with and learning about the natural surroundings.
The Auroville Nature Camp aspires to be one of the manifestations of “a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.” This educational activity brings together the children of Auroville and those of its surrounding villages for a collective experience of nature in the forest of Kavunji near Kodaikanal. Each camp offers a range of experiences designed to introduce the children to the flora and fauna of the area, to increase their environmental awareness, to awaken the spirit of adventure through treks and climbs, and to deepen their relation to and appreciation of nature. In the simple rustic camp setting children learn to live together in a group and to care for each other and the environment. Everyone, including students, teachers and other adults, works together to create the camp and to maintain a harmonious atmosphere.
Specific activities vary from week to week and are determined by the group leaders. Some activities include:
- Daily morning fitness exercises and game
- Daily treks, both half and full day, in
the adjacent wilderness with simultaneous search for wildlife.
- Playing sports, including cricket,
football, and ultimate frisbee.
- Playing physical games, including name
games, “Bear, Ninja, Cowboy,” etc.
- Playing mental games, including Sudoku,
riddle solving, etc.
- Learning basic outdoor skills, including
how to use a compass, how to build a fire, how to catch fish.
- Crafts, including beadwork, friendship
bracelets, wood craft, and basket making.
- Rock-climbing, including learning
- Food preparation/helping in the kitchen.
- Theater skits, improvisation, capoeira, dancing, and group sing-alongs.
- A camp-wide treasure hunt utilizing skills learned throughout the week to complete the task, including compass reading, fire building, and group cooperation.
Auroville Nature Camp provides students with a week in the wilderness, exposing them to numerous challenges in all aspects of the being. Their physical is challenged in arduous treks to the big waterfall, or the daily group sports activities and games. The vital being is confronted with handling oneself in a group, learning to communicate one’s needs clearly, participating in common chores, and cooperating with others to accomplish particular tasks. The mental is challenged in games and activities that encourage problem-solving skills and concentration. The spiritual being is awakened in the spectacular beauty and silence of the hilly wilderness.
While each individual is challenged, each person is simultaneously challenged to work and live in a collective, enhancing communication and cooperation skills. It is a rich exercise for future living – in harmony with nature – within the township of Auroville.