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Waypost's Vision for Sustainable Living

In the fall of 2009, Waypost Camp in Hatley, Wisconsin adopted a vision to provide environmental education experiences to all ages.  These experiences focus on developing caring and responsible stewards of nature, demonstrating environmentally sustainable practices, and being a place to explore, recreate, rejuvenate and connect with God’s creation and each other. 

Sara Damrow, Director of Waypost, described what happened next: “The staff, campers, congregational leaders, and other guests began to live out the vision – both inside and out.  It has been a true learning process – as we rearranged our traditional camp schedule, reviewed the priorities for programming, and put new ideas and practices into action.”

The camp schedule was adjusted so that every morning, following breakfast, campers engage in 45 minutes of a “Sustainable Living Activity.”  These include bread making (campers make 95% of the bread at camp including - Waypost Wheat, Breadsticks, Soft Pretzels, English Muffin Bread, and Hamburger Buns), composting or vermicomposting (all paper towels at camp are composted, as well as compostable food waste), recycling, aquaponics, and working in the Garden of Hope to harvest, plant, and water (using the rainwater collected from rooftop runoff). 

“Sustainable Living” can be an abstract concept that is difficult for adults, let alone children.  However, Waypost’s program turned this concept into something that campers could define and explain.  Here is how campers describe sustainable living:

  • Something that helps us last for a long time - maybe forever.
  • It’s like a circle - everything goes around and all of it gets re-used.
  • Loving and taking care of God’s creation.
  • Sharing what God gives us with others and not taking more than our share.
  • Thinking about what we need rather than taking what we want.
  • Making the world a better place for the future.
Sara’s response to these statements is justifiably enthusiastic: “These statements are amazing …inspiring…and even reassuring. Campers, first graders through grandparents, are learning how to make the community of Waypost, their congregation, their hometown, and even the world a better place. They are excited to make their own bread, plant, tend, and harvest their own food in the garden, share food with other communities and organizations, take care of camp by recycling what we use, and creating soil for our garden with compostable food waste.” 

At Waypost, campers leave for home with experience and tools that can make their own lives more sustainable. They have learned the value of taking care of God’s creation and making sure that there is enough for all.