We offer many exciting activities from which campers can choose. Specialists and other staff plan thoughtfully to provide stimulating experiences, encouraging growth of knowledge and skills as well as self-expression. Each camper determines his or her program from the following specialty areas:
ARTS & CRAFTS
Creativity flourishes with the use of natural and purchased products in painting, drawing, printing, sculpturing, stained glass, weaving, tie and batik dyeing, jewelry-making, puppet-making, working with ceramics, macramé, collage, papier-mâché and as many other creative projects as fertile minds can imagine. There is never a charge for arts and crafts materials.
After an extensive training program, campers who achieve advanced skill levels can participate in a three-day white water canoe trip at the end of each session. Canoeing instruction is available for beginners and intermediates.
FARM & NATURE
A variety of small and larger animals usually including rabbits, ducks, goats, sheep and a calf are cared for by our campers with expert staff assistance. There is daily feeding, grooming, cleaning and lots of tender loving care. The larger animals are sheltered by a camper-built-barn, while a fenced-in area houses smaller animals and many of the small pets brought by campers.
FILM & PHOTOGRAPHY
Campers have the opportunity to learn the basics of black and white photography. Using our own darkroom, campers are introduced the process of developing, printing, and enlarging photographs.
Shire Village has a large riding ring and trails, with the horses cared for and housed in our stables. An important aspect of our program is that campers can take part in the care, grooming and feeding of our horses. Formal instruction is provided with children grouped according to skills, and special attention is given to those who need it. There is no charge for riding.
Music is always a part of Shire Village, and all musical instruments are welcome. Guitar lessons are offered as part of the ongoing program.
There are 96 acres of woodland and brooks to explore, not to mention rocks, plants, birds, frogs, insects and other friends who have been untouched by modern technology. Great emphasis is placed on understanding the ecological balance of nature. Campers make jams and bake pies from fruits picked in the area.
Our program encourages low impact camping: overnights, hiking, setting up campsites, foraging, learning what can be eaten and what should be avoided as well as the importance of leaving much of nature undisturbed. Each camper will participate in a bunk overnight during the first week of each session.
Included in our program are evening activities and special event days which involve full camp participation. A three-day long intensive program allows campers to select and deepen their skills in an area of interest. Guest artists and musicians frequently visit camp and run special programs.
We emphasize a non-sexist, non-competitive approach to sports and team sports are available on a daily basis. Among the sports offered: soccer, tennis, softball, volleyball, basketball, ultimate frisbee, and gaga.
American Red Cross swimming is provided at all skill levels. Instruction is required when a camper has not reached basic survival level. There are two free swims each day.
Plays, usually written, often cast, designed, and sometimes directed by campers, are only a part of the theatre program. Our skilled staff guides mime, movement, improvisations, readings, theatre games and explorations.
The Berkshires are rich in cultural experiences. Interested groups may avail themselves of the music, dance, theatre, state parks and other points of interest.
In our woodworking shop we provide instruction for using a variety of hand and power tools. Projects range from simple craft items to furniture.
Also among the activities we offer regularly are baking, cooking, jogging, dance (folk, modern and square), creative writing, newspaper, sewing, stationary-making, kite-making, campfires, yoga, comic strip creation, gardening, and Westfield River hikes.
In addition to more organized periods there is supervised free time when campers can play, sing, talk, or just relax. During afternoon free time we have a snack which may be ice cream, nuts or fruit.
Our campers are involved in the governing of the camp by participating in regular group discussions and Camper Council meetings that concern all members of the community.
At Shire Village we work hard to maintain a balance between recreational and learning experiences, with skill development an important part of the program. Some activities require commitment on the part of campers involving days or even weeks. For example, no one is allowed on the three-day canoe trip or the Appalachian hike trip without first achieving the basic levels of predetermined skills (the safety necessity for this is obvious). This means attending skill sessions, usually once a day, for several weeks.
Additionally, campers are expected to participate in the well being and improvement of camp as a community. There are a number of projects that require about an hour of a camper’s time, once a week. Helping maintain the camp community is a central responsibility of each camper and staff member.
We are aware of and concerned with the needs of all our camp population, and offer programs designed to satisfy the varied interests of children of all ages.