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Upper Valley Haven Summer Camp

Norwich, Vermont, Summer 2020

World Story Exchange's ongoing partnership with the Upper Valley Haven continued during the summer of 2020, with ample COVID-19 precautions. Since 1980 the Upper Valley Haven has provided temporary shelter and educational programming for homeless families and adults as well as food to anyone in need. Since 2016 World Story Exchange has provided educational programming for Bev's House, which is the children's center for families who are current or former residents of the Haven.

World Story Exchange's base of operations in Norwich, Vermont is blessed with woods and ponds, and provides an amazing environment for learning photography, exploring nature and enjoying the water on a hot summer day. This summer we hosted the Haven Summer Camp for two days of adventure, education and fun.

Over the years we have found the camera to be a unique tool for approaching the elusive educational goal of developing respect for nature. While working with a camera, students become calm and focussed as the technology requires their attention and manual dexterity. Their focus pays off quickly as our digital point-and-shoot cameras are easy to learn and yield beautiful results if basic techniques are followed. Once students learn the camera, the world around them suddenly becomes fascinating as they follow our aesthetic prompts looking for colors, shapes, patterns, textures, reflections and decisive moments.

Students often become immersed in the process of exploring the natural world in search of photographs, and before they know it they are noticing so many natural things that often go unnoticed - like mushrooms, moss, lichen, bark, newts, frogs, tadpoles, deer tracks and plants. Below are a few of the children's photographs from our summer workshop.

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