Fall for Young Buds

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by Nancy Pryor, Camp Kum-ba-yah Naturalist

Most of us are aware of the enormous benefits of outdoor nature play, particularly among very young children. At the same time, the critical benefits of early childhood education are well documented. Camp Kum-Ba-Yah’s Young Buds program for ages 2-5 was developed to harness these benefits for the Lynchburg area’s youngest residents. I am a certified Master Naturalist, and am thrilled to be back in Lynchburg, leading the Young Buds programming for Camp KBY.

I spent 29 years in Northern Virginia, many of these working as a Naturalist for Huntley Meadows park, one of the most wonderful natural places in NoVA. It is great to be back home in Lynchburg and I am thankful to have connected with Camp KBY to offer the Young Buds program.   

Camp KBY’s mission is to serve emerging social needs by engaging children, families, and our community in meaningful outdoor experiences. Young Buds is the outgrowth of our attempts to address early childhood education and provide meaningful experiences and access to nature for all children.

In a series of nature programs for children ages 2 – 5, our young buds explore seasonal nature topics through hands on activities, stories, songs, games, outdoor exploration and crafts.  The first Young Buds programs took place last spring. Participants explored the sounds and life cycle of frogs, the variety of animal eggs and the intricate life cycle of butterflies. Each of our programs includes movement, exploration outside, a craft, songs to commit to memory and lots of fun.

September 6: Nuts about Squirrels

September 20: Trees are Terrific

October 11: Pumpkins, Pumpkins

November 15: Let’s Talk Turkey

November 29: Animals in Winter

December 13: Evergreens

In August, Young Buds explored the lives of bees and their important role in our world. A spectator would have found a bunch of buzzing bees doing their “waggle” dance as they visited flowers and sipped nectar from their proboscis (fancy straw). It is no surprise that August’s programs also had a waiting list! It seems more and more people are realizing the important role the natural world plays in our own wellbeing.

As a Lynchburg native, I grew up in the Boonsboro area not far from KBY. Growing up near the mountains, and having woods around my neighborhood to explore and play in, helped me develop a deep appreciation for nature that I carry with me today.   After graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Early Childhood Education, I moved to Alexandria, VA with my husband.   I taught preschool there for many years. I then started volunteering at Huntley Meadows Park in NoVA and took classes in Natural History Field Studies where I learned more about ecology, geology, birds, insects, and plants.  

I became a Naturalist and got a job at Huntley Meadows teaching nature programs for children ages 2- 6 and leading elementary school children on field trips.   It was a dream job, combining my favorite things: teaching young children and nature.  I was also lucky to be working at one of the most wonderful natural places in Northern Virginia.   I loved my job! Five years ago though, we moved back to Lynchburg to be closer to my elderly parents.  

I am now enjoying the opportunity to teach nature programs to young children at KBY.  We hope that you will register for our upcoming Young Buds programs this fall and winter.

Please register in advance and let us know if a conflict arises so we inform our waitlist. We ask you register each child age 2-5 years old. There is a $5.00 registration fee to commit families and provide more accurate numbers for our planning and craft preparations. For additional children simply request the sibling discount and we will process the discount prior to the program.

We do not want a fee to be a barrier to participating and are happy to waive the fee for families who communicate with us. If we find that we still have a large waitlist we will happily explore adding a second session so as to accommodate as many young buds as we can.


About Nancy: Nancy likes to garden, hike and enjoy walks in the many natural places in the Lynchburg area.   She is a member of the Central Virginia Master Naturalists and participates in a variety of volunteer activities with them, including stream monitoring, planting trees and removing invasive plants from natural areas. However, her favorite activities are volunteering working with children at KBY and Claytor Nature Center.

Brian Crowderyoung buds