- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Stephen Lyn Bales, editor

Paddlers on Mead's Lake

Paddlers on Mead's Lake
Outdoor Adventure Campers! on Mead's Lake. Photo S.L.B.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Outdoor Adventure Camp hosts kids from Norwood: Week 6

Most of the kids have never been on a lake. By the end of the week, they're seasoned pros. 

The epicenter of Outdoor Adventure Camp is beautiful, cliff rimmed Mead's Quarry Lake and a tent, pavilion and picnic tables nearby. Occasionally, the kids walk to the Visitor Center for an animal presentation or class, but most of the outdoor activities are around the lake and its companion trails and creek. So, the kids spend five days outside in nature away from brick and asphalt.

Every Monday we get a new group and the first day is spent with team building activities. The oldest kids are made team leaders. Week six most of the kids were from Norwood Boys & Girls Club. 

Every Tuesday, the kids get their first trip to the lake for some basic instruction on safe practices in the water. Most of these Boys & Girls clubbers have never been in a lake to this extent, but by Friday, they are seasoned veterans.

During the rest of the week there's many activities, but also many trips to the water, especially during the heat of the afternoon. Fridays always end with an ice cream social.


Outdoor Adventure Camp is a confidence builder. It's a new program for Ijams and it's made possible with the help of these generous partners:

          • West Knoxville Sertoma Club 
          • Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley 
          • Grassroots Outdoor Alliance 
          • Horny Toad Activewear 
          • Pelican International 
          • River Sports Outfitters

Additional food and funding provided by:

          • South Knoxville Alliance  

Ijams offers camp scholarships for kids in traditionally under-served communities. After the first four weeks we've seen kids from Walter P. Taylor, Western Heights, Middlebrook, North Ridge Crossing, Halls/Powell and Haslam and Norwood Boys and Girls Club. 

Here's some highlights of week six:


- Story and photos by Stephen Lyn Bales. Additional photos by Jessica Frazier, Lauren Bird and Amanda Cleveland.

































And a thank you to the South Knoxville Alliance

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Teacher SIWI Workshop group visits Ijams


The TN Higher Education Commission sponsored a week-long workshop for content area teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing focused on Strategic & Interactive Writing Instruction in Knoxville. Yesterday, the attending teachers took a walking tour of the nature center.


"We had a wonderful time at Ijams today - thank you for working your magic!' Said Hannah Dostal. 

The workshop was coordinated by Kimberly Wolbers, PhD, Associate Professor of Deaf Education, UT; Brenda Stephenson MS, Instructor of Deaf Education, UT and Hannah Dostal, PhD, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education, University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education.

- Stephen Lyn Bales 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Heat of Aquatic Adventure week brought out the Slip 'N Slide




Just before the Fourth of July holiday break, the Nature Day Camp kids had Aquatic Adventures week.

The youngsters, ages 5 and 6, learned what animals lurked beneath the surface ponds and streams and how they survived in their watery world. They explored the aquatic habitats of Ijams and the animals that live there. It was a wet and wild week. And because it was so hot—90 plus degrees—there were watery games to cool things off, like wet sponge races and the good old Wham-O Slip 'N Slide.

The first sequence of photos should be viewed while you hum the theme music from "Chariots of Fire."

- Photos by Jennifer Roder and Stephen Lyn Bales. 


Sponge Race. The winners are not always the fastest
but rather the ones that move the most water.





Cheer on your team!


Because the losers get dunked with the winner's water!



And the dunker counselor Cam gets hosed.

Then it was time for the Slip 'N Slide

The secret of the Slip 'N Slide is to get a good running start. 










Finally, a refreshing spray for every one.