Sycamore Creek Farm campers enjoy opportunity to work with alpacas

Friday, July 26, 2013 | 5:27 p.m. CDT; updated 6:15 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 26, 2013
Campers learn about how to harness and walk alpacas as well how to do many different fiber arts Thursday at Sycamore Creek Farm.

COLUMBIA — Alpacas hummed in the pen by the barn and cardinals flew past as Shade and Cricket, two black barn cats, lazily scratched at the ground and rubbed up against campers.

“Put on your barn shoes, campers,” Catherine Stickann, owner of Sycamore Creek Farm and camp counselor at the summer camp, called to 11 campers Thursday morning near her home on the farm before leading them down to the alpaca enclosure.

Sycamore Creek Farm sits off of Highway EE near downtown Rocheport and is the perfect setting for students to get away from the distractions of everyday life and get in touch with nature, Stickann said.

“Observation is a huge part of the camp,” she said. “If (the campers) don’t start looking at the world they live in, they won’t know why they need to protect it.”

This was the fourth camp session this summer, and all but three attendees were returning campers. Some had been to as many as 15 or more sessions of camp. Stickann has been running the camp for seven years.

Beyond learning how to work with the alpacas—harnessing, feeding and walking the animals—the campers also learn how to spin fibers into yarn and weave a bag. Once they finish these two projects, they can learn how to do other fiber arts like embroidery and weaving on a triangle loom.

Supervising editor is Alli Inglebright.

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