There’s Still Space Available at OSA!

Sydney c. 1944

When I was a kid in Oysterville seven or eight decades ago, summers were all about freedom and being outside and playing and exploring.  My memories are filled with picking blackberries in the meadow,  of finding the baby crabs that lived under the ballast rocks at the bay, of talking with Jimmy Anderson when he walked into town for his “fresh” can of milk each day.  The days were long, though the summers, too short.

Too, for part of each summer I attended Camp Willapa which was run by family friend Dorothy Elliott.  Although there were “rules” and “schedules” it’s the fabulous adventures I remember — the three-or-four-day canoe trips over to Long Island or up the Naselle.  Or camping at Beard’s Hollow or fishing off the end of the old wooden Nahcotta Dock.  There were animals to care for — bunnies and ducks and horses and goats — and new kids to meet who would become life-long friends.

The Oysterville School – Home of Oysterville Science Academy

I thought about all that when I received a note yesterday from a former Oysterville Science Academy student.  This is what it said:  OSA was one of my favorite camps! I loved participating in this weeklong camp for many reasons. One of them was meeting so many interesting people! We got to meet a blind wood worker, and many other awesome crafts people and scientists! Another great thing that happened was being able to go outside as much as we did! We got to go on little field trips, play in a tree fort, run around, and hang! We had great fun with an abacus and geography stars! My aunt got to talk to us about her Mars mission, which was really special. OSA was a great experience and I think others will enjoy it as much as me and my friends did!

This will be the fifth year of the three-week-long Oysterville Science Academy.  Each year I have taken great pleasure in seeing and hearing children’s voices over in the school yard.  (The Oysterville School has been closed for lack of students since 1957!!)  I have marveled at descriptions of their “process-driven” curriculum — presenting the building blocks of science (observation, classification,inference, measurement, etc.) while meeting experts and investigation the world (Oysterville!) around them.

OSA Students in Lab Coats, 2016

But I never quite equated it with summer camp.  And, yet… how did I miss that!  I am told there are still spaces available for this year’s Academy which will be held August 12 – August 20.   Incoming or outgoing fourth graders are the target participants.  If you know of a likely candidate — a neighbor, a friend’s child or grandchild — please spread the word.  It’s free!  It’s fun!  And it’s state-of-the-art science in an old-fashioned, historic setting.  Would that I were nine again!

For further information, contact Diane Buttrell at or 360-214-1267.  Hurry!  Time flies in summer!


One Response to “There’s Still Space Available at OSA!”

  1. Beloved Cuz, OSA was a great deal like the summer camp run annually during the 40’s and 50’s by the two matriarch’s in our family; Virginia Williams Jones and Barbara Espy Williams. This camp took place at The Red House in Oysterville where our doyens/mothers became suddenly like kids with us, excepting They Made The Rules. Every day was packed with adventure, mind-bending realities, work/play and it was a several weeks pleasure for all. We began each day with clamming. Each kid got his limit. We returned to clean all the clams while Gin and Barb fried a bunch of them, to be eaten with ketchup, toast and canteloupe. The rest of the clams were surrendered to the cannery to be rendered into winter clam chowder makings. The rest of our day included berrying, swimming/boating in the bay, making sand homes at the ocean, writing and acting in plays for our family members who would pay a penny to a nickle to see The Play. Our fathers came to Oysterville for a couple of weeks towards the end of summer. Our evenings then included stories of old days, cocktails (but not for kids) and fire light… Aren’t we LUCKY? YES, we ARE!!! With eternal love, KK

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