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News Story
Updated: 03/20/2018 08:30:00AM

A Boys’ World

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SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Kaleb, 11, and Director Greg Kanagy at the "Cowboys" campground, where the youngest group of boys lives at Gator Camp Wilderness School.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Toothbrushes, cups await at the wash stand. The entire washing up structure was built by the boys using only hand tools.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Entrance to Gator Camp Wilderness School.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Lake area "where boys will be boys." Boys have time to fish and swim in the lake.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

The camp's mess hall, where the boys eat five days a week.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Kaleb checks out chocolate cake cooked over campfire coals in a Dutch oven.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Entrance to Gator Wilderness Boys Camp

By ANNE EASKER, Staff Writer

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Kaleb names all the drills, saws, and other hand tools used by his group at Gator Wilderness Camp School. They use the tools to build tents where they live in the woods east of Punta Gorda. Aidan calls out the orange trees and other plants just starting to shoot up from the ground next to the new sleeper tent he’s helping design and build.

The two boys are “Cowboys” in the youngest group at the camp, which is a Title I private school tucked away in rural Charlotte County. The camp provides an alternative to traditional school structures for boys ages 10 to 15 who are struggling in their classrooms, with their families, and in their communities. On a 250-acre property, they learn to chop wood and cook over the fire, plan their own hiking and canoe trips, and build better relationships.

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