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No Frills with Outdoor Skills

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Hey, Camp Fans!

Different summer camps tend to offer a different variety of activities for you to take part in during your time spent there. However, many offer the traditional skills you think of when it comes to camp: Archery, Canoeing, High Ropes, etc. Another activity that’s offered at most every summer camp is an educational expedition known as Outdoor Skills.

Having the know-how for any number of the following skills will come in handy for the avid campers and outdoorsy folks. Check out all the cool things camp can teach you about survival in the Great Outdoors…

Sweet Home Away from Home
Choose a campsite free from natural dangers like valleys where water will collect, insect nests, and dead branches or falling rocks that may crash down in the middle of the night.

Gimme Shelter
Setting up shelter is top priority once you’ve determined your campsite. If you don’t have a tent or hammock packed along, you can always make a temporary shelter by setting large branches securely against a fallen, angled tree. You’ll want to lay debris down to sleep on as well.

To Build a Fire
Creating a pit for your fire is the first step. Then, place your smallest pieces of dry wood on the bottom and lay your firewood on top around the small twigs and other kindling (note: pine cones and tree sap makes great kindling). Keep your fire to a manageable size as you continue to add firewood. And never leave your fire unattended! For further fire safety check out this older Blog post

Knowing Where You’re Going
Nature provides! When you have no other resources, you can always use the sky to find your way. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west no matter where you are on the Earth. This will always give you a decent idea of what direction you’re heading in.  

Nightly Navigating
I said you can always use the sky. So what about when the sun has set? If you can find Polaris—the North Star—(on the end of the Little Dipper’s handle). The North Star never moves, so face Polaris and you’re facing true north.

Get the experience and understanding for these invaluable skills that will surely make it possible for you to survive in the wilderness. Have fun learning from your own involvement at summer camp and enjoy basking in your accomplishment when it’s all said and done! As always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

 

- John


The Art of Gardening

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Good times, Green Thumbs!

Gardening is an age-old skill that’s been passed down through the generations as something that’s always been and always will be an incredibly useful skill—essential to our survival! Understanding how to work alongside Nature to reap the nourishment of the Earth is an incredibly rewarding experience that teaches us patience, diligence, and responsibility.

Gardening seems to have first been not so much a result as much as the catalystHave you ever seen so much green? for the first steps away from nomadic living—giving way to the first settlements and cities. It was first practiced in forests where food-producing vines and trees were cultivated in groups. Eventually, the garden space was brought to more domestic means with a purpose more ornamental than nourishing. But its practical means returned within the Middle Ages which eventually led to personal plots in backyards.  

The Benefits of Gardening:

Good for the Mind

Simply being in these beautiful spots gives us quiet time to ourselves to think—or to not think! People will often grow gardens to have easy access to homegrown food, but gardens are enjoyable simply for the beautiful spots they occupy. It’s nice to walk among the new growth, appreciating the fresh sights and smells of plant life.

Good for the Body

Keeping a garden gives you the daily chore of care-taking after the life you’re growing. Tilling the soil, planting the seeds, weeding the area, and more—taking care of a garden is taxing, physical work! You’ll fit in some decent exercise just by taking care of your daily gardening chores!  

Good for the Soul

The plants have a way of bringing peace close to us. Cultivate a calm within yourself to put your soul at ease. Watering your plants and coming out to harvest them when your efforts have come to fruition is a fantastic feeling that goes beyond the senses!

If you’re passionate about Gardening, then I recommend you look into a summer camp that offers it as an activity to boost your familiarity with the skillset. If you already have a camp in mind, call them up to ask about their program. And, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

 

- John


Jacked About Juggling!

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Hey, Cool Campers!

The number one reason for kids to go to summer camp is to have fun! And camps are really good at showing kids a fun time! Most camps offer somewhere between 50 and 100 activities! Some activities are an outlet for your sense of adventure while others indulge your quieter side to enjoy a simple activity that provides a creative outlet. And today’s activity definitely falls under the latter category.

Today, I’m talking about Juggling!

Juggling is documented in Ancient Egyptian paintings on tomb walls that date back as far as 4,000 years! Juggling is a skill that’s been passed down from generation to generation! So far, it’s made it four millennia! Who knows how long it will last?! It’s had its dips and spikes in popularity throughout history. Following a long lull from the court jester days, Juggling came back in a very big way as a part of the act in Vaudeville song and dance shows.

To learn the art of Juggling requires patience, determination, focus, and just a bit of direction. It’s easier to start with two Juggling balls instead of the traditional three, but the concepts are basically the same. If you’re going to attempt three, you want to start with two Juggling balls in your dominant hand and one in the other—otherwise one in each hand if you’re just starting with two.

Starting with your dominant hand, toss one Juggling ball about eye level and when that ball reaches the apex—the height of the toss, throw the ball from your other hand underneath the arch of the ball that’s airborne. Catch each ball as they come down in the respective hand and repeat. It’s that simple. But it takes days of practice to achieve the muscle memorization and fluidity.

I can say from experience, though—the time spent is well worth it! Juggling sharpens your concentration and, once you have the motions down, can be very therapeutic! See if your camp offers Juggling for their activities and, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


You Wanna Take My Picture

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Fun times, Photographers!

Photography can be a casual love or it can be a deep passion! One way or another, it’s a great way to visually record moments in time and to express yourself as an artist. The cameras most frequently used nowadays are built in to our mobile phones! They’re typically used for snapping a quick picture to share with friends or store away for later.    

But for those who are serious about the art of photography, there’s a lot more to it than simply zooming and tapping your phone screen. The camera itself was first invented around 1825, but the concepts of the invention dates back to the ancient Greeks! I shared the history of photography a while back on this Blog—you can find the post by clicking here.Were you born to look through the lens and capture those candid moments of reality?

The Benefits of Photography:

Creative Outlet

Capturing not just a picture but your artistic vision is an inspiring and fulfilling experience from behind the lens! Whether you’re abiding by the Rule of Thirds or choosing to play by your own rules, Photography offers an awesome creative outlet for your inner artist!   

Type of Journal

Traditionally when we think of a journal, we think of a collection of written word passages about autobiographical subject matter. However, lots of different things can play the role of a journal—like songwriting, to give just one example. Photography is no different! You can use the pictures you’ve taken as a means of some sorts to documenting your life.

Stress Reliever

I guarantee your blood pressure lowers after you spend just a little while steadying your shot, lining up the proper angle, focusing your lens. Photography is indeed stress relieving and is inevitably healthy for your mind, body, and spirit!

Boosts

Lastly, after spending long bouts of patience and effort snapping the perfect pictures, reviewing the fruits of one’s labors is a satisfying and natural self-esteem booster! Seeing what a great job you did makes you feel great about yourself and can teach you how to do some things better next time!

If you’re passionate about Photography, then I recommend you look into a summer camp that offers it as an activity to boost your familiarity with the art form. If you already have a camp in mind, call them up to ask about their program. And, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

 

- John


What's Wood Got to Do With it?

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What’s up, Woodworkers?

Woodworking is essential to our daily existence—everyone alive likely uses something made from wood every single day! Most folks spend their days within the wooden walls of their home. It’s kind of hard to avoid! Whether you’re making a birdhouse or constructing a house for people, you’re sure to get a great sense of pride when you reach the fruits of your labor!   

People have been using wood as material to create useful tools and beautiful Woodworking just might build a little birdhouse in your soul!objects throughout all of ancient history and back into prehistoric times as well. This natural resource has stood the test of time and shown us its value even in our modern era of steel skyscrapers and plastic tools. It is, however, an artform that’s not as common as it was back in the day.

The Benefits of Woodworking for Kids:

Creative Outlet

Making a physical object with your hands gives kids a place to focus their creative efforts. It may not be thought of as a common art medium (as opposed to visual art, music, or dance), but woodworking is just as creative and artistic as any other form of art!   

Figuring It Out

The challenge of working with wood confronts kids with flaws in the design or a process of trial and error. Woodworking aids kids in sharpening their problem-solving skills and builds confidence with more hands-on experience.

Measure Twice…

There are absolutely mathematical skills involved in the art of woodworking. Making things out of wood is a great tangible way of teaching kids to counting and measuring skills.

The Right Stuff

Woodworking gives kids experience with the proper tools for carpentry such as a tape measure, a speed square, screwdriver or hammer. For most people, especially with an activity like woodworking, experiential learning is the dominating means of gaining knowledge.

If you’re passionate about Woodworking, then I recommend you look into a summer camp that offers it as an activity to boost your familiarity with woodworking. If you already have a camp in mind, call them up to ask about their program. And, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

 

- John