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Creepy Crafts

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Hey, Artsy-Fartsy Folks!

If a clever means of three-dimensional, multi-media art is your idea of a good time, you’re likely to find this kind of fun at your next summer camp experience! Arts & Crafts is a definite essential to just about any summer camp. Camps know that kids love to break out the construction paper, popsicle sticks, and glue. What’s especially great about Arts & Crafts in particular is that you can work on something pretty much any time of year right at home!

While timely Arts & Crafts projects can be appropriate any time of year, the current Harvest season offers a great time to craft your own creations to make some spooky Halloween decorations! Along with pumpkin carving, this holiday is begging for you to roll up your sleeves and get creative!     

Check out these great examples of holiday crafts:

Toilet Paper Roll Bats

These guys are really fun to hang up every year! A million Halloweens ago, my mother and I made bats out of toilet paper rolls! I cut black construction paper to glue over the rolls and we put paper circles with faces over one end to make ‘the head’. Then we cut a couple wings to glue on the middle section of the roll. My mother helped me attach invisible string so they could hang from the ceiling and ‘fly around’ when I’d set them in swinging motion! They were always my favorite.


Stapled Spiders
These creeping little buggers were quick projects to work on among my brothers and sisters. We’d set them on kitchen counters and the entertainment center. Simply wadded up paper a little smaller than your fist and sandwiched between two larger circles of paper, the ‘body’ of the spider was then stapled together along the edges of the circles. Then we stapled eight accordion-folded ‘legs’ to the body. Add some eyes and put it in a dark corner where it might surprise an unsuspecting brother or sister!

 

Cheesecloth Ghosts

Another favorite of mine growing up were these spooky specters. I never did make these myself and they likely require a trip to the store. This Arts & Crafts project is a little more involved; I’d tell you how to make them right here, but it’s probably easier to just watch this short and sweet video!

Hope these ideas aren’t too scary for you and that they create some fond memories of the Halloween season as they have for me! Enjoy spreading the holiday fear and, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


Kayakin' at Camp

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Hey, Kayak Kids!

While the summer camp season comes to a close, there are still some great summertime activities that you can enjoy. Few activities are more versatile than getting out on the water in a kayak. Kayaking is suitable for both adventurous as well as peaceful times between going whitewater kayaking as well as flatwater kayaking where you may have the opportunity to watch the sun set over the lake.

The word kayak translates to ‘man’s boat’ or ‘hunter’s boat’. The kayak was first created by the native Inuit people of the arctic as far back as at least 4000 years! The first kayaks were made from wooden frames or whalebones covered in the skin of seals and other available animals. Early kayaks varied greatly in design and were never really built the same as another.

Be sure while the weather still permits to enjoy outings in your kayak and seek whichever kind of experience you’re looking for whether it be a fast-paced, exhilarating rush or a calm, slow ride. But, in the meantime, learn a little about this great hobby and fun camp activity right now. Here are some kayaking benefits to entice you to get out on the water!

Getting You Where You’re Going

Kayaks allow you to see breathtaking Nature that would otherwise be inaccessible. Traveling by kayak can expand the ground you’re able to cover and enables you to access hard-to-reach areas such as a prize fishing hole.

Cardio, Kayaking, and You

A nice, low-impact activity, kayaking can improve cardiovascular fitness as well as strength. The paddling motion is proven to build muscles, especially in areas such as the back, arms, shoulders, and chest, but even muscles in your legs are engaged when you’re kayaking.

Paddle Your Stress Away

As I mentioned above, the flip side to the fast-paced rush of whitewater kayaking is a much more mindful and relaxing experience on a still lake. It’s a very relaxing means of experiencing nature and can be a great source of relieving stress.

Enjoy every aspect of kayaking adventure if the opportunity is available to you! It’s certain to be a great way to appreciate Natural sights from a perspective you can’t view otherwise and offer you a sense of adventure whether you took a slow, scenic path through a creek or an adrenaline-charging challenge along a rushing river. And, as always, thanks for reading.

 

- John


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