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What's all the Racket About?

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Hey, Tennis Players!

Sports are a great, healthy, and entertaining way to feed your competitive nature and keep yourself physically fit. There are literally hundreds of sports, but today is about only one of them: Tennis. Happy Play Tennis Day! Folks have been playing the time-honored sport of Tennis (or something resembling it) for centuries and it’s remained a favorite for so many people!

Tennis History
The Tennis that we know and love has actually only been around for less than 150 years. One Harry Gem, an Englishman, went over to his friend Augurio Perera place and the two developed the game there on Perera’s lawn. This led to the first Tennis club being formed in 1872 which initially consisted of only four members. Predecessors to the sport, however, are traced back to the 12th Century in France where it was called Jeu de Paume,which is French for ‘Game of the Palm’. Originally, there were no rackets and the game was played by hitting the ball with your open hand.

It helped Tennis along that King Louis X was a big fan of the game. He is considered to be the world’s first tennis player to be known by name. Since the days of King Louis X, Jeu de Paume changed greatly. Rules were added. Some were taken away. Rackets were thrown into the mix. And the competition we know today started to take form. It seems that, along with the game itself,today—Play Tennis Day—has likely been celebrated for centuries.

Play to Celebrate
Of course, the best way to celebrate Play Tennis Day is to pick up a Tennis ball or two and visit your local Tennis court, maybe with a friend. If you’ve never played before, introduce yourself to it. It’s lots of fun. And you can always play ‘against’ a wall if you don’t have a partner. Tennis is a really cool game—one that makes you face your opponent one-on-one without the help of teammates and only yourself on which you can rely. It’s a great sport to develop your sense of independence, drive, and determination.

It’s commonly found at summer camp, but you certainly don’t need to wait till this summer to get to playing! Your school may offer Tennis classes or maybe you can find a qualified instructor to teach you.However you choose to celebrate, Play Tennis Day is a great way to appreciate this beloved sport. As always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans. Your serve!


- John

Send a Card to a Friend Day

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Hey, Friendly Folks!

Sending Greeting Cards in the mail has been a time-honored tradition—one that probably goes back further than anyone would have expected. It’s a treasured practice around Christmastime that people look forward to sending and receiving, it’s a common birthday tradition, and it’s used for a slew of other special occasions. It can also just be a nice surprise when you have something special to say! 

Today is National Send a Card to a Friend Day.

You can buy cards at a store, print one from a design you find online, or roll up your sleeves and break out the markers for a very special handmade card! Whichever route you pick, it’s a really great feeling, knowing you’ll put a smile on a good friend’s face.

How will you choose who to send the card to? Well, throughout any given year, is there anyone you think of often that you aren’t able to see regularly? That person would probably be a good candidate.

Maybe it’s a friend from camp that you only get to see during your summer visits. Maybe it’s an old neighborhood friend who moved away or stayed put when you moved away. Maybe it’s a family member you’re close with that you don’t get to see often enough.

No matter who you pick or what kind of card you decide to give them (whether it be a sincere message or a funny joke), it’s sure to relay your love and thoughtfulness before the recipient even opens the envelope! Take a little time today to either find or create your own card and get it in the mail to somebody who means a lot to you.

We offer a good amount of camp-themed Greeting Cards here on our website which could be perfect to send to a good ol’ camp friend. It can read something like: “Can’t wait till we’re together again at camp!” Check out our options when you click right here and find a great card for one of your friends. Happy Send a Card to a Friend Day and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

A Winter Day for Writing

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Hello, Fellow Outdoor Fans!

Letters sent and received through the post office is one of the oldest means of long-distance communication preceded only by homing pigeons (birds trained and used to deliver letters and other small items). Today is designated to celebrate this old means of connecting with folks far away. Today is Letter Writing Day!

While writing letters is a big part of summer camp, Winter is a great time to flex your writing muscle for this therapeutic indoor activity and great way to spread some cheer as we venture into the holiday season! Here are some great reasons to sit yourself down today and write a letter or two to some of the people you have in your life.

Ain’t Nothing like the Real Thing, Baby
A letter is not an electronic message; it’s something corporeal that the recipient can hold and keep in their home. It exemplifies effort and thoughtfulness. It’s sure to bring a smile to that somebody when they receive your letter in the mail—a hundred times more joy than any text, email, social media message, or even a phone call could ever bring.

Great Mental Exercise
Writing a letter is an excellent way to keep your brain sharp. The wintertime especially can hold us sort of spellbound with what some refer to as ‘the blahs’. Articulating your thoughts through the written word gives you and the recipient clarity. It can feel a little bit like cleaning out your head! I feel better just writing this post!

The Power of the Pen
As I alluded to in a post I wrote years ago about Letter Writing Day, letters give a writer the space to really take the time to articulate their thoughts. You’ll find the opportunity in a letter to express yourself like you maybe never otherwise would. Use a letter to let somebody know what they mean to you.

These are just a few of the many benefits there are to writing letters to people. Make the connection and spread some cheer as we venture into the holiday season! Put your pen to some paper and see what comes out! Happy Letter Writing Day and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Terrifying Titles

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Hey, Halloweeners!

This time of year delivers in such a variety of ways; Halloween means costumes and treats. There’s also decorating and pumpkin-carving. But the main festivity Halloween is notorious for is telling a good spooky story! Finding a scary story to delve into was always my favorite part about Halloween. I learned a lot about witches, and vampires, and ghosts, and alike.

When I was a kid my mother would take me on trips to the public library where she would help me find the coolest Halloween books to check out. I’d hang onto them for a week or two and go back each year to check the same ones out.

I highly recommend you peruse your local library or other bookstores to find what could become your favorite stories! I put together a list of my old favorites. Maybe you’ll enjoy them as much as I have! Have your parents heat up some apple cider, grab a flashlight, and read these to you in the dark! The first group are good for any age while the second group is geared for older kids (like 10 and up).

All Hallows for All Ages
‘Scared Silly; A Halloween Treat’ by James Howe and illustrated by Leslie Morrill is one from the Bunnicula book series about one Halloween night with the Monroe family pets home alone.

‘A Woggle of Witches’ is a picture book written and illustrated by Adrienne Adams—a tale of witches on a nightly flight.

Eve Bunting tells of the spooky costumed visitors on a Trick-or-Treat evening in her book, ‘Scary, Scary Halloween’. Illustrated by Jan Brett.

Readers have a laugh over the funny shapeshifting of a witch’s hat in ‘The Witch’s Hat’ by Tony Johnston. Illustrated by Margot Tomes.

And—my absolute favorite—the story of a boy who’s expectations of Halloween night are underwhelmed despite the lurking monsters behind him in ‘It Hardly Seems Like Halloween’, written and illustrated by David S. Rose.

Better Wait Till You’re Older…
‘Nightmares; Poems to Trouble Your Sleep’ by Jack Prelutsky is a collection of children poetry that covers creepy creatures that go bump in the night. Arnold Lobel depicts these deadly beasts in inky illustration.

Sequel to ‘Nightmares’, Jack Prelutsky also put out ‘The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight; More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep’ to complete his collection of iconic characters of horror—illustrated by Arnold Lobel again. 

And lastly, ‘Halloween Poems’ is a compilation of macabre poetry selected by Myra Cohn Livingston and accompanied by the creepy artwork of Stephen Gammell.

Whether you find my old favorites or discover some new titles for yourself, have a dim, warm, and spooky time looking over the tales of terror in great Halloween books! Don’t get too scared now! And, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!


- John

Plan for the Patch

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Hey, Fall Friends!

A pretty essential part of Halloween and the Harvest season, pumpkins are the perfect type of produce for carving and placing on a front porch or window. Jack o’ Lanterns light up the night with toothy grins and eerie expressions. It’s important stuff—figuring out which side of a pumpkin the face will be on, deciding on the kind of face to carve, and finding the right place for your Jack o’ Lantern to sit.

It’s important enough that I wrote a Blog post about it a handful of years ago. You can check that one out by clicking right here.

However, as important as all those decisions may be, there’s an even more important step that comes before you can even start thinking about a face. That step is picking out your pumpkin (or pumpkins if you’re lucky)!

This step can be lots of fun and a cool part of the fall season if you know where to look. There are lots of places to find pumpkins in autumn. You can get them at grocery and convenient stores. Or it’s common to find pumpkins and other assorted gourds at roadside displays.

But, for a surefire way to have some serious fall fun, I recommend a visit to a pumpkin patch if the trip to a local farm isn’t too far for you. Walk among those bulbous vegetables and find your favorite of the bunch! Their orange bodies and green stems always evoke such specific personalities; they almost tell you what kind of face to carve! And a trip to a pumpkin patch may yield other seasonal festivities like a hay ride, or a corn maze, or cider with donuts!

Go find out what kind of fall fun you can have in your local community and enjoy picking out the right pumpkin for yourself. Happy Harvest, Everybody. And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John