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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


Ready for S'more?

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Hey, Dessert Devourers!

The campfire craving that has everybody asking for “some more”, these gooey dessert sandwiches consist of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker. Today is National S’more Day. S’mores, though they weren’t always known as such, are the traditional campfire treat that have been around for roughly a century. Celebrate National S’mores Day with us at Everything Summer Camp by learning the histories behind each S’more ingredient.

The Health Cracker of Graham

Sylvester Graham was the Presbyterian minister who is responsible for inventing the graham cracker in 1829. The first Graham Cracker, made in Bound Brook, New Jersey, didn’t taste quite the same as the cinnamon/sugar cracker we know and love today. Sylvester prided himself on his health. He’s known somewhat as the original vegetarian and was trying to make a wholesome snack with his cracker. It used to be a lot more bland and dry. They were a lot healthier than the slightly sweet snack you buy in the stores today.

Chasing the Chocolate Dream

Born in the late 1850s, a teen-age Milton S. Hershey was bored with his printing apprenticeship that his father helped him find so he was quick to leave when he discovered a confectioner who taught him how to make marvelous candy! By the time Milton was just 19 years old, he opened up a candy shop, but he sold it just six years down the road. In the year 1900, he finally began manufacturing Milk Chocolate Bars under the name Hershey’s and grew it into one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world!

Making of a Marshmallow

Ever wonder why marshmallows are called marshmallows? With surprisingly the longest history, the name comes from the Althaea Officinalis plant which is a member of the ‘mallow’ family and likes to grow in marshes. Ya get it? This plant is no longer found in marshmallows, but the sticky contents of the plant’s root used to be the key ingredient. In Ancient Egypt, they’d use it as a cure for sore throats. They’d cover it in honey and nuts for a sweet treat as well! In the 1800s, French candy makers combined the plant root contents with sugar and beaten egg whites and created a sweet paste—the forerunner to the now-artificial, cylindrical, and jet-puffed treat we find today. 

Appreciate your S’mores today with a deeper knowledge of the ingredients that make up this delicious dessert sandwich and, as always, thanks for reading. Now go roast some ‘mallows and smoosh your S’mores together!

 

- John


Hey, You Lighthouse

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Happy Lighthouse Day!

Those tall coastal towers that cast their lights out to sea for nautical navigation of sailors at night have been fulfilling their purpose since roughly 300 BC. The very first lighthouse was built 450 feet high in ancient Egypt with a gigantic bonfire that was lit each night to light more than 30 miles out. That’s TEN miles more than the average visibility range for today’s lighthouses!

This original lighthouse was included as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World for its size. It lasted well over a thousand years until an earthquake toppled it. It didn’t resemble much the iconic image of today’s lighthouses, but even today you can find these symbols of hope in all different shapes and sizes. Here are several unique lighthouses.

Hollow House

This spiraling lighthouse is an interesting design that almost seems impossible with a papery or ribbon-like effect and creating the illusion of magically suspended lantern high up off the ground.

Lighthouse Landing Pad

Accessible only by air or sea, this lighthouse eventually received a landing pad on the very top of the tower for helicopter—the safest means of reaching this lighthouse because of all the rocks in the water scattered around the tower's base. 

Lady Liberty’s Lantern

Not too many people realize that the Statue of Liberty used to be a lighthouse. It hasn’t been used as one since 1902, but we used to use an electric light in Lady Liberty’s torch that shone for 24 miles. 

Those are my top three, but there are many other unique lighthouses out there. I came across a lighthouse designed as a giant ice cream cone and another one that looked like a big water bottle. You can get a more detailed idea of the history around these amazing architectural beauties from a past Blog post when you click here. Enjoy learning more about lighthouses and, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


Glen Bernard Camp for Girls

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Hey, Camp People!

Where was your summer camp experience this camp season? Maybe you went to the camp that we’re featuring on today’s Summer Camp Spotlight Blog post! We’re swinging the Everything Summer Camp spotlight across the Great Lakes region and just outside the country into Ontario in Canada where we find the wonderful Glen Bernard Camp for Girls found on the east side of Lake Bernard.

Mary Edgar chose this property because she found the glen at the base of a hill close to the lake to be perfect for a number of camp programs such as campfires, storytelling, outdoor plays, and other traditional games. The camp was founded in 1922—initially 225 acres but grew to 430 by just the second year!

Campers at Glen Bernard Camp get the opportunity to participate in traditional summer camp activities like Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing, Boardsailing, Theatre, Rock Climbing, Ropes Courses, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, Trampoline, Canoe Trips, Arts & Crafts, Tennis, Archery, Golf, and more!

Rich in character and charm, the buildings at Glen Bernard Camp don’t have to work too hard to coincide with the natural surroundings! The Main Lodge was constructed in 1936 with a sizable stage and space for an audience of 360. One of their buildings features three stories, an observation deck, and their Living Lightly Lab with rooftop gardens. The Dining Hall whips up meals that have been carefully planned out to meet the standards of the Ministry of Health!

Each cabin is suitable for 8 to 10 people. Bunny and Otter Campers have counselors sleep in their cabins while all the other campers’ counselors sleep separately but close by. Staff members are available throughout the night. Facilities for showers and toilets are centrally located in each section and give campers a sense of really roughin’ it without electricity in the cabins.

You may want to give Glen Bernard Camp a closer look for your own upcoming summer camp stay. Check it out for yourself sometime and, as always, thanks for reading today’s Everything Summer Camp Blog post!

 

- John


Love Me Tinder, Love Me Sweet

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Hey, Firestarters!

Happy Campfire Day, Fire Fans! I’ve posted about campfire safety and good how-to knowledge in previous years, but today, I want to share a handful of different items that can be used to help start your fire and ensure you have a great Campfire Day! Often enough, you can use tree twigs and branches, but nature doesn’t always provide the dry materials you need to get your fire ripping and roaring!

There’s still hope, however, if you left home with the right material!

TP Roll Tinder

Don’t throw away that dryer lint! Instead, pack it into a used-up toilet paper roll. When it’s time to make your fire, you can place your firewood around the lint-packed roll. Light the center of the roll and the flames will burn outwards, catching on the firewood as it goes. Made from household items that would otherwise be thrown away, these tinder rolls are lightweight for easy packing!

Tying the Headlines

Another option you have is to take five dry newspapers and to roll them into a tight tube. Then tie the tube into a knot. Place your firewood around this tied newspaper roll and light the knot on fire. The tightly knotted paper will burn slowly, allowing more time for the firewood to catch.

All that and a Bag of Chips

What kind of snacks did you pack? If you have a bag of potato chips you can actually use them as a fire-starter thanks to their fat content. Light a single chip on fire and it will burn for about 3 minutes. Pour a little pile of chips. Toss the burning chip into the pile of chips. Then, while this potato chip kindling is burning, place light, dry wood on top to catch fire over the burning chips!

You’re so Sappy

While wet conditions will ruin most natural items you could otherwise use, you can still use sap from evergreens! Trees ooze this pine resin out which happens to be highly flammable. Collect some for a good means of starting fire. 

Use these inventive ideas for tinder to start your own campfires this evening (with the supervision of adults, of course) and enjoy the hypnotic dance of the flames on this great National Camp Fire Day! As always, thanks for reading!

 

- John