Camp Blog

July 10, 2015

The penguins are coming! The penguins are coming! We hope you are planning to join us for our community movie night! There will be singing, dancing, eating, and, of course, the showing of Penguins of Madagascar! You and your family will have another opportunity to connect with counselors and camp friends for a night of family fun!

It is hard to believe that we are beginning the second half of camp. It has been exciting to see new friendships blossom and campers reaching out to make new connections. Campers are learning how to cooperate and problem solve, all while having fun! These skills will be useful in a variety of settings, including (don’t say it) the up and coming school year!

While the majority of our campers make friends easily, there are some campers who struggle. They don’t seem to “fit in” and have trouble relating to others. Don’t give up! One strategy to deal with this issue is to prepare your child for social situations by practicing conversation techniques with you at home. If your child is comfortable with responses to possible scenarios, he/she may be better equipped to deal with a real life situation.

Another means of practicing is to invite a potential friend to your home and set up a controlled situation. With you there to monitor, you can model appropriate behavior, and help your child to participate in activities that both children would enjoy. For more ideas, you might want to read the article, “Coping with Peer Problems and Teaching Friendship Skills”, by C. Webster-Stratton Ph.D. (www.incredibleyears.com/download/resources).

The staff at Green Acres is a group of dedicated and caring individuals who are here to help any way we can. It is our goal to help your child enjoy making choices, develop his/her creativity, make friends, and most important, have fun!

Green Acres; it’s the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Monday July 13, 2015 at 08:27AM
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July 2, 2015

Happy Birthday, America! We hope you were able to celebrate Red, White, and Blue Day with us at Green Acres. Our campers sported their patriotic colors, ran in our Fun Run, and participated in a spirited parade! To top it off, we were entertained by the exciting Blind Bike Trials. What a great day we had!

It’s hard to believe that we have completed our first two weeks of camp. We have been having so much fun! Campers have made new friends; have had the opportunity to take risks and try new activities, and have expressed themselves in a creative manner. Check out the Senior Camp murals currently displayed in the big room!

At Green Acres Camp, we encourage campers to take healthy risks. These might be in the form of sharing a joke at Gully, participating in an activity that a friend did not choose, or trying instead of saying, “I can’t.” Depending on the camper, each of these actions might cause one’s heart to beat a little faster and perhaps cause feelings of discomfort. However, choosing to break out of one’s comfort zone also contributes to healthy development.

As parents, we can facilitate our children’s development by encouraging and supporting taking appropriate risks. When your child expresses sadness that he/she didn’t get his/her first activity choice, praise him/her for trying something new. Ask questions about what the activity entailed and how it was enjoyable. Encourage your child to participate in an overnight even he/she is anxious. Talk about your experiences and the benefits of saying, “I’ll try”. Let your children know that developing a new skill takes practice, and that you support them. Try new activities as a family and model stepping out of your own comfort zone. 

For more information, you may want to refer to the article, “Healthy Risk Taking”, by Lisa Bottomley (Michigan State University Extension: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/healthy_risk_taking)

Creativity, Choices, Friendship, and Fun; all part of Green Acres, the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Thursday July 2, 2015 at 02:52PM
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June 26, 2015

It is Super Hero Day, and a variety of super heroes have been spotted all over campus. Capes, masks, and shields of all colors, shapes, and sizes adorn both campers and counselors in celebration of the first “Fun Friday” at Green Acres Camp.

Fun Fridays are just one of the creative and exciting themes that occur at our camp throughout the summer. Creativity, choices, friendship, and fun are the key concepts that are incorporated into activities on a daily basis.  Campers can be seen playing cooperative games, learning new dances, studying architecture, and creating original works of art, just to name a few!

This week, learn about your child’s experiences at camp. Listen for songs that your child might be singing and ask him/her to teach you the songs. Compliment your child on his/her use of creative materials and designs in art or woodworking projects, and display the creations in your home. Ask about new friends your child has made and plan a future get together.

Robin McClure, author of Ten Tips to Strengthen Families suggests that making your children a priority in your life will strengthen your relationship:

“Your children need to know that you believe they are a priority in your life. Children can observe excessive stress and notice when they feel you are not paying them attention. Sometimes, part of being a parent is not worrying about the small stuff and enjoying your children. They grow up so fast, and every day is special. Take advantage of your precious time together while you have it!”

Green Acres brings families together. It’s the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Monday June 29, 2015 at 08:43AM
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June

It’s June, and you know what that means... It’s time for CAMP! Are you ready? You may want to review the May blog to make sure you have everything you need.

We are very excited to welcome campers to Green Acres this summer. We have been preparing our classrooms, practicing our songs, and getting ready to meet you on Monday morning. It is going to be a fabulous summer!

If this is your child’s first time going to camp, you may want to have some conversations about how much fun he/she will have and the exciting activities that are available. Don’t worry if there are tears at the beginning. The counselors are experienced and will be sure to make your child feel comfortable and welcome. Before you know it, your child will be so involved with camp; tears will be replaced with songs and laughter. If you have any concerns or questions, be sure to contact your child’s Unit Leader.

If you are interested in learning more about what is happening at camp, we have several ways for you to keep in touch. Consider using the following:

Some photos from our orientation and open house are already available for viewing!

It looks like we are in for some hot weather, so be sure your child is dressed appropriately, carries a reusable water bottle, and brings sunscreen. We want everyone to be as comfortable as possible in order to enjoy all that camp has to offer.

So pack those backpacks, make sure you know your bus or carpool information, and get a good night’s sleep! We’ll see you in the morning!

Green Acres; it’s the place to be!!

Posted by lynnc on Monday June 22, 2015 at 02:38PM
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May

It’s mid-May, and camp is right around the corner! How did that happen? We were just complaining about the never-ending snow and cold, and suddenly we are adjusting our air conditioners! Well, ready or not, camp is almost here and it’s time to get prepared!

Clothing-Camp is not the time to sport spanking new clothes, unless dirt, paint, and grass stains are your friends. Kids should feel free to take risks and try new activities, not worry about whether mom will get upset about stains. If you insist on purchasing new clothing, consider a rashguard (GrUVywear) to help prevent sunburn, an extra swimsuit, or a hat to wear on those sunny days. Please make sure you label (Mabel’s Labels) your child’s belongings to help us keep belongings with their rightful owners.

Footwear: Your child will be very active throughout the day, and it is important that he/she wears comfortable shoes. Although sandals are cute, sneakers are the best choice as they will protect your child’s feet from scrapes, cuts, and uneven surfaces. Slip on shoes can be used to walk to and from the pool.

Lunch- Green Acres prides itself on being green. Make sure your child carries a reusable lunchbox and water bottle each day. Talk to your child about the importance of a nutritious lunch. Encourage him/her to help you pack it. You can find some new ideas at http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/family-meals

Sunscreen- Campers spend time both in and out of doors, and it is important for their skin to be protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Please make sure you apply sunscreen before camp, and send sunscreen with your child to camp for application after swimming. There are many opinions about the safest type of sunscreen for your child. Read about some ideas at the following website: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1005303-30-safest-sunscreens-3-avoid/#slide=35. Students should also invest in a pair of goggles for swim lessons. Make sure you label them with a permanent marker.

Backpacks- When choosing a backpack for all of the needed summer items, think about the size of your child. Heavy backpacks can injure a child’s back and may cause a child to lose his/her balance. Look for a pack that is an appropriate size for your child to carry. Swimsuit(s), towel, sunscreen, extra clothing, lunch, and a water bottle should be able to fit into the pack. http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/backpack.html#

The most important ingredient to pack is a positive attitude and sense of humor. Camp is an exciting experience that offers campers the opportunity to be creative, make choices, build friendships, and, of course, have fun! Encourage your child to be open to new friends, and to be kind to each other and the earth.  Green Acres Camp; it’s the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Monday May 18, 2015 at 01:29PM
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April

April offered a welcome respite from work; a chance to relax and abandon a schedule. Although I love my job, these short vacations are necessary in order for me to be the best teacher I can be. Students need time away from school as well, to relax, recharge, and rest! In just a few short months, summer will be upon us and your children will be immersed in a new environment; summer camp.

As the fourth child in a family of eight kids, I never had the opportunity to attend summer camp. It just wasn’t an option. Kickball, croquet, and badminton tournaments consumed the long summer days. Reading under my dad’s grape arbor, swimming in the town pool, and playing hide and seek with my siblings under the watchful eye of my mom, made summer fun. Most of the neighborhood mothers were home as well, helping to raise one another’s kids. It was a different time.

Today, life runs at a faster pace. Time is scheduled, families are busy, and there is an energy that seems to whisper, “Rush, rush, rush!” School is demanding and children are under more pressure than ever to perform at higher levels. Competition has become the operative word, and there doesn’t seem to be time available to relax, reflect, and create. Enter Green Acres Camp!

Green Acres Camp promotes what your child needs; choices, creativity, friendship, and fun, in a safe and nurturing environment. Campers are encouraged to take risks and develop skills they might not otherwise even attempt. If our children are going to grow to be confident and independent thinkers, they need these opportunities. (http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/nqsplp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/NQS_PLP_E-Newsletter_No64.pdf).

A variety of activities allow them to use their imaginations and be creative. D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) time provides the time to slow down and explore the world through someone else’s eyes (http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/children-and-teens-need-to-learn-the-importance-of-quiet-time).

Summers will come and go, but in this fast paced, competitive world, it’s important to think about what is most valuable for your children. Green Acres provides the experiences that will nourish your child in mind and body. Choices, creativity, friendships, and fun are what make Green Acres the place to be!
Posted by lynnc on Thursday April 16, 2015 at 03:45PM
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March

I am a teacher. I have taught for 35 years in Montgomery County Public Schools. March is typically “testing month” where we assess what our students have learned through standardized tests of one type or another. It is also the time of year when I start evaluating myself and what I have learned from my students. It is amazing how much our children can teach us if we are open to learning.

Ted Rubin, a Social Marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and brand evangelist focusing on relationships, has published “The 12 Most Important Lessons We Can Learn from Children.” These ideas may seem simple, but we, as adults, can change our lives if we stop and really listen to our children. At camp, children have an opportunity to share these lessons with us every day.

  1. Be Yourself- We celebrate the unique characteristics of all campers so that they can be exactly who they are. Children learn cooperation and acceptance, which fosters individual development.
  2. Just Be Happy- We start each day with a friendly greeting and a smile. We encourage campers to have fun, make friends, try new things, and express themselves creatively. What a great way to be happy!
  3. Skip- At Green Acres, we skip, hop, dance, and run throughout the day. Campers are able to choose a variety of activities which involve all sorts of movement!
  4. Make Friends- Friendship is a main focus at Green Acres. Campers learn the value of maintaining bonds with old friends while making room for new ones. Campers look forward to reuniting with friends each summer, and we encourage fostering those friendships throughout the year.
  5. Say what you mean, mean what you say- Camp provides an opportunity for children to communicate with both staff and their peers. Staff members model the importance of sending clear messages and work with campers on their communication skills.
  6. Smile- Smiles are found in abundance at camp. Just check out the photos we share throughout the summer. Whether at Gully, in activities, chatting with friends, or sharing a joke with a counselor, your child will be smiling throughout the summer!
  7. Relax…take a nap- While actual napping is usually only seen in Unit K, camp does provide an opportunity  for campers to break away from the school routine and have some fun. Cooperation, rather than competition, is stressed, and kids can choose what they would like to do for part of each day. Daily D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) periods let children curl up with a good book while resting their minds and bodies.
  8. Be Fearless- Green Acres encourages taking risks and trying new activities. Whether it is art, dance, a sport, or even learning to swim, campers have the opportunity to overcome their fears in a safe environment under the supervision of caring adults. Camp is where new experiences occur and memories are created.
  9. Sing- “Black Socks”, “The Princess Pat”, and “The Moose” are just a few of the favorites that you will hear at Green Acres. Campers sing at Gully, in their units, and sometimes while traversing from one activity to another. If you are the parent of a Junior Camper, you will probably be serenaded while driving in the car! Ask your child to share his/her favorite camp song! It may be one of your own favorites.
  10. Wonder about Everything- Introducing campers to new experiences naturally invites questions and new ideas. Science experiments, woodworking, art, and gardening are just some of the experiences that will ignite a child’s imagination and encourage him/her to wonder.
  11. Explore- Nature hikes, non-competitive games, and following a hypothesis in science foster the inquisitive nature of a child. Green Acres provides many opportunities for exploration inside and outside the building.
  12. Play- Play exists in many forms at Green Acres. Whether at outdoor recess, sports, imaginative games, or in workshops, counselors and campers play on a daily basis. Playing allows campers to have fun, express themselves creatively, and learn all at the same time.

Children are our most precious resource. Take time out of your busy schedule and focus on your kids. You just might learn something! We hope you will be joining us at camp this summer! Green Acres; it’s the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Wednesday March 11, 2015 at 03:27PM
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February

February may be the shortest month of the year, but did you know that each of those twenty-eight days has its own national holiday? Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Not a romantic? Take a ride on a Ferris Wheel to celebrate National Ferris Wheel Day or make your plans for the future official, and donate your organs for National Organ Donor Day, both celebrated on February 14th.

February 16th provides you the opportunity to show your softer side with Do a Grouch a Favor Day, or you can simply be patriotic and acknowledge our founding fathers on President’s Day.

Make a toast on February 22nd for National Margarita Day or cook an orange spud in observance of National Sweet Potato Day! The possibilities are endless!

In addition to the many holidays, the month itself is also celebrated. Black history, American Pie and Children’s Dental Health are just a few of the observances dedicated to the month of February. To keep track of all of these celebrations, and impress your children with your amazing knowledge, check out http://nationaldaycalendar.com/calendar-at-a-glance/february/ .

Some of you may be aching for that big winter snowstorm that just won’t seem to come, while others have had enough of the cold and are anxious for spring. In either case you can celebrate your way. Try a snowflake workshop with your kids. Visit http://www.carlemuseum.org/studioblog/?cat=93 for directions. Many more ideas can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/pamelahaberman/snow-winter-snacks-projects/. If spring is in your step, how about making some painted sneakers or a potato print shirt. Martha Stewart will guide you through her website http://www.marthastewart.com/275300/kids-art-projects/@center/276975/marthas-crafts-kids#264460 .

Almost any typical spring game can be taken outside into the cold and snow (if we’re lucky to have any). Choose from snow baseball, snow dodgeball, or snow football just to name a few. http://fun.familyeducation.com/winter/neighborhood-games/68662.html?page=8 .

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it sure is packed with all kinds of fun things to do! Take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with your kids. Don’t forget to keep in touch with the friends your children made at camp. Before you know it, school will be over and it will be that time again! Green Acres; even in February, it’s still the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Monday February 16, 2015 at 08:59AM
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January

It’s mid-January; the time of year when people are tired of the gray and cold, the time when kids long for either a big snowstorm or a warming thaw, and the time when new year’s resolutions may have already been broken. The top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 according to www.statisticbrain.com  are as follows:

Rank

Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2014

1

Lose Weight

2

Getting Organized

3

Spend Less, Save More

4

Enjoy Life to the Fullest

5

Staying Fit and Healthy


I’ll bet that some of those resolutions were the ones you made (and may have already broken) for 2015. Let’s take a look:

1. Losing weight always seems to be number one on the resolution list. This year, the focus is on nutrition rather than calories. Think about the nutritive value of the food you are eating. What healthy ingredients can you substitute for those with little or no benefit to your nutritional goals? Concentrate on little changes you can make rather than tackling everything at once. More ideas can be found at www.littlechanges.comwww.draxe.com, or www.foodbabe.com.
 

2. Let’s face it - when you’re organized, life works better. You can find items you need, you are more relaxed because you know where everything is, and you can cross items off of your “to do” list with satisfaction. Three main categories are organization of space, time, and how to use your time efficiently. We all want to work smarter, not harder. There are many helpful resources to get you started; www.realsimple.com suggests 31 low-cost ideas to get organized, www.hgtv.com tackles everything from inspiring your kids to get organized to dealing with kitchen clutter, and www.smead.com offers methods to reduce stress through organization. If you are in way over your head, there are even professional organizers for hire. Organizing your life and reducing your stress lead to a healthier and more enjoyable life.

3. Who doesn’t want to spend less and save more? It’s not as hard as you think if you are willing to take a look at your habits. It fits right in with your getting organized goal. We have all heard about cutting coupons and eating out less, but what about distinguishing between a “want” and a “need”? Make a list of what you want and wait a few days to see if you really need it. When shopping with children, give them a pen and paper to make their list. Sometimes writing it down is all they need to keep them occupied. Take advantage of sales and do purchase gifts at a cheaper price rather than rushing at the last minute during the holidays. It will reduce stress and save you money. Cut out the junk food and explore ways to make healthier snacks. This will help your goal to eat more nutritiously while keeping more money in your wallet. Sometimes if you shop in your pantry you will find more than enough ingredients to make something. What a great way to spend time with your kids! For more ideas, see www.indestructables.com and www.wealthgathering.com.

4. Enjoy life to the fullest. Interestingly enough, we tend to enjoy life when we give of ourselves. That doesn’t have to be monetarily. Share your time, share your talent, and share what you value.

 Fred Glazer from Vector Marketing suggests the following 3 tips:

  1. Make a positive difference in someone else’s life.

  2. Do something you enjoy each day.

  3. Challenge yourself daily.

By following these principles, you will automatically be working towards your first three resolutions, and you will be happier for it.

5. Even though staying fit and healthy is listed as number five of the most popular resolutions, it is an umbrella under which the other four are found. Eating nutritious foods, organizing your life and reducing stress, saving money, and enjoying your life all add up to becoming fit and healthy.

Whether or not you made any resolutions, it is not too late to start thinking about enjoying your life more and helping those around you to enjoy theirs.

Did you “summer in the snow” last weekend? It was a great time complete with music, glitter tattoos, face painting, planting, snowman soup, and more! Kids were laughing, parents were smiling, and we were all soaking up the good feelings that come with camp! It was an opportunity to rekindle old friendships and to put a positive spin on January. We hope to see all of you this summer! Green Acres Camp; it’s the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Friday January 23, 2015 at 02:39PM
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December

December. There is a cold snap in the air. The memories of eating s’mores comes to mind as you detect the faint smell of logs burning in a fireplace.  Leaves crunch under your feet as you take your evening walk, a familiar tune about a moose running through your mind. Looking toward the sky, a slight smile crosses your face as you recollect a conversation you had with your child about constellations. It can only mean one thing; it’s time to register for camp again!

Although camp is sandwiched between the ending of school and the last weeks of summer vacation, the benefits are reaped all year long. During camp, your child was offered a variety of learning experiences from which to choose each day. The simple act of making those decisions helped to foster independence and character development.

Your child met other children throughout the summer, and learned how to work cooperatively with others in a variety of situations. New friendships formed and important relationships were established. Hopefully these friendships have continued to grow.

Campers were given the opportunity to learn and express themselves through dance, music, art, and cooperative games. Exploration occurred in science, robotics, and cooking. Perhaps your child learned to use a hammer for the first time or learned a new stroke in the pool. New skills and special memories have begun a foundation upon which to build.

Of course, none of this could happen without a group of people dedicated to children - the camp staff. You have probably heard your children regale stories about a favorite counselor, laughing at silly antics performed at Gully, or sharing an affinity for a particular author. Children eagerly look forward to seeing their friends and counselors each year.

But don’t just take my word for it. Come and join in the fun at our “Summer in the Snow” event (EVITE LINK click here) on Saturday, January 10th and see camp in action!

You might want to read an article about the importance of camp for child development, written by Barry A. Garst, Ph.D.: http://www.acacamps.org/sites/default/files/images/research/connect/presentations/ten_reasons_camp.pdf

Green Acres Camp- it’s the place to be!  See you in January!

Posted by lynnc on Wednesday December 17, 2014 at 01:45PM
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11701 Danville Drive North Bethesda, MD 20852
301.881.4100
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