Camp Blog

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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November

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

It’s November; the eleventh month, the month when the air becomes noticeably chilly and darkness arrives an hour earlier; the month when the minds of school staff and students alike drift to thoughts of Thanksgiving break; and the month when holiday decorations suddenly adorn the streets.

Surprisingly, it is also the month of many Awareness Events in the United States. This gives all of us an opportunity to pause and consider what is important in our lives. What have we taught our children, and how can we continue to increase their awareness of the world around them?

Consider adopting a cause as a family. There are many highlighted in the month of November. Educate your children and suggest volunteering to give back to the community. Your child may want to volunteer with a friend, which is a great way to foster the friendships that were made in camp.

The value of helping others, both within our camp and in the world beyond, is consistently reinforced in the Green Acres Camp experience through activities and events.  Ask you children about the canned food drive that was held at camp and how exciting it was to see how many can they collected. Food centers welcome non-perishable foods, especially during the holiday season.

Nursing home residents enjoy watching children perform. Children could sing songs, play instruments, or dance. Routines that were shared for Parents’ Day would delight the elderly who are not able to leave their residences.

Perhaps your children had a favorite art activity or craft that they could make for someone in the hospital. Remind them of the books they read during D.E.A.R. time and suggest that they read to a younger sibling.

The ways to give back to your community are endless. For more ideas, check out this website. Whether you reach out to your community or within your family, let’s focus on fostering positive relationships and appreciating the gifts we have. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by lynnc on Thursday November 13, 2014 at 02:26PM
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October

The leaves are falling, and pumpkins are springing up everywhere. Temperatures linger in the 70’s, as though trying to hold onto that last bit of summer, but the crisp chill of autumn will soon be here. Take advantage of this beautiful season to spend time with your child outdoors, and hold onto summer camp fun for just a bit longer.

We are fortunate to live in an area bursting with activities for family fun. Check out a variety of hiking trails at www.localhikes.com, or fall activities available at www.montgomeryparks.org. The outdoors provides an arena to relax and have fun with your children. Ask them to share favorite games learned at camp, or teach them a new one! Cooperative games offer a safe environment for a child who may not be interested in sports to participate. Ask your child about games that promote peace and friendship. You can find many ideas at www.peacefirst.org.

Halloween is right around the corner. Remember “Halloween Day” at camp, and the counselors dressed up in those crazy costumes? Ask your child about the ghoulish camp crafts made from recycled materials. For children who prefer a milder, less intimidating Halloween, there are friendlier creatures to create. Visit www.pinterest.com for some great ideas. You might want to reach out to some camp friends and organize a safe Halloween party, or go trick-or-treating together.

Creativity, choices, friendship, and fun; the values of camp continue all year, and Green Acres is still the place to be.

Posted by lynnc on Monday October 20, 2014
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September

With the cooler weather summer is coming to an end. Kids have removed swimsuits and towels from their backpacks and have replaced them with books and school supplies. It is a bittersweet ending to a season filled with “choices, creativity, friendships and fun”, but the memories continue to dance in the minds of Green Acres campers.

September presents an opportunity to revisit those memories and to rekindle summer friendships. Take a few minutes to reflect with your child on his/her camp experiences. Throughout the winter, you can use camp achievements to remind children how they succeeded at camp (i.e. "Remember when you were afraid to put you face under and then you did it? {This experience} is a little like that.")

Camp experiences are a valuable part of children’s lives, and parents can help to build upon them throughout the year. Watch “Monsters University” again and reminisce about how much fun the movie night was while wearing the special movie night t-shirt! You might even want to embellish it with glow in the dark fabric paint! Look through the camp photos with your child for a fun trip down memory lane, or order a t-shirt with a friend's photo on it for a holiday gift. 

Play games that your kids learned in their units, and ask your children to teach you the Green Acres song; if you don’t know the words, we can help! Go for a swim to practice summer swimming skills, or put a new spin on a summer craft for autumn (see Pinterest for ideas).

Before you know it, “Summer in the Snow” will be here. Save the date on your calendar (1/10/15), and take the opportunity to reconnect with staff and friends. Help children strengthen their friendships by making time for playdates throughout the winter. Remember you can always access your Camp Directory for play dates and birthday parties to maintain summer friendships. Keep in touch with Green Acres’ friends throughout the year by sending us photos and news about your child's activities, and we will post it on Facebook.

By reinforcing the joys of camp throughout the year, you can actually strengthen your child's connection to camp and reinforce the feelings of accomplishment and joy associated with camp. Keep in mind: http://psychcentral.com/lib/whats-so-great-about-summer-camp/000567

Green Acres Camp; it is still the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Friday September 19, 2014 at 09:47AM
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Protect Your Skin!

We have been having safe fun in the sun for five wonderful weeks through the use of sunscreen and protective clothing, but summer is not over yet. It is important to continue to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays during summer fun and whenever you are outside. Take this simple test and see how much you do or don’t know before you go out in the sun today!*

1. What percentage of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure?
2. True/False: Less than 33% of adults and children routinely use sun protection?
3. What form of skin cancer kills one person every hour?
4. What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
5. What are the peak hours for harmful UV radiation? 

ANSWERS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

1. 90%: When proper protection is worn, sun exposure is decreased and so is a person’s cancer risk, along with a drop in skin damage and wrinkles (bonus).
2. True: Shocking, isn’t it! That means 67% of people do not routinely use sun protection. Not using sun protection on a regular basis increases your chances for sun exposure and skin cancer.
3. Melanoma: This is the deadliest form of skin cancer (yikes!). Most melanoma resembles a mole, and is mainly caused by intense UV ray exposure, which often leads to sunburn. If detected early, it is almost always curable. It is almost always fatal if left undetected, as it becomes metastatic (cancerous cells spread to other areas).
4. Ultraviolet A is longwave and Ultraviolet B is shortwave. Both UV rays penetrate the atmosphere and cause skin aging, skin cancer and eye damage.
5. 10 AM – 4 PM: Cloudy or sunny, the sun is the strongest and most likely to cause skin damage during these hours. Since you probably don’t want to hibernate during peak hours, you should be smart about sun protection.

SOURCE: The Skin Cancer Foundation
*http://www.cabanalife.com/sun-safety/
If you are interested in ordering sun-safe Green Acres products, visit http://www.gruvywear.com/camp.php.

Posted by on Tuesday July 22, 2014
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Overnights

Throughout all of my summers here at camp, Green Acres has felt like a second home to me. This is a place where someone can learn and grow as an individual, while also contributing to a larger collective that strives to create a fun, yet safe environment for all children. Due to the high quality of this aforementioned Green Acres ‘system,’ the thought of stepping out of my shell and leaving camp (even for a few days) was always a daunting one during my later years as a camper. This quandary always arrived every summer at the same time, the second to last week of camp, when the annual camp overnight trips took place. While leaving camp was hard, I always knew that my Green Acres experience would not go away even if I spent a few days away from camp! I would still have all of my fellow campers, my fantastic counselors, and I would also have the opportunity to try some exciting new things!

This year, the oldest campers in units F and GH went to the Echo Hill Outdoor School on Maryland’s Eastern Shore this past Tuesday for a three-day trip! The campers will enjoy fun activities like boating, experiencing a high ropes course along with enjoying some great food and bonding time with their fellow campers and counselors. While leaving camp is scary, trips like this one only bring the campers closer together. Being away from a comfortable environment is never easy, but after seeing how much fun some of these unique activities are, the campers will realize how worthwhile these trips are, as I did!

Amazingly, we are already gearing up for the end of camp, and the campers have one last week of their classes to look forward to, along with some great events like Maryland Madness (otherwise known as the camp Olympics), and the final ‘Vaudeville’ show, where each unit puts on a skit/performance for the whole camp to see. Overall, it is sad to see that camp is almost over, but we have had a blast so far, and the good times will only continue! Check the blog for more updates!! Go camp!!!

Posted by on Thursday July 17, 2014
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Problem Solving through Making Choices

We have been having a blast at camp! Each day has been filled with swimming, exciting activities, and all around fun! Campers have become very comfortable in their units with their new friends and counselors. In addition to the fun, the skills of collaboration and problem solving are continuing to develop.

Throughout each day, campers make choices about their activities, games they play at recess, and their behavior. They learn that friendship blossoms through kindness, encompasses more than one person, and can include disagreements. Campers are encouraged to work through these disagreements by discussing their feelings and developing empathy. Even the youngest campers begin to understand the consequences of choices they make and are able to work through situations with the help of their counselors.

Parents can continue this education at home by providing opportunities for children to make choices, and accepting the consequences of those choices, both positive and negative. Choosing an outfit, what to pack for lunch, and which chores children will complete are just a few ideas parents can incorporate into the day. Be sure to hold children accountable, and accept their choices. That includes allowing your child to wear the plaid shorts with the polka-dotted shirt that he or she chooses. J

When children disagree or argue about a direction you have given, consider phrasing your expectations as a choice rather than as an order. This will empower them to make a decision and that decision will be a choice that they have made, including the consequence.

Green Acres Camp emphasizes choices, creativity, friendships, and fun. It also fosters social and emotional development in a safe environment with caring adults.

Green Acres; it’s the place to be!  

Posted by on Monday July 14, 2014 at 08:59AM
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Tags: camp, green acres

The Importance of Physical Activity

In the dog days of summer, when the temperature reaches ninety-five degrees, no one wants to move out of the air conditioned buildings. There is a danger of leisure time becoming filled with video games, television, or perhaps, if you’re lucky, reading or playing a board game. Despite the hot weather it is imperative that children continue to participate in physical activities.

At Green Acres, campers have multiple opportunities to be active throughout the day. Organized games such as the favorite Russian Dodge, Doctors and Soldiers or soccer involve the use of physical skills coupled with strategy. Creative games might incorporate a theme, such as Kryptonite Toss, World Cup Relay Races, or Ring around the Planet dance.

It is important for children to continue to participate in physical activities on the weekends and when camp is over. Exercise keeps children physically fit, provides an outlet for excess energy, relieves stress, and clears the mind. In addition, it gives families an opportunity to bond and have fun together.

When children are outside, choose activities that involve water, such as swimming, playing “Duck, Duck, Splash” (ask your child about that one), wet sponge tag, or water balloon toss. Take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of water.

Inside fun can still be physical. Dancing, playing indoor games with a Nerf ball, or doing yoga are just a few ideas. Visit your local recreation center or public indoor pool where physical activity can be done in a cool and spacious area. Whatever you do, keep moving.

Ask your children for ideas. They are sure to be a great resource as they have been having fun at camp. Green Acres: it’s the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Tuesday July 8, 2014
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Tags: camp, green acres

Workshops: Where the Familiar and the Unknown Collide

Incredibly, this is the second week of July! The first three weeks have been a great success, and we expect the rest of camp to be just as fantastic, if not better! This week, I want to talk about one very important part of Senior Camp: workshops! Now, for those of you who may not know, workshops are what we call afternoon activities for campers in units D through GH here at camp. Unlike the morning activities, which the campers choose each session (every 3 weeks), workshops are different every day! The campers select which activities they would like to participate in during their lunch period. In my opinion, the best thing about workshops (aside from the introduction of new games/crafts each day) is the sheer variety of activities that campers can participate in. On any given afternoon, you could find campers playing kickball in the gym, making mosaics in the art room, swimming, conjuring model magic creatures in the middle school building, competing in a game of capture the flag on the field, or even heading out on a nature walk. The myriad of workshops that exist every day at Green Acres allows for every camper to find an activity that suits his/her desires!

When I was a camper, finding out the day’s workshops was always a fun, but suspenseful endeavor. What would today’s activities be? Would there be any sports to play? Could all of my friends be in the same workshop? My head was always overflowing with ‘what ifs’ and urgent inquiries. But one question always seemed to pervade through my sea of curiosity: how could there be so many different activities? Where did they come from? The answer to this question was not clear until I became a counselor. It is the creative Green Acres staff that comes up with new workshops! Every week, each senior camp staff member submits a list of workshop ideas that includes sports/games, cooking, along with arts and crafts. These suggestions are given to our awesome workshop coordinator, Bobby, who complies these ideas every day into a small list of games and projects that the campers can choose from. Since tons of new, unique suggestions are constantly coming in, the river of workshop ideas never runs dry. The next logical question that you may have is this: despite having all of these new games, are there any activities special to Green Acres that the campers can take part in? The answer to this question is a profound yes. While new, seemingly unknown workshops can be seen every day throughout campus, old stalwarts, like Russian Dodge and Camp Paparazzi for example, still make daily appearances.   

In the end, it is up to each individual camper to decide whether or not to try something new, or go back to an activity that they have previously found entertaining. The familiar games provide the campers a sense of comfort, while the unknown activities come with an exciting suspenseful vibe. Despite these differences, one thing is certain: the freedom of choice allows for each child to leave Green Acres happy every day! Remember to check back to the blog for more updates!!! Go Camp!!!

Posted by davidl on Monday July 7, 2014 at 08:07AM
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Empowering Children Through Choice

Wow! It has been an exciting 2 weeks at Green Acres! Each day campers are bubbling with enthusiasm as they recount the day’s events to their parents and proudly share what they have learned. There are numerous creative and innovative activities offered, and having the opportunity to make choices is one of the reasons why Green Acres Camp is the place to be!

One of our goals is to empower children to become independent thinkers and learners. Camp is a safe environment in which campers may take risks, challenge themselves, or make a discovery. By selecting their own activities, campers are able to focus on their individual interests and are free to try something new. Making independent decisions is the first step towards independence and camp gives children the chance to make multiple decisions throughout the day.

Encourage your child to describe the activities he or she has chosen. Praise him/her for trying something new, even if the activity was not a favorite. These conversations may provide insight into the ways your child thinks and solves problems, and may lead to further discussions about decision making. Green Acres; it’s the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Tuesday July 1, 2014
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Catalogue School
11701 Danville Drive North Bethesda, MD 20852
301.881.4100
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