Camp Blog

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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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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Catalogue School
11701 Danville Drive North Bethesda, MD 20852
301.881.4100
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