Camp Blog

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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The First Week: New Choices, New Friends, New Adventures

Amazingly, the first week of camp is already in the books! The campers have settled into their units, met some new friends (or reconnected with old ones), and are now ready to jump into the rest of this first camp session! While I was a camper here at Green Acres, the first week of camp was always filled with excitement (with a bit of apprehension), as new, innovative activities appeared alongside the many camp stalwarts that made (and still make) Green Acres such a great place. This same excitement that I felt during my years as a camper was palpable over this past week. The campers not only were ecstatic to continue older camp activities such as Woodworking, Sports, or Art, but also seemed excited and inherently ready to branch out and try some new things! One of my biggest fears as a camper was not getting the activities that I wanted during first week sign-ups. However, summer after summer, year after year, I realized that trying a new, unique activity was a blessing in disguise. Here at Green Acres, all of our programs are fun, enriching, and can most definitely introduce a child to a newfound activity that they could fall in love with! While some of these new endeavors may be scary at first for a few campers (as I often was), I know that they will have a blast no matter what activities they take part in!

A few other great aspects of this first week were our Fun Friday festivities! Many of our campers and counselors arrived at Green Acres decked out in stripes and polka dots for our first spirit day! We were also delighted to watch a group of show dogs (from the Frisbee Dogs show group) perform various tricks and put their acrobatic skills on display! In Senior Camp, each unit also had a chance to create a unit mural reflecting each spirit day that we will have over the course of the two, three week camp sessions, and each unit’s name. These were presented in a grand ceremony this past Monday, and we also got to hear each unit’s unique cheer! While the mural and cheer may seem superficial and cheesy, these specific objects/activities help create a unified team environment. This environment is one that not only produces a fun experience for the campers, but also fosters each child’s social development, as they learn how to be a vital part of a team.

Overall, this past week was not just the first week of camp, but was also the beginning of a summer full of new, enriching experiences that can last a lifetime! I am excited to help provide the kids with a camp experience that was as much fun as my own Green Acres experience was! Remember to check back to the blog for more weekly updates! Go Camp!!!
Posted by davidl on Friday June 27, 2014 at 08:12AM
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Week One of Camp in the Books!

Our first week has come to a close, and everyone has been having a blast! Moms and dads are surely anxious to know what their children have been doing, but with so many activities, new friends, and exciting experiences, your child might answer with, “I don’t know” when asked about his or her favorite activity. Here are a few tips to help glean some information from your children:

  1. Jr campers participate in specials every day including; Kaleidoscope (art), explorers (science), carpenters (woodworking), and dance jam (dance). Referring to these specific activities will help campers to focus on fun activities that they experienced during the week.
  2. With these hot and hazy days of summer, campers have been swimming in our beautiful pool on a daily basis. Ask about lessons and free swim, too!
  3. Campers have been bringing home all sorts of creations they have made at camp. Take time to ask about how they made them and what they learned.
  4. Ask your child if he/she can tell you the names of some of the new friends in his/her unit. Counselors make a real effort to introduce campers to one another and play games to help learn one another’s names. You may want to set up play dates for your child to foster new friendships.
  5. Finally, check out all the fun through your Camp In Touch account. Click on “photos” and the “Summer Scoop” to learn more!

Green Acres: it’s the place to be!

Posted by lynnc on Monday June 23, 2014
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Camp is Here! Are you Ready?

The school year has come to an end, and camp is here! It’s time to get organized so that your camper is ready for his/her first week. Some things to consider:

  • Make sure your child wears comfortable clothes that he/she can move in and not worry too much about getting dirty.
  • Sneakers or closed-toed shoes are the safest and most practical choice of footwear for campers to participate in a variety of activities.
  • Campers will spend time both inside and outside. Be sure to send your child to camp with a water bottle and sunscreen.
  • Remember to pack a swimsuit, towel, pool shoes, and for younger campers, a change of clothes.
  • Green Acres is environmentally conscious. Please send lunches packed in reusable containers. We do not refrigerate lunches so be sure to use icepacks if food needs to stay cold.
  • Sometimes campers are insecure about attending camp, especially during the first week. Reassure your child that he or she will be safe and that you will be excited to hear all about his/her experiences at the end of the day.

Green Acres is the place to be! 

Posted by lynnc on Monday June 16, 2014 at 10:58AM
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Welcome to Camp

Hello Green Acres!! Camp is right around the corner! Allow me to introduce myself, my name is David Levine, and this is my 6th year working at camp. I just finished my freshman year at Cornell University, and I am seeking a BS and a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering. Now you may ask, how does a college student from New York end up at Green Acres? Well, the answer is simple: I was a camper here! I started all the way back in 2001, when I was in Unit B! I moved up through all of the units, finishing up my time as a camper in Unit H. Next, I became a community service counselor after taking a year off, before becoming a counselor in training, and then reaching my current position as a counselor! As you may see, I have been at Green Acres for a very long time, and I absolutely love it here! This camp helped shape my childhood, and I have had a blast helping my campers enjoy camp as much as I did! I am so excited to get started this summer, which has nearly arrived!! 

 Now the next question you may ask is: what do I do at camp? Well, I am a counselor in Unit GH here at Green Acres. I teach sports to our Senior Campers, and  I am also one of the day trip counselors this summer. I will be accompanying our oldest campers on fun weekly excursions to places like the Adventure Park in Baltimore, and on a tubing trip on the Shenandoah! Throughout the summer, I will be posting updates to this blog regarding all of our fabulous camp activities, and what all of our great campers are up to, from the Kangaroos in Unit K to our oldest campers in Unit GH! From the July 4th Fun Run to swimming and Spirit Days, I am giddy with excitement for all of the fun things we have in store for the campers!! Check back frequently for more blog updates.

I cannot wait to get the summer started!! Go Camp!!

Posted by on Thursday June 12, 2014
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New Skills

Inspired by a recent article about the benefits of camp, I am taking off my pool director hat and am writing this post with my parent hat on. Last summer we decided to send our oldest child to camp hoping that it would be a great transition from the small family day care he had been in for many years to kindergarten. We hoped that he would make new friends, improve his swimming skills, build his confidence, and have fun. However, the most noticeable and long lasting skill that he gained from camp was increased independence.

 Our oldest child has always been quite responsible and responsive, but his actions were always based on our requests. Imagine my surprise when, after the third day of camp, he came home, emptied his backpack and hung up his wet swimsuit and towel without being asked. To top it off, he then remembered that he had swim lessons after camp the following day, and ran off to grab two swimsuits and packed those and two towels himself. Once I pulled my chin off the floor, I commended his efforts, and then wondered if this amazingness would continue or if the whole thing was a fluke. I remember saying to my husband, “This is really great, but will it continue?” Shame on me for underestimating my child because it was not a fluke; he continued to unpack and pack his backpack every night for the remaining six weeks.

Sure, the transition to kindergarten last fall was a big one; I think it is for many children. However, I credit his six weeks of camp for helping build many, many skills that provided him with an even stronger foundation for school. This summer, all four of our children are old enough to attend camp, and while I know they will have a lot of fun, I can’t wait to see what they learn and how those skills with help them outside of camp as well. What skills have your children gained from their camp experience? What are you hoping they come away with this summer?

 

Posted by on Wednesday May 21, 2014
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FAQ's About Our Swim Program

As Pool Director, I always get a lot of questions about our swimming program. Below are some frequently asked questions as well as our responses. If you have questions that are not included here but would like to answer to, please leave us a comment, and we will respond.

My camper has swimmer’s ear and cannot swim for several days. What will he do during swim lessons?

Your child will observe the swim lesson each day so that he receives the same information the other campers receive. Because this is a common event, swim instructors work hard to include the non-swimmer in the lesson by having him or her throw the rings for other campers; hold noodles, dive sticks or hula hoops for the other campers; or involve them in games from the pool deck.

 Can my child wear floaties or water wings in the pool?

 No, and please do not send these to camp with your child. We really want the campers to feel comfortable on their own in the water, even if they only enter the pool for a few minutes or remain in the shallow beach entrance area. Flotation devices provide children with a false sense of security, and we work hard to help children feel comfortable in the water on their own.

 Do you provide googles for campers?

While we always have a few spare pairs of goggles around, we cannot provide goggles for every camper every day. If you child prefers to wear goggles, please send them each day. It is important to label these so that if they get left behind, we can return them to your child. To ensure a proper fit, have your child put them on and take them off a few times on their own. If your child cannot try them on in a pool before camp starts, do a test run in the shower!

 My son is VERY afraid of the water. Will you force him to swim or throw him in the pool?

No, we will never force a child to do anything he or she is not comfortable doing. Through splashing on the steps and through many interactive games, we encourage campers to enter the water and to gain confidence while in the water. Our goal is to help each camper learn new skills each summer and to remain confident while swimming.

 Do you offer private lessons and how do I register for them?

We offer 30 minute private lessons each day before camp between 8 and 9 AM and after camp between 3 and 4:30 PM. Although we try to have the same counselor with your child in private and group lessons, we cannot always guarantee that. Most campers take two private lessons per week, but some campers swim with us as many as three times per week or just once a week, depending on family schedules. Parents can register their camper for private lessons by sending an email to pool@greenacres.org Please note that we DO NOT begin scheduling lessons until the first full week of June.

 

 Are swimming skills really being taught because my daughter says she only plays games during her lesson?

This is my favorite question each summer, and every time I hear it, I jump for joy because it means that campers are learning and practicing skills in a creative way. Camp follows the same progressive philosophy that Green Acres School has, and we work hard to make our swim program developmentally appropriate and fun for campers. Our counselors engage campers in lessons through many games and have them practice the target swim skills via these games each day. Games include but are not limited to: Four Corners, Red Rover, Mother May I, and Sharks and Minnows.

 Is the pool heated?

Yes, it is. In the early days of June, we often have the heater turned on so that the water is at a comfortable temperature for swimming. However, as the days grow warmer, the water heats up rather quickly, as Mother Nature takes care of heating it for us.

Should my child wear her swimsuit to camp?

This is really a matter of preference. There is time for campers to change into their swimsuit each day, but if your child needs a lot of time to do so or cannot do so without significant help, then wearing the suit might be more practical for her. Some campers love to arrive at camp showing off their suit, while others hate find that it gets in their way. Please remember to pack underwear in the backpack if your child wears her suit to camp!

 

Should I pack two swimsuits since my child may swim twice a day?

Again, this is a preference. Dry suits are always easier to get on and off, so it may make your child’s transition to afternoon swim or private lessons easier, but some campers have a favorite suit that they would prefer to wear every day, if they could. Whether or not you pack two suits, remember to pack a plastic bag for the wet suits so that the other items in the backpack remain dry.

 

 

 

 

Posted by on Friday May 2, 2014
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11701 Danville Drive North Bethesda, MD 20852
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