“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between.” (From The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster).
There are many lessons to learn in life, and if we do it right, we never stop learning. We must be great observers and appreciate the wonders around us. Our ears must be open to new ideas. We need to take risks and touch the unfamiliar. Our palates should experience the taste of new experiences, and we need to breathe in the aroma of thoughts beginning to bloom. We must value the journey that we take as we travel from one destination to another.
“Then one day someone discovered that if you walked as fast as possible and looked at nothing but your shoes you would arrive at your destination much more quickly. Soon everyone was doing it…seeing nothing of the wonders of their city as they went.” (ch. 10, p.118)
We are often in a hurry to get where we think we should be, and in doing so, ignore the lessons of the present. How many of us are overscheduled and overwhelmed? We rush through our day, jumping from one task to another until we finally arrive home, exhausted. Our children, too, are shuffled from school to extra-curricular activities and back home in time to eat a quick meal, get the homework done, and go to bed. We are anxious to provide all of the experiences necessary for them to compete for the best schools, the best jobs, the best neighborhoods, in the race for success and future happiness. But what are we missing?
“Ah the open road!...The spirit of adventure, the lure of the unknown, the thrill of the gallant quest. How very grand indeed.” (ch.9 p.101)
While structure is necessary to complete the tasks that we are required to accomplish, it is also important to provide time to relax, to daydream, to think about new ideas, and to enjoy ourselves. Make time in your schedule to spend with your child. Enjoy playing in the park, making a craft, trying a new recipe, or playing a game. Give your child the opportunity to choose how he/she wants to have fun with you.
“It’s true that there are many lands you’ve still to visit (some of which are not even on the map) and wonderful things to see (that no one has yet imagined), but we’re quite sure that if you really want to, you’ll find a way to reach them all by yourself.” (ch. 20 p.255)
While your child is navigating through school and life’s responsibilities, encourage him/her to make his/her own choices and then analyze the results. Learning from the decisions we make is part of the journey.
Support your child’s creativity in all subject areas. When a child is creative, he/she expresses him/herself in as an individual. This, in turn, fosters independence and develops thinking outside of the box.
Throughout his/her journey, your child will need to interact with a variety of people and will have the chance to develop relationships. Support your child reaching out to make friends. Friendships can last a lifetime and all relationships teach us about ourselves.
Encourage fun! We all need relaxation and time to enjoy ourselves. Fun releases tension, boosts energy, and gives our minds a chance to be open to new ideas.
Choices, creativity, friendships, and fun; a part of life, a part of camp, a part of the journey.
Green Acres is still the place to be!
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!
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!
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