Archive for January, 2015

Things Which Are Quintessentially Summer Camp

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Summer camp is a fun and exciting experience and time simply flies by. There are several things and activities to do, which makes it impossible not to miss some of them. However, it doesn’t matter how chaotic, busy, or crazy things get, there are a few things that will always remind you about camp:

1.    Arts & Crafts

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 12.32.57 PMAccording to the American Camp Association (ACA), Arts and Crafts is amongst the five most popular activities at summer camp, and why wouldn’t it? Kids simply love spending a part of their day in a place filled with glitter, paint, scissors, beads, and other craft items. With arts and craft, the possibilities are endless, as the atmosphere not only gives campers the opportunity to relax, reflect, use their creative side and time to socialize with fellow campers and friends.

2.    Campfires

A campfire is a mainstay at every camp. The activities, songs and traditions differ from camp to camp. However, one thing remains consistent and that’s the sacred relevance the campfire holds. The fire symbolizes camp life, and the odor of burning wood serves as a reminder of picturesque settings where camps are situated.

3.    Sing Alongs

Karaoke may be a popular activity for a get-together, but, when it comes to summer camps, there is nothing more melodious than the whole camp singing tunes together. The sing-along are not just about singing songs together, it’s a way of bringing each and everyone together to celebrate the thing which has brought everybody together as one, and that thing is camp.

4.    S’mores

A summer is incomplete without s’mores. And besides, it’s quite hard to resist the pleasure of melted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between two crackers. Just one bite is enough to bring instant memories of camp.Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 12.33.38 PM

5.    Bunks

Now, you might get thinking that what’s so special about bunks. Well, they are much more than places where counselors and campers sleep. It’s where everyone becomes families, memories are made and friendships are nurtured.

6.    Bugle Calls

Bugle Calls guide campers through their day at camp. It doesn’t matter if they are bells or bugles only one sound is enough for campers to know what they have to do. Whether it’s showing up for waterskiing, tennis, or even closing the lights at nighttime, these sounds will let campers know about everything.

7.    Crazy Wardrobe Preferences

Camp is perhaps the only place where you will get complemented for wearing bright colors, body paint, hats, wigs and other funny clothing to a camp function. Funny isn’t it? But, it’s an experience that will always bring back good memories.

Can Camp Prepare Your Child For College?

Monday, January 19th, 2015

1017751_10152804400071419_2791228752166886111_nAs your child grows, the time for college comes closer, and when the moment finally comes by, there are several questions that begin to pour through a parent’s mind. Questions like will they make friends? Will they work hard? And, where are they going to be heading after this? The thing is that it’s natural to worry as a parent. However, these fears and doubts can be lessened, and all you need to do is send your child to camp. Believe it or not, a good summer camp can really prepare your child for college. Not convinced? Read on as we further elaborate.

The Challenges of Going to College

There are several challenges that going to college presents to your child, but there are three which stand out:

  • Academic rigor increases.
  • There is considerable uncertainty (will I be able to fit in socially? Can I adjust with this roommate?)
  • Being away from home, friends, and family.

How Camp Prepares Children for College?

Kids Learn New Skills

Undoubtedly, camp covers a little when it comes to the first challenge, but it does quite a lot in preparing your child for it. How? Well, your child learns a lot in camp. They develop different skills in the process, as it pushes them out of their comfort zone, so that they can try things they haven’t before. The scenario is pretty much the same in college. Coping up with the difficult studies, working hard to maintain it, can be difficult, but if your child has already been to camp, they will work hard and out of their comfort zone to achieve the results they desire.

10563215_10152928320496419_2590873399911414988_nKids Learn Who They Really Are at Camp

Camp allows kids to try new and exciting activities, as well as meet new people. This can prove to be quite conductive for the growth of your child. They are given the opportunity to be comfortable in their own skin, which is essential in college.

Kids Learn to Face Competition

Competition is everywhere and same is the case when it comes to college. Kids learn to both succeed and fail at camp, which is a crucial part of their growth process. There is a lot at stake in college and fearing the competition can be harmful for the progress of your child. Sending your child to a good camp can help them to learn a healthy level of competition.

Kids Learn to Take Care of Themselves

In camp, there are no parents or family around to do stuff for them, and kids have more time to do things for themselves. They take care of their own things, make their own bed, and so on. This along the way helps them to learn to take care of themselves, and that too, in an extremely fun way. Since your child will be spending more time in college than at home, this is something that will certainly help them in college.

So, find a good camp and send your child to it now, as it would help them to develop the essential shock-absorbers for the bumps of college life.

Unplugged at Camp Weequahic

Monday, January 12th, 2015

If your child is like most, they “tweet” their way through breakfast, text at lunch, “like” and “comment” all day long, Snap Chat through dinner, post selfies to Instagram around bedtime and wake up and do it all again the next day. No wonder they stay up to late and want to sleep until noon, they’re busy!

10413348_10152628758631419_7151854350829801847_nResearch has shown kids spend up to 7.5 hours A DAY with their eyes glued to a screen and their fingers frantically pecking away at keyboards. Kids growing up in an age of such accessible and socially acceptable technology can sometimes get lost in the sea of text messages and status updates. Social media can be a hunting ground for bullies, as it is easy to become detached from empathy and consequences when you’re behind a screen. Kids do and say things they would not normally do or say when they’re plugged in, and that can be detrimental to their actual social development. When kids only speak their mind when they are anonymous, or when they try to be someone they aren’t to impress others, they are lacking opportunities to develop self-confidence and character. They may have 1000 “friends” on social media, but are slowly loosing the ability to walk up to someone and shake their hand, introduce themselves, or settle conflict in a responsible and socially acceptable way. Social media isn’t bad in itself, but when we let it take the place of our child’s actual social development, we are doing them a huge disservice.

Which is why, at Camp Weequahic, we’re unplugged. Campers leave their cellphones at home, and enjoy a summer without texting, emailing or using social media. At first, potential campers many find this kind of “torture” unbearable, but as they dive deep into the activities that the camp has to offer, they will reevaluate their role online. They will interact with others in a meaningful, personal and relational way. They will improve their written communication skills by writing letters back home to loved ones, and feel the excitement of receiving a handwritten note from people back home, a feeling you just don’t get when you check your inbox. Without a phone in their back pocket to tempt them, they will be able to really focus and listen to what other campers are saying. In turn, when they are sharing a story or experience, they will not be looking out into a crowd of people staring down onto a screen.

10556914_10152628754906419_5151799425420208714_oCampers who arrive shy and a little reserved will leave with a newfound confidence, based on the things accomplished during their stay. They will be able to look back on the summer when they learned to swim, conquered their stage fright, made new friends or discovered their love of magic and apply that self-confidence into their life back home. They will no longer need to hide behind a screen in order to communicate with their peers or feel heard.

As a parent, you can find comfort in the fact that while your child is away, they will be learning valuable life skills that don’t involve how many words they can text a minute, or how many “likes” they can get on their Instagram picture. The skills they learned while they are unplugged will stay with them for a lifetime, and that is better than being retweeted by a celebrity.

Leap Of Faith

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

She wasn’t sure what was going to happen first: either her heart was going to beat itself right out of her chest, or the butterflies, no, eagles that were soaring around in her stomach were going to somehow find their way out.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.29.20 AMNervous didn’t even begin to explain how she was feeling as she looked up the gigantic rock wall. She knew all she had to do was put her feet, which were now firmly planted on the ground, on one of those colorful rocks, reach up with one hand and grab another one, and she would be officially off the ground. As her sweaty palms met the first rock, her counselor spoke quietly right behind her, whispering words of encouragement and support. As she took the next step and inched her way up the rock wall, she had to remind herself to breathe. Then she heard her friends, encouraging her and cheering her on. Left foot, right hand, right foot, left hand, she said to herself. The further she got from the ground, the louder the cheers became. She was actually doing it! She was climbing the rock wall that she said from the moment she stepped foot onto camp that she would never do. She wanted to look down to see the crowd of people cheering her on, but she decided she’d just focus on getting to the top.

As she stopped to take a breath, she looked around and marveled at the sheer beauty the camp was enclosed in. The tall trees, the blue waters, the sprawling green lawns; she had never seen camp from this viewpoint before. She knew she was halfway there because her friends’ chants told her so, and she suddenly got a boost of energy and continued her trek up the rock wall. Just a few more rocks to climb and she will be at the top. She wasn’t sure when her nervousness turned to excitement, but as she reached for the top of the wall, she felt a power and a confidence she had never felt before. The entire camp erupted in applause and she screamed “I DID IT!” at the top. As she propelled down to the crowd of supporters, she walked away with a new sense of self-confidence and accomplishment.

The rock wall symbolized everything she was afraid of, and she had conquered it. She grew closer to her friends and counselors because of their unwavering support, and she went home with a fresh perspective on obstacles and challenges. “Now, when something is hard or scary, I say to myself ‘I climbed the rock wall at camp. I got this.”Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.29.32 AM

The rock wall, ropes courses, rope swing and zip line are all vital parts of the Adventure Program at Camp Weequahic. These thrilling activities push campers out of their comfort zone, and they emerge a little different than they were when they started. Whether they are climbing the rock wall on their own, or working as a team to maneuver through the high or low ropes courses, these adventures help campers excel in areas such as teamwork, leadership, goal setting, cooperation, positive risk taking and trust. These vital characteristics are taken from camp and built upon in the outside world, creating well rounded, brave individuals who work well in group settings, set goals and meet them, and can trust others as well as themselves. Who would have thought soaring down a zip line or flying through the air on a giant swing could be so important for a child’s emotional well-being?

Inner strength, confidence and accomplishment aren’t only gained through climbing great heights. Overnight camping trips are available for older campers via the Adventures Program, and offer a wide range of benefits for those to take part in it. The survival skills the campers will learn will give them a peace of mind that they have the tools they need to make it should they ever get lost in the woods. This also teaches them self-sufficiency, trusting their instincts and being in touch with their surroundings. The over night camping experience helps campers develop a strong sense of teamwork, as they work together to set up tents, build fires, and explore the woods.

What some campers accomplish on two feet, others can accomplish on two wheels! Mountain biking is another popular feature of Adventures Camp, and is an exhilarating way for campers to experience the outdoors. They will learn bike safety, get a great workout and experience the thrill of positive risk taking.

As campers climb, camp and cycle their way through camp, they are creating lasting memories and experience adventure in a safe and supervised environment.

Campers often write home about taking the “Leap of Faith” a favorite camp tradition that involves climbing to the top of the star jump taking a deep breath and jumping off, placing all of your trust in the ropes and harnesses that are attached to you. The scariest part is making your feet leave the platform, but once you do, you’re in the air and everything that was scary and impossible about making the jump is far behind.

Campers will come home from camp different than from when they arrived. They will come home more self assure, confident, brave and strong; thanks to all of the amazing activities like the Adventure Program that Camp Weequahic has to offer.