Archive for March, 2015

Cooking at Camp Weequahic

Monday, March 30th, 2015

10982417_10153191453101419_4703919330874546619_oOne of the perks about sending your child to Camp Weequahic that nobody mentions to parents is that it is very realistic to send your child away for the summer and get a private chef when they return. Your child who only knew how to make a sandwich or had no idea how to boil water could come back as a baking, sautéing, mixing foodie who has a newfound appreciation for seasonings, sauces and the magic that can happen in the kitchen. This transformation begins when kids take advantage of the cooking programs at camp.

TopChef is a specialized culinary program, taught by specialists with a wide range of experiences. The state-of-the-art facility gives kids the tools, appliances and space to create their favorite dishes and learn a few new ones.

Encouraging your child to explore their culinary side not only ensures your get to try some of their creations once they return home, but also teaches them valuable life skills. Cooking is not just throwing ingredients together and waiting until it’s edible. Cooking is an art, and a way for students to express themselves. The thought, preparation, and emotion that goes into cooking is something many children find challenging but rewarding. They also learn valuable skills such as time management, following directions, and communication, and cooking also perfects math and science skills in a way that is fun and different.

When your child is able to start and finish a project in the kitchen, their self confidence grows and they become more self assured and willing to try new things that seem out of their comfort zone. When they are active in the kitchen and learn about the things that go into their food, they are also learning about making healthy choices when it comes to what they eat. When they cook, they learn to appreciate the bright, fragrant colors and smells of fresh vegetables and fruits, and introduce their pallets to healthy and fresh ingredients.

Cooking also gives kids a sense of purpose, and gives them something they feel they can contribute to the family. Once the family takes a bite of their famous mac and cheese or savory French Onion soup and can’t get enough, they’ll feel accomplished and that they have a valuable quality to contribute to family functions. Even if they just learn basic cooking skills, the importance of cleaning up after yourself, and how to measure properly, they will be ahead of most of their microwave dinner eating peers.

Whether your child is a TopChef in the making, or is just starting to show interest in the kitchen, cooking at camp is a great way for kids to explore the culinary arts and learn an appreciation for all things baked, fried, mixed, chopped, flambéed, and grilled.

 

 

Numbers at Camp Weequahic

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Kate and I have enjoyed leading Camp Weequahic since Summer 2009. Since taking over the torch, we’ve happily seen camp grow from 120 amazing campers to 450 amazing campers.

7Growing that much over a relatively small span of time comes from a couple of factors: great staff who are determined to create an amazing experience for everyone they interact with at camp, families who appreciate our GAC values and structured choice program, and campers who are excited to build memories and friendships during their time at CW.

The combination of those factors have created two important numbers for us – 85% and 195.3%. Let me explain….

We expect to have 85% of campers return from Summer 2014 to enjoy another incredible summer camp experience at CW. They loved camp, made new friends, had a blast with our staff and can’t wait for more. Our retention rate is an important number for lots of reasons but the biggest means that the kids and families actively choose to be a part of community.

11The second number is a little tongue in cheek (we were founded in 1953) but also pretty close to accurate. When we asked our Summer 2014 families and staff, almost everyone said they would recommend our camp to a friend. I’m pretty sure we had bad email addresses for those who did not respond…. And, when you look at where our new campers come from, more than half are from ‘word of mouth.’

We want say ‘Thank You!” to all of the campers, parents, and staff members who have been a part of our growing communituy. We could not have grown camp without your trust and support. We can’t wait for another great summer at CW!

Tennis at Camp Weequahic

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.19.45 AMWhat do seeds, chips and double bagels have in common? No, they aren’t things you’ll find at the summer camp buffet. They are terms commonly used in one of the world’s most popular sport, and a sport enjoyed by hundreds of campers every year: Tennis.

Tennis is fast paced, competitive and fun. It is a great workout, as it keeps players constantly moving, running and swinging. For campers who prefer individual sports, tennis is one of the best options. It improves speed, agility and hand-eye coordination, skills that are great for kids in all kinds of different sports. Playing tennis helps with both physical and developmental growth, and kids who try tennis at camp can do so in a safe and encouraging environment where they feel safe to try something new without judgment or fear of embarrassment.

Tennis is a very physical sport. It improves leg strength, gross and fine motor skills, agility and flexibility, all while incorporating cardiovascular exercise. Because physical fitness is such an important part of tennis, campers are taught about general nutrition and the best ways to fuel their bodies in order to preform at their best on the court each day.

Tennis is also a great way to strengthen the character and physiological development of campers. Tennis requires practice and commitment, and helps campers develop a strong work ethic and discipline. When new tennis players stick with the sport, even when it’s tough, they gain valuable life lessons about never quitting and persistence. Tennis is a great way to strengthen social skills, and helps campers learn to be good sports.

The tennis courts at Camp Weequahic are surrounded by natural beauty, and serve as a safe, clean and professional style court for tennis lovers and rookies alike. Tennis is taught by certified and experience trainers, who will encourage the campers to do their best and make them feel confident and excited about picking up a racquet. Most importantly, they make sure tennis stays fun for the campers, and that everyone feels included and is having a good time.

Tennis is a large part of camp culture, and many first time tennis players go home asking their parents to continue playing when they get home. The benefits of tennis are endless, and campers who participate in the various tennis activities will walk off of the court with a sense of confidence and will understand why millions of people around the world love the game of tennis.

 

Sailing at Camp Weequahic

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.54.16 PMWhen you think about summer, most of the images that race through your mind include two things: sun and water. Whether it’s laying out by the pool, running through the sprinklers, or zipping through the waves on a boat or jet ski, or contemplating life’s mysteries while casting a line out to fish, the summer is meant to be spent heating up in the sun and cooling down in the water. This is why so many campers enjoy learning to sail when they spend the summer at Camp Weequahic.

Sailing is an exciting water activity that allows campers to work as a team to reach a common goal. It is a great way to spend the afternoon soaking up the sun, and creates a bond between sailors that can’t be created anywhere else.

Campers who learn to sail aren’t just learning how to maneuver a large vessel through the water (however that is a big accomplishment!) Everything about learning to sail is a learning opportunity. Math and science are weaved into the fun and challenging sport of sailing. Sailors will learn about the importance of aerodynamics when it comes to the position of the sale. They will learn to read a compass and become confident navigating their way to and from a destination without the help of the GPS on their smartphones. They will learn to solve problems quickly, to be observant of their surroundings, and will find a new appreciation for Mother Nature. Campers who try sailing leave with a “boat load” of useful skills and practical information that will help them for the rest of their lives.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.54.26 PMEven if they never have to deal with air pressure or thinking about the curvature of a sail, they will learn to work as a team, follow directions and appreciate the quietness. Sometimes young kids and teenagers have a hard time dealing with quiet, or feel anxious when they don’t have something to entertain them at every second. Sailing is good practice for just sitting back and enjoying nature, and is a great way for campers to learn to be comfortable in their own silence. All of the sailing adventures are guided and supervised by certified instructors, so everyone is kept safe while they are having fun.

The beauty of the lake surrounding Camp Weequahic is a reason all on their own to take up sailing. The view from the sailboat can’t be put into words, and campers write home how much they loved spending their afternoons out on the lake.

Campers have hundreds of opportunities to try new things while they spend their summers at camp, and learning to sail is another great way to expose them to things they may never have a chance to try at home. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment that they can succeed at anything they put their mind to.

Outside Play at Camp Weequahic

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.48.23 AMA recent phenomenon child psychologists have been focusing on is environmental recreation. What is environmental recreation? It’s as simple as getting children into the great outdoors! Playing outside improves vision, promotes social skills, increases attention span, produces vitamin D, prevents future bone damage and reduces the chance of heart related diseases, diabetes and stress. Playing outside not only improves a child’s physical abilities, but improves their mind and spirit as well.

It’s no secret that today’s kids don’t spend nearly as much time playing outside as their parents did growing up. There are fewer kickball games with the neighborhood kids and more video games. There are fewer kids racing home when the streetlights come on, sweaty and dirty from hours running and playing outside. As we all know, many kids today are glued to a TV or computer screen until bedtime. The benefits for kids who play outside are endless, and when your child spends their summer at camp, they will develop a love and appreciation for the great outdoors.

When campers are participating in adventure activities, they are stepping out of their comfort zone AND surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature. When they are waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing or swimming, they are keeping their minds and bodies active and breathing in fresh air. When they are playing team sports like soccer, basketball, football and tennis, they are working up a sweat, becoming fit, and improving their vision. Studies show that kids who play outdoors have better distance vision than kids who spend a lot of time inside. With such great vision, maybe they should try archery!

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.48.55 AMWhen kids are playing outside, they are interacting with other kids, which is a great way to develop social skills. Taking turns, sharing, being part of a team and other important rules learned on a playground (or in this case, on a field, on a boat, or flying through the ropes course) are vital for developing children’s social skills, and will transfer over into how they interact with people in the outside world. Kids who play alone and inside all the time don’t get a chance to learn these important skills.

Spending time outside may also improve the time your child spends inside. By spending time outside and releasing all of that energy, kids are able to focus when it is time to come inside for structured time. Being outside also brings out the curious and investigative side of children, as they are naturally compelled to look, learn, touch and try new things they discover outside.

Kids these days are busy, and can find themselves stressed out and pulled in many different directions before they even hit high school. With the pressure of grades, sports, friends and other responsibilities, a little time outside can really help reduce stress. Time spent swinging, sliding, running, jumping, swimming, competing and discovering outside is fun and even therapeutic for kids who have a lot on their plate.

Research shows many kids these days are vitamin D deficient. You could run to the drugstore and pick up some vitamins, or you could encourage your kids to play outside and get it for free: from the sun! Getting enough vitamin D has been proven to prevent bone problems, diabetes and heart problems.

Because of these (and hundreds of other) reasons, summer camps have countless outdoor activities for kids to try. And, camps cater to all types of kids: a child focused on drama or dance will have just as many opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air as a camper who is focused on athletics or watersports. This is the beauty of summer camp: campers growing appreciation for nature and the health benefits that go along with playing outdoors. Camp is good – actually, great – for all types of kids. The benefits are limitless!

Gymnastics at Camp Weequahic

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.42.45 AMWhile having fun learning interesting cartwheels and handstands during gymnastics activities at camp, your child also benefits in development areas that will help them become a better person and student. To know more about how your child can benefit from gymnastic activities at camp, read on.

Healthy Lifestyle

The number of obese children in the US is increasing at an alarming state. This increases the need for parents to teach and encourage children to lead an active life, which is exactly what participation in gymnastic activities can do for your child. They get to enjoy physical activity at camp and are also encouraged to be active when they return home. So, don’t be surprised if you see your child engaging more in physical activities instead of sitting on the couch with their iPads.

Social Skills

Your child has the perfect opportunity to build social skills. During gymnastic activities, there will be loads of other campers and experienced coaches whom your child will work with, due to which they learn how be respectful, taking turns, following directions, thinking and working as a team, as well as enquiring when they have difficulty in understanding the way a certain exercise is done.

Overcoming Fears

If your child has never done something like gymnastics before, it could be a little scary for them, which is why the camp management set attainable goals, so that campers can overcome their fears. This in turn, helps your child develop confidence that there is absolutely nothing they cannot do or achieve.

Self- Confidence & Self-Esteem

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.43.08 AMLearning gymnastic skills can be challenging and since they are taught through progression, your child gains confidence with each step they take. This enhanced self-confidence transfers to other areas and aspects of your child’s life, including school.

Flexibility

Flexibility is an extremely important aspect, vital for injury prevention as well as to prevent the daily pains and aches one can face from tiredness or exertion. If you didn’t know, there isn’t any other activity that boosts flexibility quite like gymnastics. This improved flexibility not only proves to be effective in gymnastics, but it also helps in the development of several other sports that interest your child.

As you can see, gymnastic activities at camp can prove to be extremely useful for your child. Hopefully, you will find this article insightful and helpful as it highlights all the major benefits your child can gain from gymnastics at camp.