Archive for November, 2015

EASY CAMP FOOD AT HOME– KIDS PERSPECTIVE

Monday, November 30th, 2015

smores-dip-4Ughhhh….Camp is over and of course, NOW summer is over too! This stinks! I mean being back home is kind of a buzz kill. School’s no fun, homework’s lame and dealing with my little bro is like, BRUTAL! All I can think about is how much fun I had away from here, with all my friends and so many awesome things to do!

But the reality is, I’m stuck here for 9 more months, until I can go back to camp. So I asked my Mom, if we could make some real camp food – you know, to bring me back! I figured she’d be game, since she says she needs new ideas and gets tired of making the same stuff over and over again. So we’re bringing camp home YO! How cool is that? Check out the recipes below, for some yummy goodness you can make at home. You gettin’ me? Oh, and no campfire needed!

HOBO DINNERS – makes 4 servings

1 pk. – Ground beef

2 TBS. – Olive oil

Dash – Salt and pepper

3 – Potatoes

2 med. – Red eppers

2 med. – Tomatoes

1 – Yellow Onion

½ c. – Salsa

4-6 – tortillas

Tear off four squares of tin foil, lay each one out and portion out ¼ cup of ground beef, dash of salt and pepper and 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil for each. Then personalize it! Chop up the vegetables and add the ones you like to your Hobo dinner and add a little salsa. Fold up each tin foild square and bake at 350 degrees, on the middle oven rack for 45 minutes. Whala!! Eat it right out of the foil pouch or scoop all the ingredients into a tortilla. Now this is chow! Yum!

TACOS IN A BAG – makes 4 servings

4 – individual bags of tortilla chips

1 lb. pk – grass fed hamburger

¼ c. – taco seasoning mix

1/8 c. – water

½ c. – salsa

½ c. – tofu sour cream

Lettuce

Brown the hamburger until well cooked. Drain. Add in the taco seasoning and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Crunch each bag of tortilla chips. Add hamburger, salsa lettuce and sour cream to each tortilla chip packet. Crunch with a fork and munch! It’s so easy it’s cray, cray!

SMORES DIP – makes 4 servings

1 pkg. – chocolate chips

1 pkg. – large marshmallows

2 pkgs. – graham crackers for dipping

Pour the chocolate chips in an 8 X 8 pan. Set large marshmallows on end, covering the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for five minutes or until melted. Serve with graham crackers. Dig in and dip away!

CAMPFIRE CONES – makes 4 servings

4 – waffle or sugar ice cream cones

1 c. – marshmallows

1 – banana

1 c. – chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Fill each cone with as much bananas, chocolate chips and marshmallows as you want. Wrap each cone in aluminum foil and bake for 8-10 minutes. Unwrap and grub down!

 

Fun Things I Learned to do at Camp!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 2.58.43 PMI’m still amazed by the fun and unique skills I acquired as a camper for 8 years of my life. Camp brought me to the mountains each summer, out of the smog and into the fresh air, where sometimes I felt like I could breathe for the first time; literally and figuratively.

I was obsessed about those weeks at camp during the summer all year long. What new campers would I meet? Who would be my counselor? But mostly it was about the activities that I looked forward to participating in. Each day at camp was action-packed with things to do, and many of the skills I learned proved beneficial in the future – although some proved to be just for fun. Here are the best skills that summer camp taught me:

  1. How to be a Crafting Goddess: To this day I’m an avid crafter and Do-it-yourselfer. For one thing, there was the beading. We’d make friendship bracelets and necklaces – something I still do today – and there was also painting and drawing, which remained important throughout my youth. The silk screening was perhaps my favorite.
  1. How to be Brave in the Face of Ropes and Obstacle Courses: If you’re not familiar with something called ‘high ropes’, then you should know that it’s a serious courage/team building experience. The aerial obstacle course – with the use of harnesses and ropes – was seriously one of the most terrifying things I ever did as a kid, and the most exhilarating. It inspired a rock-climbing passion in my later life.
  1. How to Canoe: Not only was canoeing a big part of camp, but also sailing and swimming. Any reservations I had about getting in the water when I was little were put to rest at camp.
  1. Target Shooting: Ok, this might not sound like a good idea, but archery was a big deal at camp, and sharpened my precision and focus. It also just made me feel like I was super cool.
  1. Sing with Courage: The first time I sang in front of a crowd was at a campfire, and it took courage. I wasn’t the best singer, but it did impress a few of my friends. No shame in that.
  1. How to be Comfortable with Nature: Camp was the first time in my life that I slept under the stars. I was scared at first of the bugs, the ground, animals; you name it. But I learned that it’s pretty spectacular, and today I’m still not afraid of the big bad wolf.
  1. Social Skills: In hind sight, I realize that this might have been the greatest thing that camp taught me. When you’re sleeping in a cabin with 13 other girls, or boys, your age, you learn how to interact and get along with people who are different than you. You learn about the commonalities that you share with those of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and interests. This is a skill that benefits every aspect of your life as an adult, and I’m grateful that camp taught me how to get along with people.

In the end, it’s clear that I took a great deal away from my camping experience as a kid. I wouldn’t give-up those memories for all the world, but it’s really the things I learned to do and the skills I still have today that made the whole camping experience totally worthwhile.

How to hit a perfect bullseye

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 2.55.09 PMAlright campers, it’s time to get serious about another classic summer activity: archery.

It may look easy to hit a bullseye if your only point of reference is the Hunger Games or Avengers, but remember — they have CGI special effects to make it easy for them!

As anybody who’s fired a bow at camp can tell you, getting an arrow to fly through the air and hit a target is a whole lot easier said than done. Chances are it’ll take some serious practice before anything aside from chance gets your shots anywhere close to the mark.

…But that feeling when you land one directly on the bullseye? Priceless.

Here are some of our favorite strategies for going from zero to bullseye as quickly as possible.

Stance

Before you even shoot, proper stance is key to being able to shoot consistently. If you’re dancing around and shooting from different positions, trust me, it’ll take forever to get a feel for where to aim.

First step: make sure your body is completely parallel to the target. That means shoulders and hips pointed directly sideways to the target. This may seem obvious, but we see campers struggle to keep this pose going, especially since it feels more “natural” to point your toes at the target like when you’re throwing a baseball or football.

Keep your whole body from your toes to your shoulders pointed sideways, and you’ve already won half the battle!

Strategy

Something campers often struggle with is figuring out where to aim.

Bows don’t come with crosshairs, so it’s a question of figuring out where the sweet spot is for your particular bow, at your particular height, at your particular distance from the target.

Sounds like a lot to think about, right? Well don’t worry; there’s an easy strategy that figures out the trajectories for you:

Firstly, never move your feet. If you keep your feet in the same place between arrows, you ensure that your position relative to the target doesn’t move. So resist that victory dance just for a minute!

Secondly, you have to miss on purpose. Yep, you heard me right: miss the target.

For your first arrow, shoot low on purpose. Low enough that you know it’ll hit the bottom of the board, or even the turf below the board. For your second arrow, aim high on purpose. Shoot so that you see where the “crosshair” is pointing when you’re going way overboard.

Finally, on the third arrow, shoot in the middle. Just like goldilocks, but instead of getting porridge, you get a bullseye!

Blame the wind

My personal favorite tactic: always blame the wind. Missed the target? Crossbreeze! Hit someone else’s target by accident? Another darned crossbreeze!

Enthusiasm is as important for archery as it is for all camp sports, and a little humor goes a long way. Don’t get too serious — and always blame the crossbreeze, never yourself!

Breath

The last thing that holds a lot of campers back from their bullseye victory dance is so simple it’s ridiculous: breathing.

It’s tempting to hold your breath or hyperventilate while you aim, simply because that’s the natural human reaction to being excited. Although archery feels like a precision exercise when you first start, the truth is that a lot of it is up to chance. Every arrow is a little different, every bow is a little different, and jokes about cross-breezes aside the wind absolutely plays a factor that can thwart even the most talented and practiced archery master.

The key to success in archery, as it is in many camp sports, is simply letting go. Bullseyes don’t really matter as much as having fun, and part of the game’s a gamble anyway.

Just relax, smile, breath, and give it your best shot. Chances are that’s all it’ll take for you to start hitting bullseyes left and right — in archery, and in your life.

Gratitude: A Weequahic Core Value

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 3.14.34 PMWe talk a great deal about gratitude at CW. Even though it comes up often, not everyone knows exactly how to define it.

There are a number of definitions but our favorite comes from researcher Robert Emmons. He tells us that gratitude “is an affirmation of the good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received… and we recognize that the sources of this ‘goodness’ are outside of ourselves.”

So, how do we work gratitude into our daily lives at camp? Lots of ways!

It comes up every night before going to bed in the form of a question: “What are your two ‘happies’ for the day?” This forces (in a good way) our campers to think about all the great things they’ve enjoyed that day before going to bed.

It’s explored with our staff during their interviews and repeated often during their nine-day orientation before camp starts. We find that college aged women and men who already hold gratitude as an important part of their life to be more interested and interesting staff members. It comes up often in our winter office when we look back over the previous summer and plan for the next. (We have a fantastic job!) And, thankfully, it mentioned a lot when speaking to parents and campers about their experience with us.

At Camp Weequahic, we find it vitally important to demonstrate gratitude on a daily basis by saying thank you, writing a quick note, or sharing a kind word with one another. This is so much more effective than simply speaking about it or learning from a book.

We believe community that practices gratitude on all levels throughout the day is a happier, more patient, and more engaged community. And, it’s one worth building every day.

For more information on gratitude, we suggest looking through this link: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition We hope you enjoy it!

Building a Positive Attitude

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Gratitude Month (1)We talk a lot about choosing our attitude at Camp Weequahic. It is one of our three building block values and something that comes up daily for both our campers and staff members. Our attitude remains the only thing we have complete control of and it has an enormous impact on both ourselves and those around us.

In fact, a positive attitude is at the heart of the Happiness Advantage.

This is a phrase coined by Shawn Achor, a researcher and teacher in the world of positive psychology. Dr. Achor’s findings basically say that when you employ a more positive outlook, you are subsequently more intelligent, creative, resilient, and better a lots of things from studies to sales.

In other words, by choosing a positive attitude, you give yourself the best opportunity to be happier and more productive. But, sometimes choosing that attitude is difficult, especially if we are surrounded by those who do not think as we do.

So, how do we become more positive? Dr. Achor suggests doing the following over 21 consecutive days:

  • Pick three new things you are grateful for from that day and share them with a loved one
  • Write in a journal about one really positive experience you’ve enjoyed over the past 24 hours
  • Take a few moments each day to relax and think calmly about your breath
  • This reminds your brain that it can overcome obstacles
  • Practice one act of random or conscious kindness. Send someone a ‘thank you’ email or text for something specific. Help out at a shelter. Do anything as long as it is an expression of kindness

These are all practices that we enjoy at Camp Weequahic. We talk about the best things from your day before going to bed, we write letters home about the great stuff we’ve enjoyed, we take a moment at campfire each Friday night to simply ‘be’, we are on the receiving and giving ends of making people laugh each day. And, while no one would call it ‘exercise’, we certainly burn our calories….

It’s easy to remain positive at camp because everyone around you is focused on the same things and supportive of this idea. It may be a bit harder at school when competition can get in the way. So, take a moment each day and practice. (And, if you need to, just remember camp is a few shorts months away!)